If you have done any research at all into acne and skincare, chances are you have found a ton of tips and tricks ranging from specialized holy grail products to interesting life hacks. Through all of this, one thing that frequently goes overlooked in the skincare world is dietary linking.
Think about it: when you eat something heavy, you feel tired. Salty foods can make you bloat. Sugary foods and dairy have direct ties to acne formation in some people. With all of this in mind, it makes sense that what you eat can impact the quality of your skin.
So, How Does it Work?
In short, your skin is your body’s largest organ; it reacts to internal changes similarly to every other organ in your body, for better or worse. Your skin contains a protein fiber network that is rather delicate.
When you eat a lot of processed, sugary, or unhealthy foods, your body may develop a type of insulin resistance that prevents sugars from being adequately processed, leading to a build up of glucose in your bloodstream.
This build up, in turn, damages the protein fiber network, weakening your skin’s structural integrity.
Additionally, your body may react poorly to processing certain types of food. Some people cannot eat gluten because their body lacks the enzymes necessary to break it down; this leads to an inflammatory response and some pretty serious discomfort, including acne breakouts in many people.
Similarly, dairy products can trigger breakouts in those who are lactose intolerant and nightshades like tomatoes can cause reactions in those with sensitivities, as well. Anything that puts stress on your digestive system can cause a breakout, even if you do not outwardly feel awful. Even mild allergies or sensitivities can spark reactions on your skin.
Like most biological things, food’s impact on your skin works both negatively and positively. There are foods that are known to actually aid in creating smooth, healthy skin. This reaction is caused by a variety of reasons ranging from vitamin content to water dosage.
These beneficial foods are great to incorporate if you are not happy with your skin’s appearance due to their low commitment, low risk nature if you do not have allergies or sensitivities.
Sweet Bell Peppers
For one, sweet bell peppers are amazing for your skin. Rich in vitamin C and full of water, these vegetables are easy to incorporate into dishes and are quite tasty raw, as well. Just one ounce of sweet yellow bell pepper contains over eighty percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin C, making it one of the most concentrated sources of the vitamin on the entire planet.
Vitamin C is absolutely necessary in cell repair and reproduction; it also plays a vital role in maintaining your skin’s elasticity, which, in turn, helps prevent acne formation. Being properly hydrated is also incredibly important since overly dry skin is more prone to microtearing, which allows bacteria to creep its way into your body.
A little tip: if you want to get the maximum vitamin C dosage out of your bell peppers, eat it raw. Cooking vegetables, in general, reduces their nutrient density.
When we cook, we typically use oils to help aid in pretty much everything. Emulsifying a dressing, crisping up salmon skin, or just preventing veggies from sticking to a baking sheet or pan all require some type of oil or fat.
If you want to incorporate a little bit of skincare into your kitchen time, opt for olive oil. A 2012 study found that women who consumed a higher amount of olive oil showcased a thirty one percent lower rate of aging compared to those who used alternative oil types.
Additionally, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which aid in promoting skin elasticity and compounds that prevent free radical damage, one of the leading causes of premature aging and a host of other skin concerns, including acne formation.
Polyphenols have long been recommended to help prevent skin damage. Green tea is rich in this chemical compound, making it an absolutely amazing antioxidant and anti inflammatory agent. Using green tea as a toner or mixed with clay to create a mask is a fantastic way to treat acne naturally and prevent new breakouts.
Additionally, the high vitamin K content in the tea is great for treating dark circles when used as an eye mask, too! Many people actually apply green tea to acne scarring and wrinkles to help even out the texture of the damaged areas, as well.
Even just drinking green tea is great, as it helps soothe your digestive system, reducing inflammation across your body!
Seaweed is a frequently overlooked skincare ingredient that has proven to be particularly invaluable. Many high end brands have recently began using the sea plant to create creams and serums due to its incredible acne fighting powers.
Rich in vitamin B and iron, seaweed helps to regulate your blood and prevent iron level depletion, which can lead to junk food cravings and fatigue. The high iodine content in seaweed helps to promote metabolism regulation and healthy thyroid function, too, which helps ease the strain on your digestive system and allow regular hormonal functioning.
Seaweed salad is a great choice if you want to eat the plant outright; if that is not your thing, opt for spirulina and sprinkle a bit into your smoothies, salads, and other dishes to give yourself a little boost.
Lastly, let’s talk about fish. Though there are countless other skin health promoting foods out there, fatty fish are, arguably, some of the most potent. Fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring are all fantastic due to their high omega 3 fatty acid levels, a compound that helps prevent inflammation and redness while leaving your skin moisturized from the inside out.
Fatty fish are also rich in vitamin E and protein, which help support cell turnover and replenishment. All in all, incorporating fish or fish oil supplements into your diet can really cause a dramatic change in the quality of your skin!