What Foods Are Good for Your Skin Condition?
We all know the saying - “You are what you eat.” But so few of us really know what is it exactly we should put into our bodies to affect our skin in the best possible way. And the most important, is it the same for everyone?
- Does Diet Really Affect Skin?
- What Foods Are Bad for Your Skin?
- Anti-Aging (Pro-Aging) Foods to Keep You Glowing
- Acne & Oily Skin Diet for Clear Skin
- Foods Best for Dry Skin
- Foods to Calm and Relax Sensitive Skin
- Eczema? Eat This, Not That
- Rosacea: A Diet to Transform Your Skin
- FAQ - Related Questions & Answers
- The Bottom Line?
Does Diet Really Affect Skin?
The short answer is yes, it can. Your skin is a reflection of the overall health of your body. What is good for your body will also be good for your skin. But your skin needs are individual to you so crafting a plan for what will give you your healthiest glow will take a bit of investigation.
To start, let’s identify what your skin needs are.
Is your skin oily and prone to acne?
Is your skin dry?
Do you need care for sensitive skin or skin conditions like rosacea or eczema?
Are you wanting to slow down the aging process?
If you’ve been dealing with a persistent problem you want to address, looking at what you’re eating may give you a clue as to what could be at the root.
What Foods Are Bad for Your Skin?
If you are prone to sensitivities to certain foods (dairy, for example), they could certainly be affecting your skin negatively. But there are also foods that, over time, will take a toll on anyone’s skin.
In the medical community, there is much debate over the role of diet on the skin, but we know that high blood sugar causes the body to overproduce insulin and now there is research that points to insulin being related to acne outbreaks. Loading your system down with sugar could trigger outbreaks and premature aging.
Likewise, though the link isn’t indisputable, there is research suggesting that dairy stimulates the oil glands in the skin to produce more oil, contributing to acne outbreaks. The same is true with heavy grease and fried food.
Best Anti-Aging (Pro-Aging) Foods
Food has the power to slow down the effects of aging on your body internally and externally, but there are some foods that pack an extra punch of benefits.
These powerhouse nutrients include:
● Dark Chocolate
● Chaga Mushrooms
● Bone Broth
Collagen rich foods or supplements:
Collagen gives our skin its elasticity. It is naturally produced by the body, but we lose it as we get older. Add to your diet bone broth or leafy greens and citrus, if you are vegan, to boost and maintain your collagen production.
It's great, but what really will give you a visible instant difference in lines and wrinkles appearance is collagen supplements. It is most commonly sourced from animals, but there are plant-based options out there if you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. (I get mine from iHerb, you can check out their website as well, just put in search 'plant collagen').
Foods high in hyaluronic acid:
Another important component involved in the aging of our skin is hyaluronic acid. Your body does make its own, but as you age, your production of it gets lower and slower. There are plenty of options to inject it directly into the face areas, but the safest one is to keep your diet rich in foods that support it's natural production or add some supplement contains it.
So check out if your diet rich of the following foods, to make sure you are on track with your pro-aging goals :)
● Bone broth (non-vegan option)
● Starchy Vegetables
● Citrus Fruits
● Leafy Greens
Acne & Oily Skin Diet for Clear Skin
If your skin is typically oily, you may experience more breakouts than a person with dry skin because the likelihood of clogged pores is higher. Avoiding foods that can cause acne can also help, but what are they?
Foods that may cause (or worsen) acne:
● Refined Sugar and Carbohydrates
● Fast Food
● Foods rich in Omega-6 fats
● Whey Protein Powder
Another cause of breakouts is fluctuating hormones in the body. Are there any foods that can ward off this problem? There is!
Because high levels of sugar can cause blemishes, a low glycemic diet can help significantly. Avoid foods that immediately get turned into sugar in the body like white bread, pasta, and sugary food and drink.
Dairy (like sugar) tells your body to produce more insulin and acne-causing hormones so lowering your intake of milk, cheese, yogurt, and whey protein can decrease a break out by as much as 16%, one study found.
Fast food and foods high in fatty oils and grease clog pores as well as cause inflammation. Trade these in for whole foods high in nutrients and low in inflammation.
Foods Best for Dry Skin
The origin of dry skin is fairly simple: the oil glands slow down their production and our skin loses moisture and hydration.
What causes this? A few things.
1. Our skin gets drier as we age
2. Weather (especially cold temperatures with little to no humidity)
3. Hot showers and having our skin in water all the time
4. Harsh chemicals
In addition, dry skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis are especially stubborn, involving severe dry patches of skin that crack and bleed and can be difficult to get rid of.
One important distinction should be made here.
Dry skin is a type of skin. Dehydrated skin is a skin condition. Though hard to feel, the causes are different. Dryness happens because of a lack of oil. Dehydration means there’s a lack of water. These two issues need to be addressed differently.
But how can you tell? This can be tricky because both conditions often look and feel the exact same. Your skin can feel tight, flaky, itchy, and dull with both.
One clue is that when you have dry skin, it is dry all over (hands, scalp, legs, etc) so it needs extra lipids - the barrier that holds moisture into our skin. Look for ingredients packed with these lipids like shea butter and plant oils.
