Are You Taking the Right Steps to Care for Your Skin?

Studies have found that matching a good skin care regimen with a healthy lifestyle is the best way to slow the signs of aging.

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How to Get Perfect, Younger, and Healthy Skin: The Definitive Guide – Chapter 1

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Chapter 1: Nutrition

 

 

 

 

Fun Factoid: Your skin is your body’s largest organ, weighing in at about 6 pounds and covering a surface area of 18 square feet, according to the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

 

 

Did you know your eating habits can affect your skin?

 

Skincare isn’t just about our routines or the products we use; it includes what we’re noshing on throughout the day.

 

In fact, what you eat can be as important as the serums and creams you apply on your skin, says Dr. Jessica Wu, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and author of Feed your Face.

 

My hope is that by the end of this guide, your grocery list will contain good-for-your-skin options so you can beautify from the inside out!

 

How Does Diet Affect Your Skin?

 

 

As I mentioned, our food choices can have a direct effect on our skin’s health.

 

“What you eat can affect your hormone balance, cause acne, and create or lessen inflammation, which is associated with skin aging,” said Dr. Wu.

 

 

Before we launch into the list of skin-boosting foods, let’s get to know some of their big hitter vitamins and minerals what benefits they bring to the party!

 

 

Skin-Friendly Foods

In order to make healthy food choices, you’ll have to know which foods will give you that glowing, “I woke up like this” complexion.

 

I’ve compiled an extensive, handy-dandy list of the top skin-boosting (and delicious) foods, their benefits, and the role they play in giving you radiant and healthy skin!

 

Avocados

 

 

Click here to read the study!

 

  • Abundant in vitamins A, D, and E
  • Monounsaturated fats hydrate skin

 

Beef

  • Omega-3 fatty acids 
  • Protein promotes skin’s elasticity

 

Bell Peppers

  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Folate supports new cell production
  • Niacin speeds up cell turnover, revealing younger skin
  • Potassium keeps skin cells hydrated

 

Berries

 

 

  • High amount of antioxidants
  • Folate
  • Potassium

 

Broccoli 

  • Vitamins A, B, C, and E
  • Folic acid

 

Cucumbers 

Cucumber isn’t just for your eyes (although a couple slices are great for depuffing).

 

Double down on your benefits by putting a few cucumber slices in your water glass!

 

  • Vitamin B keeps nerve and blood cells healthy 
  • 95% water keeps skin hydrated

 

Dark Chocolate

 

 

  • Contains high levels of flavonoids, an antioxidant, to improve blood flow for glowing skin

 

Eggs

Eggs, particularly the yolks, can help balance hormones and reduce hormone-related skin blemishes and irritations.

 

  • High levels of vitamin A
  • Protein

 

Green Leafy Vegetables (Spinach and Kale) 

Leafy greens are on every healthy foods list, and with good reason, but they also do so much for your skin!

 

  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Phytochemicals protect skin against free radicals

 

Green Tea

 

 

  • Rich in antioxidants and tannins, which have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin, protects against sun damage

 

Kiwi Fruit 

Just one kiwi includes your entire daily value of vitamin C as well as some other skin-boosting nutrients!

 

  • Flavonoids
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin K helps blood clot properly

 

Legumes

Beans and peas are packed with vitamins and minerals.

 

  • Vitamins C and E
  • Zinc 
  • Black beans contain anthocyanins to prevent free radical damage

 

Lentils

  • Zinc 
  • Manganese 
  • Folic acid 
  • Selenium helps maintain skin’s elasticity and firmness

 

Nuts

Nuts are not only a healthy snack, they’re great for skin!

 

To stay on the healthy side, steer clear of heavily salted varieties. Happy snacking!

 

  • Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids
  • Almonds contain vitamin E
  • Pistachios contain vitamin A

 

Orange and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables (Carrots and Apricots, etc.)

Sunny-colored produce can help defend skin.

 

  • Vitamins C and A
  • Beta-carotene
  • Zeaxanthin protects against free radical damage
  • Lycopene helps skin repair from free radical damage

 

Oranges

 

 

  • Vitamins A, B, and C
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium can help reduce skin’s oiliness

 

Oysters

  • Zinc 
  • Selenium helps skin’s elasticity and firmness

 

Papayas

Papayas are a popular ingredient in face masks and scrubs because they’re a natural way to give your skin radiance.

