Maintaining a healthy diet plays a significant role in our physical and mental well-being. It helps the body fight infections and diseases, overcome stress, and feel more energetic throughout the day. It provides the essential nutrients that improve memory and concentration. But what about eating well for better skin? Is food important in skincare? According to Dr. Laurence E. Gibson, a professor of dermatology at Mayo Medical School, certain foods (such as antioxidant-rich vegetables, fish, nuts, etc.) might have a positive effect on skin health, while others (such as carbohydrates and refined sugars) might have a negative effect.
Foods for healthy skin
Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and beta carotene are commonly associated with healthy-looking skin. Thus, a balanced diet should include sufficient amounts of these elements. Let’s take a closer look at their benefits.
Zinc is an essential mineral. Its deficiency can cause a variety of health problems, such as hair loss, weight loss, diarrhea, dry skin, etc. In 2014, the Biomed Research International Journal published a study on the correlation between acne and the concentration of zinc in the blood. According to this research, the patients with severe acne had relatively low zinc levels, which led the researchers to believe that increasing the intake of zinc might improve skin health and even treat severe acne.
Foods that are rich in zinc include oysters, red meat, poultry, dairy products, nuts, and beans.
The health benefits of Omega-3 have been widely discussed and acknowledged. These fatty acids reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, prevent heart diseases and strokes. But what effect do they have on the skin? According to some studies, Omega-3 promotes the healing process and prevents scarring. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce acne.
Omega-3 is one of the key components of the Perricone diet, introduced by a famous aging expert Dr. Nicholas Perricone in 2001. Dr. Perricone stresses the importance of eating fish (salmon in particular) for those who want to minimize the signs of aging.
Although fatty fish is the primary source of Omega-3 fatty acids, they can be found in other foods as well, such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
Vitamins E and C
Fruit and vegetables are the best sources of vitamins and antioxidants that make your skin look healthy, soft, and smooth. Citruses, strawberries, bell peppers contain vitamin C, while spinach, broccoli, and nuts (almonds, for example) are rich in vitamin E. Beta carotene – another essential element associated with skin health – can be found in sweet potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and cantaloupe.
Foods to avoid
Some foods can have negative effects on the skin. The Perricone diet recommends avoiding foods with a high glycemic index (cornflakes, French fries, white bread, etc.) as they rapidly increase blood sugar levels.
Sugars and refined carbohydrates have been associated with premature aging, as they damage collagen in the body, which, in turn, reduces skin elasticity, contributing to the development of wrinkles.
Dr. Gibson’s advice is that instead of eating well for better skin, one should be eating well in general and “concentrate on a healthy diet”. All of the skin-friendly foods can be good for you in a variety of ways, and a well-balanced diet will keep you healthy both on the inside and on the outside.