Eat Your Way to Healthier Skin

Woman with a ripe apple, isolated on white

Although there are no studies that consistently prove that certain foods cause or prevent skin issues like acne and blemishes, there does seem to be a relationship between what we eat and the condition of our skin.

A friend of mine, for example, breaksout every time she eats chocolate. For myself, oily fast food such as French fries and onion rings tend to up the oil production in my skin, which leads to more acne (so sad, but so true).

Though everyone’s skin reacts to specific foods a little differently, here are some diet tweaks you can try that may help to promote healthier, clearer skin.

  1. Eat more foods with antioxidants.

Vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and selenium all have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can have a calming effect on the skin and may help protect skin from free radical damage.

Food sources are usually the best way to obtain nutrients such as these, especially in the form of raw fruits and vegetables if possible.

Just some examples of foods that fit the bill:

  • for vitamin E, sweet potatoes, nuts, avocados, and leafy green vegetables
  • for vitamin C, berries, oranges, grapefruits, and tomatoes
  • for beta-carotene, cantaloupe, carrots, beets, spinach, and pumpkin
  • for selenium, tuna, salmon, eggs, and brown rice
  1. Eat more foods with Omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids work to inhibit the molecules that lead to inflammation, which can result in skin problems. Eating a diet rich in this nutrient could help to reduce this inflammation.

A few examples of foods high in Omega-3s are sardines, salmon, almonds, and walnuts.

  1. Stay hydrated.

Water is essential to a number of body processes, but it also helps to flush out toxins that can build up in your skin, making it important for skin health as well.

Staying well hydrated, according to your individual activity level, can thus be an easy way to help promote clearer skin.

  1. Avoid simple sugars.

Foods high in simple sugars cause high insulin levels, which eventually lead to the stimulation of sebum production and clogged pores. Remember my friend who breaks out after eating chocolate?

By avoiding or at least reducing your consumption of these kinds of foods, you may be able to help reduce your break outs.

Here are some examples of foods high in simple sugars: white bread, potatoes, sugary drinks, and processed baked goods.

Though there are a lot of non-dietary factors that go into the overall health of your skin—sleep patterns, stress levels, skin care routine, etc.—these suggestions play off of the connection between your diet and your skin to try and give you a little extra backup in the fight against acne, blemishes, and the like.

If you’re anything like me, you probably start your morning off with a cup (or two) of coffee or tea, and you might remember to drink one or two glasses of water later in the day when you start to get thirsty. As this isn’t really a whole lot of hydration for my activity level, I know one big take away for me after researching these tips is that I need to drink more water. Avoiding my favorite soda (all hail the mighty Coca-Cola goddess) and eating more of the veggies mentioned above are also on my dietary to-do list.

But for you, your efforts to clear up your skin through changes in your diet may be a little different. Maybe you’re already well hydrated but could use some more Omega-3s in your life. Or maybe you’re set on Omega-3s, and even those antioxidant-rich vitamins and minerals mentioned above, but you think your skin could really benefit from fewer French fries or sugary snacks.

Or maybe you’re not quite sure what your skin type needs. One suggestion I came across was to try keeping a food journal for a month or so and noting any break outs. Then you can see for yourself the relationship between diet and skin health that is specific to you and your skin.

Most importantly, be sure to talk with your doctor before trying any major dietary changes or supplements. Your doctor can also recommend the right amount of water you should be consuming to stay hydrated according to your activity level.

But whatever your specifics, let us know just how well these tips worked for you in the comment section below.

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