 

  • Vitamins C and E
  • Beta-carotene

 

Pecans

Try sprinkling some in a salad or on top of yogurt with some fresh berries!

 

  • Vitamins A and E
  • Antioxidants
  • Magnesium

 

Pomegranates

While retrieving the delicious arils from a pomegranate can be a time investment, it’s also an investment in your skin’s health!

 

  • Vitamin C 
  • Antioxidants
  • Folic acid

 

Pumpkin

 

 

 

Tomatoes

These beautiful red fruits include lots of nutrients to help diminish signs of aging from UV exposure.

 

  • Vitamins C and K
  • Lycopene 

 

Red Wine 

 

 

If drinking a glass isn’t your thing, there’s even a trend of vinotherapy, or bathing in red wine!

 

Salmon, Mackerel, and Other Fatty Fish

Our fishy friends do so much for skin health!

 

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Selenium
  • Astaxanthin fights free radicals 
  • Biotin supports skin health and new cell production

 

Sweet Potatoes

Don’t reserve these spuds just for holiday meals.

 

They’re a healthier alternative to standard white potatoes!

 

  • High levels of vitamins A, C, and E

 

Quinoa 

 

 

  • Manganese
  • Contains lysine, a compound that you can only get through diet and is important for skin repair

 

Yogurt

Studies suggest that when there’s an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, it can show up on your skin in the form of acne, inflammation, rosacea, and dry skin.

 

Ingesting yogurt that contains probiotics, such as acidophilus, can restore skin’s balance and maintain good bacteria.

 

Bottom Line: Next time you’re loading up your grocery cart, or headed to the fridge for a midday snacky, grab some yummy foods that will nourish your body and your skin!

 

Remember, healthy skin is happy skin!

 

Skin-Damaging Foods

While there are foods we can eat that will help support our skin, there are also some choices that are not so great.

 

 

Now, I’m not suggesting you swear off your favorite snacks and sweets forever!

 

By all means, enjoy the occasional treat.

 

Just make sure you’re eating a balanced diet comprised mostly of the nutrient-rich good stuff to support your natural beauty!

 

This is especially important for aging skin, which has a tougher time maintaining firmness and elasticity.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the food items that should be dietary visitors rather than permanent residents!

 

Soda

Soda, or pop (depending on where you reside), is full of sugar.

 

Stick to good ol’ water as your drink of choice – especially if it’s infused with vitamin-rich fruit – or refreshing unsweetened iced tea.

 

  • Artificial ingredients and lots of sugar break down collagen and skin firmness

 

Alcohol

You don’t have to shun happy hour – just enjoy in moderation.

 

Also, make sure you’re drinking enough water by following the “every other” rule: each time you have an alcoholic drink, follow it up with one glass of water.

 

  • Can have a diuretic effect, which means it depletes moisture, making skin look sunken, saggy, and dull

 

Candy

Enjoy the occasional treat rather than eating sweet stuff on the reg.

 

  • Lots of sugar creates inflammation, redness, blemishes, and loss of collagen and elastin

 

Fried Foods

You’ve probably heard that oily food causes bad skin.

 

While some of that is due, in part, to touching your skin with french fry fingers, it can also affect skin on a deeper level.

 

  • Foods high in fat inhibit blood flow and circulation
  • Leads to bloating (hello, next-day puffiness)

 

White Bread

Studies show that eating foods like this lunchbox staple and other highly processed carbs causes blood sugar and insulin to spike due to their high glycemic index.

 

This spells bad news for skin in the form of aging and acne.

 

Go for whole grain slices of bread for your toast and sammies.

 

Salty Snacks

The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your intake to 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

 

Go for veggies or unsalted snacks!

 

  • High salt intake results in puffiness and water retention

 

Mayonnaise

Go easy on the mayo, or try healthier alternatives like mashed avocado on sandwiches.

 

  • High fat and oil content can lead to breakouts and blemishes

 

Packaged and Processed Foods

All those packaged snacks and frozen foods can be full of all kinds of skin-damaging stuff.

 

  • High salt
  • High sugar
  • Preservatives
  • Artificial additives

 

When possible, eat fresh fruits or vegetables, or look for frozen versions with no added salt or sugar.

 

Bottom Line: By all means, enjoy some indulgent treats every once in awhile. Just make sure you’re getting a balanced diet of some nourishing, good-for-you foods, too!

 

Diet for Acne

Do you struggle in the battle of the blemish?

