Vitamins & Foods for Healthy Skin

From Farm to Face: Clean Eating for Luminescent Skin

There are countless reasons to adopt a clean eating routine. Putting the right super nutrients into your body will not just help you feel better emotionally, but it will help to keep your body running efficiently, help maintain your weight and of course keep your complexion looking radiant. Women all over the world are on the ambitious search for the right combination of scientifically-formulated skincare products for that perfect glow, but eating for beautiful skin is more powerful that the most sought after topical treatments on the market.

But this is more than just calorie counting. We’re going to give you some pointers on foods to adopt to promote luminescent skin and others to avoid. Here are some tips to keep in mind on your own journey toward holistic skincare health.

Vitamins for Skin

If you’re wanting to increase your Vitamin C intake, which aids in the body’s production of collagen, add foods like oranges, grapefruits, acerola cherries and tomatoes. Collagen is a protein that forms the basic structure for your skin. Over time, especially after the age of 35, collagen breakdown speeds up significantly and can leave your skin sagging and looking aged. In addition to helping boost collagen production, Vitamin C heavy foods, which also include hot peppers, bell peppers and sprouts, have antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals that damage body cells.

Eggs are an excellent addition to your skin health diet. The yolks contain powerful Vitamin A which helps your skin repair itself. Also, Vitamin A derivatives like tretinoin (more commonly known by the brand name Retin-A) have been shown to help erase acne as well as wrinkles. Other super foods that are heavy in Vitamin A are leafy greens and red and orange veggies. The yolks also contain biotin, a popular hair, skin and nail supplement that supports healthy growth. Finally, the yolk contains lecithin which helps to soften skin.

Ironically, another traditional breakfast item is leading the way for skincare health: oats. They are full of all sorts of goodies like fats that lubricate the skin, polysaccharides that eliminate flakes, saponins (natural cleansers that have antifungal and antibacterial qualities), polyphenols that are anti-inflammatories and antioxidants and starches that hold water in.

Consider also going a little nuts. Tree nuts that is. Nuts, especially almonds, include antioxidants and Vitamin E, which combats skin-aging free radicals, protecting skin from sun damage due to UV-sunlight-generated free radicals. Vitamin E also tends to help skin hold in moisture, relieving dryness and making skin look younger.



Foods for Healthy Skin

There are some foods that, in moderation, are great for your body but in excess wreak havoc on your skin. For instance, caffeine. Most of us simply can’t consider parting with our morning cup of coffee or espresso. And luckily, caffeine is actually great for your skin! Chock full of antioxidants, caffeine in moderation will help fight free radicals and boost your metabolism. But take in too much, like a “modest” 3 cups or more and caffeine works more like a diuretic, leaving your body and skin dehydrated. Also, if you like your coffee with cream and sugar (yes, the real thing) you’re packing on loads of extra calories in your day that your body should do without. So jumpstart your day with a cup of java but lay low on the additives and you’ll notice a perk in your skin health.

Similarly, alcohol can be okay in moderation. Red wine, specifically from the French or Italian region, is high in antioxidants and contains fewer sulfates. But in excess, alcohol is easily dehydrating. We recommend skipping the night cap all together and adopting a cup of calming tea instead.

Sugar is another ingredient that if you can, you should do without altogether. Sugar causes inflammation which can lead to redness, rashes, hyperpigmentation and breakouts. It compromises your gastrointestinal system leading to inefficient digestion. In addition, sugar is naturally dehydrating, leaving your skin itching to be moisturized.

A better alternative is to use natural honey. Honey, although it is a sweetener, is actually also excellent as a topical remedy because of it’s anti-bacterial components. It is also a natural humectant, which means that it both attracts moisture and helps lock it in, which is exactly what parched skin craves! So if you're suffering from itchy, flaky skin, add some honey to your bath.

Grains are a tricky adversary, which like sugar, can compromise your digestive system. While whole grains are an excellent source of nutrients, some for instance wheat, do not perform in the same way for our body. This grain is particularly bad for you because it overworks your liver, placing a burden on your gastrointestinal system. When your liver is overworked, your skin becomes the vehicle for detoxification resulting in breakouts and hyperpigmentation.

The dairy we use (which I personally save just for my coffee) is full of hormones that can overstimulate our glands causing overproduction of oils on our skin leading to breakouts. Try to use other products like almond or soy milk, which contain valuable nutrients and taste pretty good too in your latte.

glowing skin tips

Finally, lets talk about fats. We know that we need healthy fats, those which come naturally from sources like fish, avocado and flaxseed. These help cleanse your system. But other fats, especially fried foods, really have no place within a healthy diet and do much of the opposite. The molecular structure of these fats make it difficult for your digestive system to run efficiently and over time are stored within your body, causing cellulite and hyperpigmentation under the skin’s surface.

But as far as the good fats go, they are crucial for maintaining lustrous skin. Fish contains zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which are the ingredients that are so good for your skin health. An increase of omega-3 can reduce dryness and inflammation. In addition, omega-3 can help keep the heart’s arteries clear and improve circulation, another necessity to skin health. Zinc on the other hand helps to fight acne because it metabolizes testosterone which affects the production of sebum, an oily substance that is the primary cause of blemishes. Zinc is also a natural exfoliant, helping slough off dead skin cells for a radiant glow. Next time you’re shopping at the market, pick up some shellfish, oysters or a fatty fish like salmon to jumpstart your intake.

You certainly don’t need to adopt all of these skin-soothing ingredients into your diet to maintain a healthy complexion. Simply sticking to a few principles, like eating clean foods, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly will go a long way in helping improve your skin’s health and pigmentation. But, it’s nice to know that instead of spending a small fortune on leading skincare topical solutions, you can get beautiful skin straight from your own kitchen.

Marissa O’Brien
Beauty Editor