How Diet Affects Your Skin: Nutrients to Consume for a Glowing Complexion
As teenagers, we were told to avoid foods like chocolate and french fries because they could trigger breakouts. While we now know there is no direct correlation between these foods and acne, it’s still important to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet to nourish skin from the inside out. Research shows that a nutrient-rich diet helps promote detoxification, stimulates healthy cell turnover, and so much more. Read on to find out which nutrients promote healthy skin, and which foods are a no-no.
NUTRIENTS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
Many of us are familiar with the benefits vitamins A, B, C and E in our multivitamin, but how do they help our complexions? Here is a breakdown of how the major nutrients affect our skin:
VITAMIN A: Vitamin A promotes cell turnover and stimulates healing. A lack of vitamin A causes dryness and flakiness, and sometimes causes skin to have a “goose flesh” texture. Find it in orange veggies and most green, leafy vegetables.
VITAMIN B: Called the “anti-stress” vitamins, B vitamins help convert glucose to energy and increase circulation. A lack of B vitamins can lead to breakouts and brittle nails. Specifically, a lack of vitamin B6 can lead to eczema while a B7 deficiency can cause flaky, patchy skin. Find them in a range of foods, including meat and dairy. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, consider taking a B-complex supplement to make sure you’re getting everything you need.
VITAMIN C: This antioxidant is needed for collagen production, wound healing, hydration and protecting skin from sun damage. Not to mention, it’s an immune powerhouse that keeps your whole body well. Find it in citrus fruits.
VITAMIN D: Needed for cell growth and proper barrier function, vitamin D also helps skin fight sun damage. Look for a supplement that contains vitamin D3, the most bioactive form.
VITAMIN E: Delivered to the skin surface via sebum, vitamin E is an abundant antioxidant that helps support barrier function and protects skin from free radical damage. Get your fill with a serving of nuts and seeds.
VITAMIN K: This often overlooked vitamin helps with speeding the skin’s healing process, especially bruising after surgery. Find it in leafy green veggies like kale and spinach.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: Essential fatty acids are the building blocks for firm, healthy skin. Certain essential fatty acids like omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 can also prevent dryness, battle photo aging, and prevent the breakdown of collagen. You can find these in foods like salmon, avocados and nuts and seeds.
PROBIOTICS: These “friendly bacteria” protect against bad pathogens and can also help your body absorb other nutrients. You can get your daily dose of probiotics from supplements, or in yogurt, kombucha and fermented foods like sauerkraut.
SUPERFOODS FOR A HEALTHY GLOW
In addition to eating a balanced diet, consider adding superfoods to the mix. Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that help ward off free radical damage and help keep the skin’s cell structure healthy. Here are some essential superfoods to add to your morning smoothie:
METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE (MSM): This mineral-rich food supplement is found in the body and in many foods and helps hydrate the skin.
ALGAE: A rich source of vitamins A, C and E.
MACA: Balances hormones and prevents hormonal acne flare-ups.
RAW CACAO: Rich in minerals, including magnesium and vitamin C.
While there are no forbidden foods, there are certain foods that aren’t so kind to your skin. Here are some major skin culprits and the products you can use to help skin side effects if you do indulge.
HIGH GLYCEMIC FOODS: Eating foods with a high glycemic index like white breads, pastas, and cakes causes an insulin and glucose spike that can lead to breakouts. A serum high in epidermal growth factors like our EGF Activating Serum can help combat blemishes by boosting cellular turnover and speeding up the skin’s natural healing response.
SUGAR: Eating foods loaded with sugar can lead to glycation, a process that occurs when excess sugars bind to collagen and cause it to break down, resulting in fine lines and loss of firmness. Plump skin by applying a peptide-rich serum like our PSC Peptide Serum-- our serum relies on a blend of powerful peptides and vegan stem cells to stimulate collagen and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
DAIRY: Some people can tolerate dairy just fine, but for many people, dairy triggers inflammation throughout the body that can lead to breakouts. Prevent acne by using a weekly peel all over like our TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel. Our peel contains a blend of five acids to kill acne-causing bacteria, control oil production, and lift hyperpigmentation left over from breakouts.
SALT: A high salt intake can cause water retention, which can cause inflammation and puffiness, especially in the sensitive area under the eyes. Combat under-eye puffiness with a serum like our Firming Eye Complex, which uses chrysin, a natural botanical, to soothe inflammation and visibly brighten the skin under the eyes.