How Your Diet Changes Your Skin
The secret won’t be found in the latest X cleanser and it’s definitely not X foundation – the key to maintaining a healthy complexion doesn’t come from a bottle. From the odd-spot to acne, to redness and lacklustre skin – the food you eat is just as important for your skin as it is for your waistline.
This could go one of two ways – simplified “eat this and that” to complicated “what even is gluconeogenesis”... I’m going to try and meet you half way and give you the knowledge about how your diet changes your skin.
Food. We all consume it.
Food gets digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. The less human interference to these foods – the better! This can be broken down into Hi-GI and Low GI (GI – Glycemic Index). Hi-GI means an excess of sugars or carbohydrates (which turn into sugars). Low GI diets have been proven to be beneficial to acne-prone skin which can be seen as reducing sugar and replacing with nutrient-dense foods (fruits, vegetables, omega-3).
Protein is important to develop the amino acids that go into making collagen (strength in your skin) and elastic tissue (suppleness). However, ditch the protein bars (remember the Eat Run Lift post 20 ‘Health Foods’ That Aren’t Actually Healthy?) – these are essentially a candy bar – the sugar goes into your bloodstream, making your insulin levels spike, which can aggravate acne, wrinkles and rashes.
Some of you might be surprised when I say ditch the dairy. For some people, the hormones found in milk play a role in excess sebum production that promotes acne. Sebum is the bodies natural oil supply made by the sebaceous glands that are found around the hair follicles. When excess sebum is produced and dead skin cells clog the follicles they become irritated and inflamed resulting in pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.
Try to avoid grains and grain-fed animals – including beef (choose grass-fed). Grains make palmitic acid, which settles through the arteries (think of ‘marbling’). Carbohydrates drive the release of cortisol – the stress hormone. Cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and liberates glucose (a process called gluconeogenesis – a normal physiological response to stress). When you’re overstressed you’re creating an over-production of cortisol which competes with testosterone for detoxification and can backlog testosterone. An excessive conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is one of the most common defects seen in acne and has been linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity and PCOS. Stimulants such as coffee can encourage and increase in cortisol levels, particularly when having more than one throughout the day.
So what else can you be doing?
Introducing more zinc into your diet either in a supplement or by consuming nuts (particularly brazil nuts), pumpkin seeds, mushrooms and seafood. Zinc is required to convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A - an antioxidant that assists in maintaining healthy skin, aids skin repair and keeps lines and wrinkles in the skin away by producing more collagen.
Don’t like the idea of a green smoothie? Try liquid chlorophyll. Diluted in water or on it’s own, it oxygenates the skin and works from the inside-out to keep the skin healthy and glowing.
PS: Avocados can supply skin with healthy fats and phytonutrients.
ATP Science. (2017). Acne. Episode 94. [ONLINE]. 21 April 2017. Available from: https://soundcloud.com/atpproject/episode-95-acne
Goldberg, D. J., 2017, Secrets of Great Skin: The Definitive Guide to Anti-Aging Skin Care. 1st ed. USA: Innova Publishing.
Forbes. 2017. Eating for Beauty – The Best Diet for Healthy Clear Skin. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahwu/2014/09/16/eating-for-beauty-the-best-diet-for-healthy-clear-skin/#306c13a41e6