A Guide to Healthy Eating and Healthy Skin
You wash your face every night, apply serums and moisturizers, but your skin still isn’t as clear as you want it be. Sound familiar? If this is the case, you’re not alone. Topical treatments and cleansers go a long way in caring for your skin, but what you eat also plays a role in helping you maintain healthy skin. If you find your normal skin care routine isn’t keeping your skin as clear and healthy as you want, it is likely time to check your diet.
Eating a balanced diet isn’t just good for your body and mind—it’s also good for your skin. As we start a new year, many people set goals to improve their eating habits. As you adopt a healthy diet, you’ll likely see positive changes in many areas, including your skin. And even among healthy foods, some are better than others for your skin.
In this guide to maintaining healthy skin by eating healthy, we’ll go over the following topics:
How Diet Affects Your Skin
Vegetables for Healthy Skin
Fruits for Healthy Skin
Retain Moisture with Healthy Fats
Vitamins That Promote Healthy Skin
Hydrating with Water to Maintain Healthy Skin
What Foods Cause Acne?
Here is everything you need to know about healthy eating and skin care.
What You Eat Affects Your Skin
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s greatly affected by what you put into your body. When you follow a healthy diet, your skin is more likely to be healthy and clear. Research has found that more than one-third of people with acne see a connection between what they eat and their blemishes.
Your skin cells are constantly regenerating and turning over. Clear skin is often the result of fresh, new cells, while many skin problems like rashes and psoriasis come from a buildup of skin cells or dead skin cells on the surface covering up the fresh cells underneath.
There are many factors that influence how often and how effectively skin cells regenerate, but diet plays a large role. Your skin uses vitamins and nutrients from food to repair and rebuild itself. As you eat foods with protein and vitamins that promote skin regeneration, hydration, and protection, your skin tends to improve.
In general, healthy foods help skin cells regenerate better, while an unhealthy diet can slow down the process and clog cells, leading to acne and other skin issues. A healthy diet can reduce acne and inflammation because it allows the body to operate properly and cycle through skin cells.
That’s not to say that healthy eating is the only contributor to clear skin. Some people with beautiful, flawless skin eat an unhealthy diet, and other people who eat a clean diet may still have acne. Other factors, including hormones, sleep, stress levels, and climate, also impact acne and skin care. However, following a healthy diet sets the stage for clear skin and puts you on a path for a healthy and happy body.
Vegetables For Healthy Skin
So what vegetables should you eat for healthy skin? Vegetables are incredibly effective in creating clear skin and establishing a healthy lifestyle. When you eat more vegetables, you get more full and are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods to curb those cravings.
However, not all vegetables are created equal when it comes to healthy skin. Some are more effective at providing the right vitamins and nutrients for healthy skin.
Sweet potatoes, spinach, and carrots are rich in Vitamin A. A single serving of sweet potato can provide more than six times the daily value of vitamin A and keep skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock, which protects against dangerous UV rays while avoiding dry skin and wrinkles.
Aside from vitamin A, spinach and other leafy greens like kale are also full of vitamins C and E, which help skin recover from sun damage and stay plump and elastic. Leafy greens also contain folate, which helps with DNA repair and the skin cell renewal process.
Red and yellow bell peppers provide a large amount of vitamin C, which creates collagen and keeps skin firm and supple. Eating foods like peppers can keep skin from getting wrinkled and dry with age. Just one cup of bell peppers provides more than twice the daily value of vitamin C.
Broccoli is high in zinc and vitamins A and C, all of which are powerful in creating healthy skin. Broccoli, especially the florets, also contain lutein, which protects skin from becoming dry and wrinkled, and sulforaphane, which protects against skin damage and boosts collagen levels. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and have been linked to reducing sun damage and preventing wrinkles.
Fruit For Healthy Skin
There are several different fruits that can contribute to healthy skin. One of the best fruits for your skin is avocado because it is high in healthy fats that help keep skin flexible and moisturized. Research has connected people who eat a large number of healthy fats like those found in avocados have more supple, springy skin. Avocados also provide collagen, which keeps skin cells plump and hydrated.
Other powerful foods include berries, like blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and goji berries, which are high in antioxidants. These nutrients help fight and prevent inflammation and protect the skin from damage from free radicals – unstable molecules that break down skin cells.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits contain large amounts of vitamin C, which can help you feel less bloated and reduce inflammation. These foods also help your body produce collagen, which leads to healthy, plump skin.
Retain Moisture with Healthy Fats
A healthy diet for skin care doesn’t simply mean eating vegetables or cutting out anything enjoyable. A skin-friendly diet includes a wide variety of foods that provide your body and skin with all the nutrients it needs.
Healthy fats are the foundation of a balanced diet for healthy skin. These fats are what keep skin cells plump and give your skin a healthy glow instead of looking flat and dry.
Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps moisturize the skin and avoid dryness and thinness. Omega-3 fatty acids support healthy skin cell turnover, which keeps your skin fresh instead of dry with dead skin cells piling up.
Healthy fats from these foods can also decrease inflammation, which can cause redness and acne, and protect your skin from free radicals and other contaminants in the air.
Healthy fats can also come from nuts and seeds, especially walnuts and sunflower seeds.
Walnuts have been linked to decreased inflammation and an increase in zinc, which creates a barrier around your skin and assists with healing. Brazil nuts contain high amounts of selenium, which can help clear up acne and prevent future breakouts.
Another good food to add to your diet is healthy oils, such as avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil. These oils are much healthier than their alternatives and can boost your levels of fatty acids and vitamin E.
Foods including eggs, brown rice, wheat germ, and tuna also have high amounts of selenium, which acts as an antioxidant and helps protect the skin from damage from free radicals and other containments. Studies have linked eating foods high in selenium to a decrease in acne. Legumes are also a good source of protein and zinc, which boosts your overall health and helps with the effective turnover of new skin cells.
Vitamins That Promote Healthy Skin
Vitamins are crucial to keeping your skin clear and healthy. A healthy diet for skin care includes foods that are rich in these vitamins. If you don’t normally eat large amounts of foods with certain vitamins or simply want an extra boost, taking a daily vitamin or supplement can give your skin the vitamin boost it needs.
Vitamin A is considered one of the most effective vitamins to improve skin health. It is naturally found in foods like salmon, spinach, and carrots. It helps regulate the skin cycle and keeps protein and oil moving with the skin cells instead of getting trapped. Vitamin A also builds and protects collagen and stimulates skin cell turnover. Many acne treatments include large amounts of vitamin A.
Our bodies naturally soak up vitamin D with time in the sun, but some people also take a supplement to get added benefits. Vitamin D helps create healthy skin cells, even out skin tone, and create a healthy glow. Vitamin D is found in fish like salmon and tuna. Even spending just 10 minutes a day in the sun can boost vitamin D levels, but make sure to check with your doctor beforehand if you have existing skin conditions or are sensitive to the sun.
Vitamins E and C
Vitamins E and C both contain powerful properties to improve skin health and quality. Vitamin C helps create the protein collagen, which builds strong and supple skin. Without enough vitamin C, your skin can be dry and bruise easily. Vitamin E creates a hydrating barrier for the skin and protects against dangerous UV rays. Vitamin C is effective on its own, but vitamin E is often most effective when combined with vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit and tomatoes, so most people tend to consume enough. Vitamin E comes from foods like broccoli, leafy greens, and olive oil. Most Americans don’t consume enough vitamin E in their diet, so a supplement is often necessary.
Zinc has many important properties, including fighting inflammation and helping improve overall skin health and the production of new skin cells. Zinc calms skin that has been irritated by breakouts and can help prevent future acne. Without enough zinc, your skin may take longer to recover from wounds and look red and dry. Zinc is found in healthy foods like almonds, turkey, and brazil nuts.
Hydrate with Water to Maintain Healthy Skin
One of the best things you can do to improve your skin and your overall health is simple and free—drink more water. Water hydrates the body and keeps the skin plump and healthy. Water also helps the skin renewal process and helps flush out toxins and other contaminants that cause acne and skin conditions. As a general guideline, most people should aim to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.
What Foods Cause Acne?
Simply eating certain foods isn’t enough to guarantee you will or won’t get acne. There are other factors involved like your skin type, health history, hormones, and many others. However, avoiding certain foods has been linked to clearer skin and improved overall health. There are two main groups of food that have been linked to acne: dairy and carbs.
Some people find that cow’s milk worsens their breakouts or leads to fresh bouts of acne. Most cow’s milk contains hormones to encourage growth in cows, which can negatively interact with human hormones and cause acne. Many people find that switching from cow’s milk to non-dairy milk like almond milk or coconut milk improves their skin.
Simple Carbs and Sugars
Carbs and simple sugars are a common contributor to many health issues, including skin problems. Foods like white bread, candy, and other sugary drinks contain huge amounts of sugar and simple carbs, which break down quickly during digestion. These foods release those sugars into the body, which can lead to increased skin issues. Foods that are high in simple carbs and sugars increase insulin levels, which can throw off your body’s natural hormones and cause acne and other breakouts. Sugars and carbs have also been linked to increased inflammation, which can slow down the skin renewal process. These foods can also aggravate existing skin conditions and acne. If you are prone to acne or currently have a breakout, eating more sugar can often make the acne worse or cause it to take longer to heal.
Healthy eating can make a big difference in the overall look and health of your skin. Although it isn’t a guaranteed fix to beautiful skin, healthy eating can improve your overall health as well. Applying these healthy eating principles over time can have a lasting impact on your skin.