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How Diet Affects Your Skin: Nutrients to Consume for a Glowing Complexion

As teenagers, we were repeatedly told to avoid eating chocolate and French fries since they were thought to trigger and aggravate breakouts. While there is no direct correlation between these foods and acne, dermatologists and estheticians do advise us to “feed our skin” -- and for good reason. A healthy, balanced diet that saturates our body with nutrients helps promote detoxification, stimulate healthy cell turnover, regulate acid levels to maintain proper pH levels and so much more.

Many of us are familiar with the functions and importance of vitamins A, B, C and E, but how do they help our complexions? What other foods are recommended for healthy skin?  And how does fried, processed food really impact the skin?

Vitamins and minerals are important in topical skincare, but how do they affect skin directly when they’re ingested?

Specialists advise us to commit to a healthy, balanced diet since the lack of vitamins and minerals physically show on the skin’s surface. Here is a breakdown of how the major vitamins affect our skin:

  • Vitamin A – needed for wound healing. A lack of vitamin A causes skin to look dry and rough, with a “goose flesh” texture.
  • B Vitamins – called the “anti-stress” vitamins, B vitamins help convert glucose to energy and increase circulation. The lack of B vitamins can lead to acne formation and brittle nails. Specifically:
  1. B6 – a deficiency can lead to eczema
  2. B7 – a deficiency can lead to cradle cap in babies
  • Vitamin C – needed for collagen formation, wound healing, hydration and protecting skin from sun damage
  • Vitamin D – needed for cell growth, wound healing and proper barrier function, and helps skin fight sun damage and possible skin cancer
  • Vitamin E – delivered to the skin surface via sebum (oil) and is the most abundant lipophilic antioxidant found in the human skin. Helps protect skin from free radical damage.
  • Vitamin K – helps with speeding up the skin-healing process, especially bruising from surgery. A deficiency leads to excessive bleeding.

What other types of nutrients should you add to a diet for healthy skin?

Definitely consider superfoods, which are nutrient-dense foods that help ward off free radical damage and help keep the cell structure healthy. Try:

  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) – a mineral-rich food supplement that helps hydrate the skin and is found in the body and in many foods
  • Algae – an abundant source of vitamins A, C and E
  • Maca – to balance hormones and prevent hormonal acne flare-ups
  • Royal Jelly – rich in proteins, can be applied topically
  • Raw Cacao – rich in minerals, including magnesium and vitamin C.

Also consider Essential Fatty Acids, such as omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9, which help prevent dryness, UV damage, photo aging and the breakdown of collagen by matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs), which are enzymes that break down the skin’s natural support structure.

Probiotics should also be considered since they are “friendly bacteria” that protect against disease-causing bacteria. Probiotics also help your body absorb other nutrients.

So how do processed, fried foods really affect the skin?

Foods with a high glycemic index, such as white breads, pastas, cakes, cause an increase of insulin and glucose levels, which can then lead to an increase of acne. Excess amounts of sugar can lead to glycation, a process that occurs when excess sugars bind to collagen and cause it to stiffen and break down. Fried foods, while they don’t directly cause oil build-up and acne, can trap bacteria in the body and skin. A high salt intake causes puffiness and may aggravate blemishes.

Do you have more questions about what to eat and put on your skin to keep it happy, clear and smooth? Call us anytime for a consultation!

Sources:

Johansson, Inglea  M: “How to get glowing skin: The top 5 superfoods that make you sparkle”: www.ezinearticles.com

“The 8 worst foods and how they’re aging you”: www.styleist.com/view/the-worst-foods-for-your-skin.html

 

 

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