Maintaining clear, glowing skin can be an almost full-time job. Although there’s a bevy of suggestions and opinions on the topic, one thing therapists, doctors and even influencers tend to agree on is that diet can affect skin health.
So, what diet is best for those seeking to improve the look and feel of their skin, while keeping their regimen as clean as possible?
Antioxidants fight free radicals, which can slow the production of new skin cells and lead to dull, lifeless skin that ages faster. The problem is that free radicals can be found nearly everywhere and are even generated by the body; they’re almost impossible to avoid. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods can fight the adverse effects of free radicals on the body. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and are a natural part of a clean skin diet, not to mention a cornerstone of good nutrition. Foods like carrots, kale, papaya and sweet potato contain beta-carotene or lutein, which are essential for skin cell development. Many spices, such as cinnamon and basil, are chock-full of antioxidants as well, and they have the added benefit of making food taste better.
Fruits and vegetables that are darker in colour tend to include more antioxidants, so it makes sense to pay attention to the colour of your antioxidant-packed foods as well.
Those looking for supple, moisture-rich skin (and who isn’t?) will want to include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in their diet. These healthy fats are found in avocados, nuts, seeds and some fish; they provide great fatty acids that support the skin. These foods also come bearing vitamin E, which helps the antioxidants you’re snacking on fight those damaging free radicals.
Replacing some saturated fats, like those found in fried foods, with healthier ones will result in a noticeable change in the texture, look and feel of the skin.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential to healthy fat intake. These fatty acids must be consumed, as the body does not make them. Oily fish like salmon and herring are great sources of these much-needed fatty acids.
Hormonal shifts are one of the biggest culprits behind skin breakouts and inflammation. Some foods can help keep natural hormones in balance, typically high protein options such as eggs, lentils and chicken.
Phytoestrogens are plant-based foods that can support the female sex hormone oestrogen. So, women who want to support healthy skin from within may want to add some phytoestrogens, such as tofu, to their diets.
Water is an essential building block for good health and clean skin, inside and out. Experts agree that proper water intake helps increase elasticity, battling premature signs of ageing.
Staying well hydrated internally also reduces skin puffiness, staves off acne and promotes gut health, leading to better skin on the outside. In that vein, dehydration can damage the skin.
The expert suggestion for water intake is approximately eight glasses of water day.
Foods to Avoid
Just as there are foods that support a clean skincare regimen, there are foods that do the opposite. Here are some to consider limiting or avoiding to best support clean, healthy skin.
Milk and dairy can be problematic for certain people, even if they are not typically lactose intolerant. Dairy products can contain a hormone, IGF-1, that interacts with adrenal glands in the body. This interaction causes acne flare-ups in some cases.
Foods high in sugar can ramp up the body’s insulin production. This increase, in turn, causes the body to produce more sebum, which exacerbates acne. For these reasons, a diet high in foods that contain a lot of dairy, sugar or carbohydrates can wreak havoc on the skin. A clean skin/nutrition plan should limit the intake of these foods and drinks.
When looking to support skin health from the inside, it makes sense to support clean skincare products with a clean diet, including the foods that fight off damaging free radicals, support hydration and maintain hormonal balance.
Source: Liia Ramchandra
The Vintage Salon Team x