When it comes to skin care there’s certainly no shortage of products, routines, and rituals to help each of us attempt to achieve beautiful, healthy, flawless skin.
But, how many times have you splurged on expensive lotions, creams, and serums only to find you’re still left with skin that is too dry, dull, oily, or sensitive?
Or, perhaps you’ve had success with a product or two, but you can’t help but wonder if there’s a simpler way to go about it all?
I mean, when it comes to the health of our bodies, the “garbage in, garbage out” rule generally applies, right?
You fill your body with junk, you generally feel less than great. But, when you fuel your body with nutritious foods, you feel good.
So, what are we hinting at here? Could the “garbage in, garbage out” rule also apply to the health of your skin?
We tend to reach for topical solutions when it comes to skincare, but the truth of the matter is, what you put into your body can have a profound impact on the health of your skin!
Here we’ll take a look at how diet can affect skin and which foods are best for your unique skin type…
What Determines Skin Type
Before we take the microscope approach, looking specifically at how the foods you eat affect your skin, let’s take a step back and examine the big picture.
Generally, skin types are divided into 5 primary categories: normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive.
And, while genetics are thought to play a big role in the type of skin you have, other factors are considered equally predictive:
- Sebaceous secretions: Your sebaceous glands produce and secrete a group of oils that work to both lubricate and protect your skin. The amount of oils produced by these glands can determine your skin’s level of softness.
- Hydration: The water content of your skin essentially determines how your skin is able to stretch. The more hydrated your skin is, the more elasticity it has, keeping the appearance supple and/or flexible.
- Sensitivity: Sensitive skin most commonly occurs when there is a deficiency in both moisture and fat/oils produced by the body to keep your skin healthy. These deficiencies then cause the skin to react harshly to many types of products (skincare, laundry, clothing), resulting in a lack of tolerance and thus irritations.
- Other factors: Aside from the above mentioned items, there are also many things in your environment that can influence your skin. Your skin can change in response to the environment, climate, stress, sleep, and medications.
How do you know what type of skin you have? Skin care experts suggest the following:
- Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face, removing any dirt, make up, or oils, essentially allowing you to examine your skin as a clean slate.
- After gently cleansing your skin, do not use any products (again, think clean slate here).
- Now…wait. Some experts suggest waiting only an hour, and others recommend examining your skin several hours after washing. Either way, during this waiting period, be sure not to rub your face with any cloth, and do not touch your face during this time.
- After you’ve waited an hour or two, it’s now time to examine your face.
- Does your face look shiny? If you use a tissue to dab areas like your forehead, nose or chin do you notice oils have transferred onto the tissue? If you can answer yes to these questions, you have oily skin. People with oily skin often have larger pores and characteristically will have a shiny appearance.
- Do you notice any flaking, dullness, red patches, or dead skin? If you notice any of these, you have dry skin. People with dry skin often have small pores and may experience itchiness, peeling skin, or even irritated skin.
- If you blot your face with a tissue and notice neither dryness nor the presence of oil on the tissue, you have normal skin. People with normal skin have a balance of both moisture and oils and should notice a smoothness when touching their face.
- If you notice a bit of all three of the descriptions we’ve discussed so far, you are not alone. The most common skin type is combination skin. Oils and moisture are generally unevenly distributed in people with combination skin. Here, you may notice some areas of your skin are dry, while other sections are prone to have a more shiny appearance due to the presence of oils.
- If you notice that your skin has some patches of redness, irritation, or you experience any burning or excessive dryness (causing discomfort), you have sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin are more likely to experience reactions that people with normal skin are not affected by. Determining the cause of such sensitivities (often done with the aid of a physician or dermatologist) can be beneficial.
Your Diet And Your Skin
Now that you’ve hopefully identified your unique skin type, let’s examine our claim from the beginning of this article – what you eat can impact your type of skin and essentially determine how healthy your skin is!
First, what you eat, or don’t eat, affects the moisture level of your skin.
