When we were younger, our parents, grandparents, and even some aunts and uncles told us to eat this and to eat that for us to grow healthy and strong. Certain types of food and their supposed benefits like carrots for your eyesight, milk for your bones, and nuts for brainpower have been ingrained to us at such young ages.
But how about our skin? Can we eat our way to beautiful, radiant, and healthy skin?
Turns out, you can. We get nutrition from our diet when the food we eat gets broken down into vitamins and minerals through digestion. An interview with Dr. Jessica Wu by Forbes claims that “If you crash diet or eat highly-processed foods, your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be. For example, if you don’t eat enough protein, you are depriving your skin of the amino acids that go into making collagen (which makes your skin strong) and elastic tissue (which makes it supple).”
The Link Between Your Skin And Your Diet
Whether you religiously follow a strict skincare routine, eat proper foods, or see a dermatologist regularly, it is important to note that your skin will always be reliant on a plethora of other factors. Contrary to popular belief, taking care of your skin on the outside isn’t enough. You also have to take note of what you put inside for a more holistic approach.
The food you eat matters as much, if not more, to your skin as it is to your health. Overall, healthy diets that contain rich antioxidants and healthy fats in fish can help your health as well as your skin.
You might be asking, “if it’s that simple, then why can’t everyone have great skin?”
Well, the truth is, it’s not.
Much like fitness programs, eating for your skin is also a tricky matter. As champions of greener and more sustainable lifestyles, let TheGetWell walk you through the different types of food to avoid in order to achieve that glowing skin you’ve always wanted.
Dermatologist to the stars, Dr. Harold Lancer, says sugars do more to your skin than most of the food you eat combined. In his book, Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method for Radiant Skin, Dr. Lancer says sugar weakens the immune systems and, as a result, is more susceptible to attract bacteria that may create problems for your skin. Sugar also breaks down collagen, the most abundant protein found in your body.
According to LiveScience, collagen refers to a family of proteins that are the primary structural component of connective tissues. It’s considered one of the building blocks of our skin. However, collagen isn’t just found in our body’s largest organ. Collagen can also be found in our muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some collagens even act as coverings that protect the most delicate organs inside our body.
Sugars make the collagen in your body stiff and dry when it’s supposed to be elastic and supple. It also causes inflammation in the body which aggravates the skin. Having a low-glycemic diet would help you regenerate healthier collagen and repair your skin to make it healthier and younger-looking.
Quite possibly the biggest threat for college kids and party-goers, alcohol also plays a big role in the look and feel of your skin.
Alcohol is known to dehydrate your entire body (which, of course, includes your skin). A skin that’s dehydrated looks dull, uneven, and prone to developing wrinkles. In addition to water, alcohol also affects the production of your skin’s natural oils. Without the right amount of water in your body, your body will also have a difficult time producing natural oils. Natural oils, secreted from your skin’s sebaceous glands, help lubricate and protect you from bacteria that may clog your skin.
So next time you’re thinking about chugging that whole bottle… maybe think twice.
Dairy products, with higher-fat content, are known as inflammatory food. Much like sugar, milk also contributes to the stiffening of collagen. In addition, milk products have also been known to contain growth hormones and antibiotics which may cause a tilt in your body’s natural hormonal balance. Hormonal imbalances cause various skin conditions such as acne, itchiness, and sensitive skin.
Nuts are known to be a good source of fat, fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Nuts are also loaded with antioxidants (known as polyphenols) that fight off free radicals (a medical term used to describe unstable atoms that can damage cells, cause illness, and speed-up aging).
But did you know that eating too many nuts can be bad for your skin? As the saying goes, everything should be in moderation. According to Insider, nuts produce omega-6 acids which are supposedly good for your skin. However, too much omega-6 may lead to high inflammatory levels which causes acne and redness.
Just where did gluten come from? Gluten was probably considered as some of the buzzwords that defined the 2010s. Gluten, as defined by LiveScience, refers to the naturally occurring proteins in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is generally avoided by people with celiac disease as eating gluten may cause damage to their small intestine. In addition, about 10% of people affected by celiac disease also develop a blistering skin condition largely caused by the ingestion of gluten-rich products.
However, did you know that people that don’t have celiac disease can also be affected by reactions caused by gluten? Hypersensitivity to gluten can worsen pre-existing skin conditions such as psoriasis, alopecia, and urticaria.
This is by no means a comprehensive list that you should religiously follow to ensure healthy skin. It all goes back to what feels right for you and for your skin. Nutrition and diet vary from person to person. Remember, having a poor diet is as bad for your skin as it is for your overall health.
Make sure that you go back to the drawing board to see what works and what doesn’t. Having a great diet along with a great skincare routine should ensure glowing and healthy skin.
Pro tip: If you’re still scratching your head, go see your dermatologist! It’s important to be sure about the proper way to take care of your skin (and yourself, overall) before diagnosing yourself and worsening your condition.