The question of why food and diet aren’t considered first in the conversation about skin health disorders is rather perplexing when everything in the body is connected. Claire Mason shares her top tips for overhauling your diet for a clearer and healthier complexion.
Reduce or go gluten free
For those of us living with gluten sensitivity, celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders, food is often a big piece of the health puzzle. It has been known for quite some time that reactions to gluten can manifest as skin issues. Aside from the fact that uncomfortable skin disorders can make everyday life physically irritating, flares of eczema, acne, rosacea, dermatitis or other skin conditions can be emotionally and mentally draining as well.
Keeping hydrated is especially important for the health and function of our skin. Not only does water keep our cells healthy and living longer but helps our skin and body detox. Removing toxicity in our body will greatly help in the treatment of skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and dermatitis. Drinking ample water daily will certainly give our complexions that healthy glow we all love.
The importance of fatty acids
Banishing fats from your diet in a quest to whittle that waist? Your skin won’t thank you. Healthy bodies need healthy fats and healthy skin needs essential fatty acids. Key elements in a natural skin care diet, essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. These polyunsaturated fats also help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier, critical in keeping skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking. If you’re not getting enough EFAs in your diet, your skin may be dry, inflamed, and prone to whiteheads and blackheads. There’s even more to essential fatty acids than plumper skin. EFAs can be real skin care powerhouses. Research suggests that they may not only reduce sun sensitivity in those with photodermatitis, they may also diminish the inflammation associated with acne.
High sugar diets can impact collagen
When you ingest sugar or high-glycemic foods that rapidly convert to sugar, whether it’s in the form of an apple or a piece of cake, your body breaks down these carbohydrates into glucose, which raises your insulin levels. Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, white bread and soft drink, cause your insulin levels to spike, which leads to what Dr. Perricone describes as “a burst of inflammation throughout the body.”
Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. Aside from increasing the effects of ageing, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Plus, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth (hirsutism) and dark patches on the neck and in body creases. Us girls do not want this nooooo!
Zinc and Vitamin B for kissable lips
Winter has its challenges when it comes to skin care. Harsh drying air takes its bitter winter toll on our skin, hair and lips. Cracked dry lips are not only icky BUT they also hurt! Vitamin deficiencies can also cause your lips to dry and crack. Taking a practitioner formula multivitamin supplement that includes vitamins B-3, B-12, zinc and vitamin A will make a difference. Oh and be mindful of not using any petroleum based lip balm. These only dry our lips out even more. Seek professional help here too.
Food allergies can cause blotchy skin
A food allergy occurs when your immune system responds defensively to a specific food protein that, in reality, is not harmful to the body. The first time you eat the offending food, the immune system responds by creating specific disease-fighting antibodies (called immunoglobulin E or IgE). When you eat the food again, the IgE antibodies spring into action, releasing large amounts of histamine in an effort to expel the “foreign invader” from the body. Histamine is a powerful chemical that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system. Skin will become very blotchy, inflamed and irritated. As soon as you recognise the food culprit remove it from your diet and seek professional advice for treatment.
Sugar and breakouts
A good way to improve the health of your skin is to eat in a manner that keeps your blood sugar steady. Some foods make your blood sugar quickly soar. This triggers your body to make a burst of the hormone insulin to help your cells absorb the sugar. If throughout the day you’re “eating a snack, you’re eating a granola bar, and you’re drinking something sweet, you’re pushing your blood sugar up high and fast, and you’re going to have more insulin circulating in your bloodstream. Some research suggests that insulin may play a role in acne. In a 2007 study, researchers explored a possible link. The study included 43 teenage boys and young men with acne. For three months, some ate a diet including foods with a low glycemic load (which is a measure of how foods affect people’s blood sugar), and others ate a carbohydrate-heavy diet without being concerned about their glycemic index. Those who ate the special low glycemic load diet had more improvement in their acne. So if you’re looking for clearer, less bumpy and healthier skin, reduce the sugar in your diet.
“For the health of your skin”