Skin Health

Everyone wants beautiful, glowing skin. Every cream on the market promises clear, smooth and ageless skin. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: no matter how much money you spend on expensive creams, face washes and masks, it will mean nothing without a clean diet. Let me explain why…

We all know that fast, fried and processed foods aren’t good for us. These things all take a toll on our heart, brain, gut and basically every other part of our bodies. Our bodies thrive on whole, nourishing foods that are as close to the source as possible. Our skin is no different. When we put oil-filled, chemical-laden foods in our bodies, our skin reacts.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to run to your closest juicer and go on a 7-day lemon and cayenne juice cleanse. In reality, it’s pretty easy to incorporate skin-healthy foods into your diet. The key is knowing how certain foods affect our skin, and what we can do to control that.

So what should we try and avoid? Here’s a short list…

Simple carbohydrates:
Baked goods, candy and soda all contain refined sugar, which cause insulin levels to spike. As a result, a wave of inflammation is created throughout the body, which in turn leads to a breakdown of collagen and elastin. Because these fibers give skin its elasticity and strength, this has major impacts on skin health. Furthermore, sugar attaches itself to proteins in the body and produces “advanced glycation end product.” In other words, your skin begins to sag, breakout and produces a washed out appearance. Not cute.

To add insult to injury, sugar has been linked to acne. Because spikes in insulin levels cause an increase in sebum production, breakouts are a common side effect of sugar consumption.

Fatty proteins:
Protein is vital to every diet. Whether it’s through animal or plant sources, every balanced diet requires the consumption of protein. However, it is important to consume the right kinds of protein. Fatty proteins, like hot dogs, cheese cubes and red meat are all big offenders of skin health. These foods can cause dull, puffy skin and dark under eye circles.

Coffee lovers, this is for you. As important as coffee may be in your morning routine, it may not be the best thing for your skin. Caffeine increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. When these hormone levels are raised, acne breakouts often occur.

Salty foods:
As tempting as a bowl of popcorn or chips may be while watching your favorite show, it may be time to think twice. Salty foods cause your skin to retain water, which can cause you to be puffy and bloated. When consuming iodized salt, breakouts can occur as well. This doesn’t just come from adding salt to your food. Many packaged products contain high levels of sodium, as well as various chemicals and additives. These work to generate free radicals, which can cause inflammation and premature aging.

Dairy in all forms—sweet and savory—works to increase blood levels of androgen, which in turn increases oil production. Unfortunately, this increases the potential for breakouts as well.

While complete elimination of these foods is not necessary—life is meant to be lived, after all—it is important to practice moderation. Especially if you suffer from skin ailments—dry skin, breakouts, etc.—try and avoid these foods even more. Focus on more skin-healthy foods, like avocado, blackberries, cashews, dark chocolate, salmon and carrots. Remember, you are what you eat…and your skin will show it!

Until next time,