As your skin is the largest organ in (on) your body, it is greatly affected by moisture. Staying hydrated replenishes the moisture that your body loses through your skin via sweating and other natural body processes.
And, your skin needs collagen to stay smooth, firm, and supple, avoiding wrinkles, sagging, and premature aging. This needed collagen is found in foods containing healthy oils, fats, and proteins.
Melanoma is a serious threat to the health of your skin. And, a diet rich in heart healthy foods has been found to protect your skin against this threat.
Consuming foods high in unhealthy fats and processed sugars has been linked to an increase in blemishes and acne. Avoiding these items can thus improve the health of your skin.
And, no matter your age, if your diet is lacking in healthy, nutritious, whole foods, your skin will age more rapidly, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
So then, what foods are best for the health of your skin?
Ah, so you’ve been blessed with normal skin, no excessive oil, no real threat of dryness or irritating sensitivities. But, what can you include in your diet to keep your normal skin healthy and looking its best?
Normal skin types can benefit from a range of healthy foods.
Be sure to include vitamin packed greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbage.
Choose hydrating fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, mangoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, and celery.
Wild-caught salmon, trout, sardines, and eggs are healthy sources of protein if you have normal skin.
And, seek to include probiotic-rich fermented foods, healthy fat from olive oil, and good grains like quinoa and brown rice millet as well.
If your skin type is dry, hydration is essential. Be sure you are drinking at least 2 liters of water daily, and fill your diet with hydrating fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Skin that needs moisture is also in need of healthy fatty acids and oils. Adding avocados, olive oil, sesame oil and fatty fish such as salmon, trout, halibut, and sardines to your diet will all benefit the health of your skin.
Be sure to also include nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds as other sources of healthy fat.
Alcohol, caffeine, and processed sugars can all have a dehydrating effect on your skin, so be sure to avoid these or only consume them in moderation if you have dry skin.
If you have oily skin, don’t make the mistake of ditching oil in your diet to cut down on the appearance of oil or shine in your skin.
Some oils can actually help to reduce the appearance of oil on your skin!
Foods you should be avoiding include any hydrogenated oils, processed carbohydrates, or foods containing excessive amounts of salt.
Load up instead on foods containing anti-inflammatory oils such as flaxseeds, avocados, olive oil, and fish.
Also be sure to incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapefruit, watermelon, spinach, asparagus, cucumber, and broccoli.
Skip dairy, and look for options such as almond and coconut milk.
Choose healthy carb options such as quinoa and sweet potatoes. And, be sure to include antioxidant-rich spices such as turmeric and ginger.
If you have combination skin, your goal is balance. Balance in your diet will help you to achieve balance in your skin.
As processed carbohydrates can cause inflammation within the body, try to consume these only in moderation, or avoid them completely.
Look for low-glycemic or high-protein carbs options such as quinoa, brown rice, and millet instead.
Provide your skin with hydration by drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily, and seek to include hydrating fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, swiss chard, arugula, cabbage, watermelon, apples, and oranges.
Chicken, wild caught salmon, trout, and sardines, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are all healthy protein choices if you have combination skin.
If you have sensitive skin, your body will greatly benefit from foods rich in both antioxidants and needed fatty acids to help with cell repair and renewal which can work to reduce sensitivity.
Green tea, apples, berries, avocados, oranges, kale, other dark leafy greens, asparagus, (omega-3 rich) wild caught salmon, sardines, and herring, olive oil, and flaxseeds are all great options to include in your diet.
And, be sure to avoid foods that can increase irritation and sensitivities such as spicy foods and anything containing additives like MSG, dyes, and other artificial colorings or flavorings.
Number 1 Cause Of Wrinkled Skin
There is one root cause of old, wrinkled skin…
And it isn’t old age.
It’s something called “cellular wrinkling”…
That’s what happens when your cells lose elasticity and literally bend and fold.
You can’t fix this problem at the surface. That’s why creams and moisturizers don’t work.
You have to attack the problem at its source.