 

My friend, you’re not alone!

 

 

Blemishes form when oil (AKA sebum) gets trapped in our pores by dirt or dead skin cells, and bacteria start to grow.

 

There are a few factors that contribute to breakouts and blemishes:

 

  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Using the wrong skincare products for your skin type
  • Skin contact (touching your face with dirty hands or holding your cell phone against your face)

 

But many skin care specialists are also looking at how diet might play a part in the lives of people struggling with acne.

 

Studies have shown that diets with lots of high glycemic index foods – processed carbs like white bread, sugary foods and drinks, and dairy products – can cause inflammation in the body which exacerbates acne.  

 

Let’s take a look at some of the foods you can stock in your pantry and fridge that will help stop contributing to breakouts and start supporting clear skin!

 

Foods That Help With Acne

Avocado

You can even apply avocado directly to your face for a skin-nourishing treatment.

 

It’s good for DIY masks and for snacks!

 

Artichoke

This spiky vegetable (which is actually a flower!) is full of skin-boosting nutrients.

 

  • Vitamins C and K
  • Folate
  • Magnesium

 

Broccoli

 

 

Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which reportedly supports skin healing and repair.

 

Brown Rice

Brown rice has a delightful nutty flavor and chewier texture than white rice, so it’s yummy and tends to be less mushy.

 

  • Vitamin B
  • Magnesium 
  • Antioxidants

 

Carrots

Carrots are chock full of beta-carotene (it’s what gives them their orange color) which our bodies convert to vitamin A.

 

Fennel

 

 

  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants

 

Garlic

While it packs a pungent smell, garlic includes a natural chemical compound called allicin which is believed to be effective in helping your body destroy bacteria and viruses and combat inflammation.

 

Red Grapes

Snack on a small bunch of grapes, or look for skincare formulas that contain grape seed extract to enjoy their benefits.

 

  • High antioxidant levels
  • Zinc

   

Strawberries

 

 

  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese
  • Potassium

 

Bottom Line: Your best bet for healthy skin is practicing a good skincare routine, and making sure you’re taking care of your skin from the outside and the inside!

 

Hydration

Are you thirsty?

 

Then your skin is, too!

 

 

Make Sure You’re Getting Your Daily Dose

While the standard daily water recommendation was always 8-10 eight-ounce glasses per day, our requirements can differ depending on our bodies, activities, diet, what climate we live in, etc.

 

You can use a hydration calculator to figure out how much water you should be drinking every day.

 

There are even handy apps you can download on your phone that will help you track your hydration and send you reminders throughout the day to help you reach your guzzling goals.

 

Eat Your Liquids

 

 

Also, make sure your diet includes lots of yummy fresh fruits and vegetables, which will also provide your body with some liquids.

 

Think of produce with a high water content:

 

  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Bell peppers
  • Grapes

 

Give Your Water a Boost

 

 

Don’t Love Water?

Other good options for getting your liquids are soups, freshly pressed juices, and unsweetened iced or hot tea.

 

Just make sure you aren’t chugging sugary drinks throughout the day!

 

Bottom Line: Any way you drink it, make sure you’re getting plenty. You can’t go wrong with water!

 

Supplements

 

 

There are tons of supplements out there that promise to give you healthy skin, hair, and nails, clear up acne, turn back the aging clock, and a bunch of other skin-correcting miracles.

 

There are even supplements that claim they can offer you protection from sun damage and UV rays.

 

I always say the best thing you can do to protect your skin from sun damage and aging is to wear your daily SPF and know when to seek shade and limit sun exposure.

 

Many dermatologists and skincare specialists (myself included) recommend that you get your vitamins and skin-boosting nutrients from a good, balanced diet of healthy foods rather than depending on supplements.

 

While supplements might seem like a quick fix, they’re not FDA-regulated, which means you can never be completely sure what you’re taking – or if it will even help your skin.

 

Bottom Line: Stick with getting your skin benefits through healthy diet and good hydration!

 

Final Thoughts 

It’s amazing how food can affect the skin.

 

It’s like nature is giving us our own little skincare boost!

 

And, it all begins with making the right choices.

 

When paired with a proper regimen, you’ll really start to see a difference in your skin.

 

If anything, you now have a list for the grocery store!

 

Beauties, what are your favorite foods on this list? Do you have any other recommendations? Let us know in the comments! 

 

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