Dehydrated skin has simply lost water and that can be restored with ingredients like hydraulic acid and cucumber.
Foods to Calm and Relax Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, chances are you’re very aware of it. You’ve probably dealt with bumps, dry patches and breakouts without always knowing what’s causing this reaction that other people don’t seem to deal with.
So what is causing this?
A variety of things might cause one person’s skin to react more than others.
● An allergic reaction
● Skin disorders like eczema, rosacea, contact dermatitis
● Overly dry skin that can’t protect itself any more
● Excessive exposure to outside factors like the sun, chemicals, allergens
No matter the symptoms, almost all sensitive conditions stem from inflammation that inhibits your skin’s ability to protect and repair itself.
How does this happen? A triggered immune system creates its own inflammation to fight something in your body it deems as a threat, but the chemical it releases to kill the invaders (histamine) can result in a rash, dermatitis or psoriasis.
The good news is there are things you can do to calm your skin down and restore some balance. Essential oils are very effective in this so look for products that contain high-quality oils like lavender, tea tree oil, frankincense and chamomile, among others.
These oils have calming, and healing properties that can reduce bumps, redness, restore moisture to dry patches and your skin will love it.
Eczema? Eat This, Not That.
We know that this frustrating condition usually looks like dry patches of itchy, bumpy skin that is hard to get rid of. As we’ve already pointed out, the cause of most of these conditions is inflammation. So what can we do about it?
For starters, there are certain foods that tend to trigger our immune systems to go on the offense, causing more inflammation. Avoiding them is a good place to start.
Inflammatory foods to avoid:
● Spices like vanilla, clove, and cinnamon
● Certain nuts
Sensitivity to salicylates isn’t as well-known, but it can wreak havoc on the skin if you have it.
Salicylates are from salicylic acid and the synthetic version of those acids are commonly added to toothpaste, aspirin and food preservatives, but also can be naturally produced by fruits, vegetables, coffee/tea, and some spices.
For a helpful resource on understanding and managing eczema, check out this book:
The Eczema Diet: Discover How to Stop and Prevent The Itch of Eczema Through Diet and Nutrition
Rosacea: A Diet to Transform Your Skin
Because rosacea and eczema are often confused, let’s nail down the differences.
Symptoms of rosacea:
● The red flush on the face that spreads to the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead
● Can be bumpy and itchy
● Can feel hot to the touch
● Visible blood vessels are present
● Comes and goes (often hormonal)
Symptoms of eczema:
● Patches of itchy, red bumps
● Can happen anywhere on the body
● An allergic reaction
● Patches can crack, weep, become scaly, discolored and blistered
Rosacea can easily be triggered by food because it is inflammatory, so avoiding those foods can greatly cut down on flare-ups. But it’s not always that easy.
Foods that can trigger rosacea vary from person to person and are really up to how your body responds to them.
Some foods on this list won’t bother one person and will cause a flare-up in another so you may see the same ingredients on both “foods to avoid” and “foods that are great” lists.
The following list of foods are high in inflammation-causing histamine :
● Seafood (except fish)
● Warm & hot spices
● Hot temperature foods and drinks
● Foods with vinegar
● Dried fruits and meats
● Aged or fermented cheese
So with a long list of potential triggers, what should you eat?
The simplest answer is anti-inflammatory foods, but what are they? Most medical professionals agree on this list:
● Green tea
● Extra virgin olive oil
● Dark chocolate & cocoa
● Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
● Nuts like almonds and walnuts
● Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
Related Questions & Answers
● What foods improve skin tone?
You will find a lot of different suggestions over the internet about what should you eat to make skin lighter but to be honest we don't believe that diet will have a direct impact on the skin tone. For instant results in improving skin tone try DIY homemade lemon & honey mask. (1 teaspoon honey mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon, apply on clean face for about 10 min and wash away).
● Which is the best fruit for skin?
Any fruit that makes you feel strong and healthy will have benefits for your skin as well. Follow your natural body craving to get the best results. Try not to mix it with other foods since it gets digested much faster and can cause bloating or bacterial overgrowth if eaten not properly.
● Does juicing make your skin glow?
Yes! For two reasons - one, because your body will get extra nutrition. Two, you will get those in liquid form without wasting additional energy for digesting and extracting, therefore your body will have a chance to detox and rejuvenate, which is will have a direct impact on your skin.
● How to improve skin instantly with diet?
It all depends on your starting point. If your diet is already very clean and nutritious, then I would suggest trying 1-day juice detox or fasting. But if your diet is currently full of processed carbs or sugar, try to substitute those to healthy variations or remove them totally for some time and then reintroduce the healthier variations.
● Does exercise make skin look better?
Yes! Yes! And one more time yes! And not only skin but the whole body including your hormonal system.
The Bottom Line?
By now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that finding one-size-fits-all answers to our most common skin needs is nearly impossible because, not only are our needs different, but our skin is always changing. What may work in one season of life may not work in another season.
Paying attention to your body, how it responds to its environment, and nourishing it accordingly is a powerful tool in unlocking your healthiest, most glowing skin and you are your biggest advocate.