If the old adage “you are what you eat” holds true, then the path to beautiful skin may be through your stomach. For truly fabulous, glowing skin, consider your dietary choices. The more balanced and healthy your diet, the better your skin health will be. While we may pay some attention to our skin, by cleansing, moisturizing or applying sunscreen, a healthy diet and lifestyle are also essential to skin health. When we deprive our skin of critical nutrients, we may develop skin that looks sallow, dry and older than our actual age, revealing a lot about our overall health.
Our skin is in a constant state of renewal, as old cells are shed and new cells take their place. As our largest and most complex metabolically active organ, our skin regulates body temperature, manufactures vitamin D, provides protection from the elements and defends against harmful, invading bacteria. Our skin plays a huge role in protecting our body, so keeping our skin as healthy as possible is a wise choice. While often overlooked, to put our best face forward we must give our skin some attention every day.
Nutrients – The less attention we pay to our diets, the more problems we may see with skin health. Fresh foods, especially fruits, vegetables and dairy products, provide a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants to help keep skin vibrant.
- Dairy products, such as plain yogurt, provide the vitamin A necessary for good skin health. Probiotics found in yogurt and other foods have a beneficial impact on the skin. Probiotics help keep chronic inflammation at bay and support the beneficial gut bacteria, which in turn strengthens immune function and supports overall health.
- Antioxidants, such as those found in berries, provide free radical defense and guard against premature aging.
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as found in cold water fish and flax seeds, support healthy cell membranes, reduce inflammation and aid moisture retention for plumper skin cells.
- Purple fruits and vegetables are rich in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that help improve circulation. Improved circulation means that more oxygen and nutrients reach the skin, enabling the formation of new cells, collagen and elastin.
- Spicing up your meals with herbs such as ginger and cinnamon, which have anti-inflammatory properties, can help reduce facial puffiness.
- Eliminate sugars that can cause inflammation and lead to glycation, which contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin and prematurely ages the skin.
Cleanse – Different skin types may require unique cleansers but be sure to choose cleansers without fragrances and dyes, which can irritate sensitive skin. Mild cleansers that won’t strip all the natural oils from your skin are a good choice. Use warm, not hot water, which can strip the natural oils and lead to itching and dryness. Be sure to wash your hands before you wash your face. Most of the bacteria that can cause breakouts come from our own hands.
Moisturize – Look for skincare products that contain botanicals such as beta carotene, which can improve skin quality. Moisturizers that contain B vitamins, especially biotin, aid in hydration and help perfect overall skin tone. Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) helps to strengthen the moisture barrier and reduce redness. When applied topically, vitamin K helps to reduce dark, under eye circles. Apply moisturizers while the skin is still damp to help retain surface moisture.
Hydrate – Water is essential to skin health. Hydrate your skin from the inside out with enough water to quench your thirst daily. In addition to hydrating, water aids the cells in nutrient absorption and helps move toxins out. Plus, when our bodies are hydrated, we sweat more efficiently, which helps to keep skin clean and clear.
Avoid stress – Skin under duress can quickly become irritated and red. While chronic stress can wreak havoc in the body, it shows on the outside too. Take steps to find some quiet time each day to minimize stress.
Exercise – Regular exercise not only helps to cleanse pores and flush out toxins, it can stimulate collagen production and reduce signs of aging. Exercise is stress reducing and pumps increased oxygen and nutrient supplies throughout the blood stream, aiding in skin nourishment.
Sunscreen – Sun damage can happen year round, so choose an SPF-30 for daily use. Sunscreen not only protects against sun damage and skin cancer, it can help prevent fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
Smoking – Smoking causes premature aging of the skin and reduces the skin’s natural elasticity. Smoking is believed to cause collagen breakdown and reduce collagen production, leading to early wrinkling and for some a leathery complexion.
- While a well balanced diet is extremely important, to get the nutrients we need each day include a multivitamin along with your skin care regimen. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E help fight free radical damage, aiding in wrinkle protection and helping to prevent premature aging. Vitamin C is essential to collagen production and aids in skin cell repair. Vitamin E helps to protect skin cells from UV light damage.
- Protect those cheek bones with calcium. Calcium supports bones and bone structure in the face as well as the body.
- Zinc helps to keep skin clear and binds with vitamin A, which makes both nutrients more effective in keeping skin healthy.
- Essential fatty acids or omega-3’s are instrumental in the production of the skin’s natural oil barrier. If your skin is dry and prone to inflammation, essential fatty acids can aid in keeping your skin smoother and younger looking.
For support of healthy skin, consider the following products:MSM Capsules by Pure Encapsulations – This patented product promotes healthy joint function and connective tissue health, especially tissues containing significant amounts of collagen and keratin such as skin, hair and nails. Also available in powder form. Complete Care For Youthful Skin Kit by Suki – This complete skin care kit provides a protective, proactive program that contains powerful antioxidants, collagen building peptides and vitamins to address fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and visible signs of aging. Deeper Greens Powder by Ortho Molecular – The fruits and vegetables contained in this product provide a good source of dietary fiber and natural concentrates of high ORAC value foods. Deeper Greens is formulated to fulfill the recommended dietary intake of 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Organically grown fruits and vegetables used where available. Pure Emu Oil with Vitamin E by Age Advantage Laboratories – This very pure quality Emu oil has been effectively used for years for healing and moisturizing the skin. The non-comedogenic oils provide a very high natural balance of essential fatty acids along with vitamin E for anti-oxidant protection and palmitric acid to stimulate new skin cell growth.