Your board-certified dermatologists at Skin Associates of South Florida are more than happy to help you learn how to have healthier, more luminous skin.
Toward that end, we would remind you that external skin care is good, even vital. But, as when building a house, you need a solid foundation. This is why eating better food can make all the difference in the appearance of your skin, especially as you grow older.
The more toxins your body is exposed to throughout your life—such as stress, sunlight, pollution and low-quality food—the more free radicals that are produced. Free radicals (dangerously unpaired oxygen molecules) cause oxidative damage to the body’s healthy cells.
Among the many negative effects of free radicals on your skin include acne, premature aging, and even cancer. Free radicals are especially detrimental to collagen, a type of protein that interacts with keratin to give skin the strength, elasticity and youthful appearance. Thus, for some the “Holy Grail” of health are antioxidants, which “donate” an electron to the free radical molecule, thus halting its damaging capabilities.
One of the most readily available sources of antioxidants is our diet. Our modern diets have strayed so far from those of our ancestors’ that even our great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize much of the food we eat. Particularly problematic for the health of our bodies are the various prepared foods we consume, with all their additives and preservatives.
Your board-certified dermatologists at Skin Associates recommend eating whole, natural foods whenever possible to ensure the most solid foundation for your skin. Below are some specific recommendations for the best way to eat for your skin type; but keep in mind that any natural, non-processed food will be beneficial for your skin.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids help to nourish and hydrate skin. Find these nutrients in: olive oil; any kind of nuts, especially cashews and almonds; avocado; flax, chia and hemp seeds; and oily fish such as salmon and tuna.
The beta carotene prominent in red and orange fruits like apricots, mangoes and papaya, and invegetables like kale, carrots, pumpkin, spinach and turnips, acts as a vital antioxidant to help repair skin tissues and protect against sun damage.
Note that alcohol, caffeine, salty foods and sugary sodas can be drying, when what you really want is to retain moisture for your skin.
Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
Vitamin D helps control production of natural oil by the sebaceous glands, and also boasts anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It can be found in eggs, mushrooms, salmon, tuna, and fortified soya products.
Any kind of fiber helps to flush out toxins, as does water. Look for water-rich produce like grapefruit, watermelon and cucumber. Also find antioxidants in leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, quinoa and brown rice.
For your skin type, avoid dairy, fried, and processed foods, all of which can contribute to the production of excess oil.
This type of skin will benefit from a diet of lean protein, low-carbohydrate foods, and fresh vegetables, especially the cruciferous types: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.
Look to citrus fruits,berries and dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach to give you the Vitamin C you need to support collagen production, which plumps skin and reduces wrinkles.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and it helps skin retain moisture. Vitamin E rich foods include olives, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados and sesame oil.
Avoid low-fat or no-fat diets, as you need essential amounts of fatty acids to help cells retain moisture. Also try your best to avoid caffeine, alcohol and fried foods.
The best diet for your skin type is all-natural. Avoid all highly processed foods, including artificial additives, processed meats and trans fats. These unnatural ingredients will trigger inflammation and cause the very irritation and redness you are seeking to avoid. In addition, opt for the foods mentioned above that are high in beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids.
Since zinc is known to reduce inflammation and promote cell division, find it in sesame seeds, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, lentils and quinoa.
Can Alcohol Can Be Your Skin’s Friend?
Red wine contains polyphenols including resveratrol, a potent anti-oxidant. There is scientific data to support that consumption of topical resveratrol benefits the skin and it has been shown in some studies to be good for the heart and to have antidiabetic properties as well. Therefore 1 – 2 glasses of red wine a day can be a good thing, as red grapes contain more resveratrol than white grapes. Interestingly resveratrol has been studied when applied topically and has not been found to be of benefit to the skin—therefore skip those red wine baths! Other sources of this polyphenol include peanuts and dark chocolate.
If you’d like to learn more ways to enhance your skin health, please visit us at Skin Associates of South Florida.