I broke out with HORRIBLE acne my first and second year of Medical School. It was so awful, so embarrassing, and I will never forget the pitiful look my Attending Dermatologist gave me as she wrote me a prescription for Accutane (twice). Outside of the stress and late nights up studying, I lived on coffee and candy to get me through… and I paid the price. I WISH I knew then what a huge impact diet and lifestyle plays on your skin. Although great products and laser have helped get rid of most of my acne scars and helped skin look good again, I am more convinced than ever at my age of 46 HOW MUCH great nutrition keeps skin healthy and supple and vibrant. Let me give you some insight…
First and foremost, nix the sugary, caffeinated stuff and DRINK MORE PURE WATER! Over 60% of our bodies are comprised of water, and you will notice a difference in your skin within a day or two! Water is crucial for our skin cells to stay plump and alive. Water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out. Further, when we are hydrated, we sweat more efficiently, which keeps our skin clear. You should be drinking 8 glasses daily at minimum and more if you are active.
Secondly, eat more PLANTS! More fruits and veggies will make a big difference on the health of your skin. If you notice many of our higher end skin products have vitamins and minerals and enzymes derived from fruits and vegetables… If we are spending “many pennies” to put them ON our skin, why not put them in our bodies as well?
Vitamin C is found in abundance in citrus fruits, and in a variety of vegetables, such as broccoli and kale. Vitamin C promotes collagen production and skin healing. Vitamin A is essential for new skin cell development and cellular renewal. Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squash, dried apricots, bell peppers, mango and canteloupe are excellent sources of vitamin A.
In general, many fruits and vegetables are full of ANTIOXIDANTS. Some powerhouse choices are blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and plums. Our skin is exposed to free radicals on a daily basis. Free radicals come from things such as sun exposure or pollution, and are responsible for skin damage and sun aging. Antioxidants such as those found in berries can destroy these free radicals and protect cells from further damage and premature skin aging. Why not start now so you can keep your skin looking great in the next 5, 10, 20, 30 plus years?!
Third, our skin’s cellular membranes are made of a “bi-lipid layer”, which means the covering of our cells is made of fat molecules. When we eat more healthy fats, these get incorporated into new cells with healthier membranes and therefore healthier cells. Healthy skin cells hold moisture better, which results in plumper, younger-looking skin. Good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids include salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed. Essential fatty acids also protect against inflammation, which is good for our hearts and arteries, as well as our skin.
Fourth, green tea is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and for its ability to help protect cell membranes. Whether you drink it or apply it to the skin, a 2000 study in the Archives of Dermatology showed green tea might help reduce the risk of damage from UV rays from the sun, which may reduce the risk of skin cancer. It’s also full of antioxidants and polyphenols (anti-inflammatories) that we know are good for the skin.
Lastly, try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Researchers believe are thousands of undiscovered of antioxidants, peptides, enzymes, and anti-aging ingredients that will nourish our skin and our bodies, keeping us looking and feeling great.