Caring for Your Skin
Your skin is your largest organ. Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your skin.
Finding the best way to do that can be confusing. Dermatologists agree you should keep your skin clean and moisturized. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from damage and the risk of skin cancer.
Diet can also affect how your skin looks. You may find your diet speeds up the signs of skin aging. Learn what foods have the worst effect on your skin.
Foods high in saturated fats, such as red meat, cheese, butter, and hydrogenated oils, contribute to health issues. Saturated fats can cause cardiovascular problems and increase the risk of obesity. They can also affect your insulin growth factor.
High levels of insulin growth factors trigger high levels of sex hormones. When that happens, your skin responds by increasing oil production, leading to clogged pores and acne.
Reduce your saturated fat intake and replace it with healthier fats such as fish, and nuts, to improve your complexion.
Too much sodium is also a health concern. Eating a diet high in salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Reduce the amount of salt you eat to make a difference in your overall health.
Salt also affects how your skin looks. Too much salt can lead to dehydration. Dehydration pulls moisture away from your skin, leaving it dull and lifeless. Excess sodium can also lead to water retention, where your body holds on to too much water. Water retention can make your skin look bloated or swollen. You might notice bags under your eyes and a generally puffy appearance.
The calorie content of sugar leads to weight gain. Sugar also has a chemical effect on your body. Sugars such as fructose and glucose can interfere with your body's production of collagen. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its strength and elasticity.
Too much sugar can reduce the amount of collagen your body produces. Without collagen, your skin will look slack and loose. It won't be as elastic. Over time, you may see signs of premature aging. Your skin could also be more vulnerable to injuries.
There is evidence that some types of dairy products increase the chance of acne outbreaks. People who drink more than two glasses of milk per day report more acne than people who drink less milk. All types of cow's milk, including full fat, low fat, and skim, are recorded as having the same effect.
Not all dairy causes acne. Studies indicated that people who ate cheese or yogurt were not more prone to breakouts.
It's not clear why some milk products are linked to acne. It may have to do with hormones in milk increasing oil production on your skin. Milk may also trigger inflammation that causes blocked pores.
Highly processed foods tend to be high on the glycemic index. White bread, pastry, baked goods, potato chips, French fries, white rice, and sugary drinks all can spike your blood sugar. This can lead to weight gain, and affects skin health as well.
In one study, people on a low-glycemic index diet had less acne. When blood sugar spikes, it is thought to trigger inflammation, causing breakouts. A diet that stabilizes blood sugar can lead to clearer skin.
Foods to Improve Skin
If you want glowing skin, there are foods you can try to improve your complexion. A diet rich in fiber and plant-based foods can give your overall health a boost and help your skin look its best. Foods with high levels of antioxidants are also beneficial to skin health.
Some foods for skin health include:
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Carrots, apricots, and other orange or yellow fruits and vegetables
- Nuts such as pistachios or almonds
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon or mackerel
- Spinach and other dark leafy greens
Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is good for your skin as well as your overall health. Cut back on foods with too much sugar or saturated fats. Avoid highly processed foods or foods with a lot of added salt. If you have questions, ask your doctor for advice.