Aside from investing in the best skincare products, you need to nurture your skin from the inside out, and maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet is a great place to start. Continue reading below to learn which foods and beverages can help maximize your skin’s health and longevity.
Foods and Beverages to Consume in Moderation
There are various foods and beverages that can negatively impact your skin health — either directly or indirectly. Nutrients, a peer-reviewed journal, found that higher levels of dairy intake equated to an increased chance of acne in people ages 7-30.
While heterogeneity and bias must be considered when interpreting this kind of data, what it reveals is still significant. Eating too much dairy, sugar, or fried foods can have a range of negative impacts on our bodies — including on the skin.
Below are four different foods and beverages that should be consumed in moderation:
Alcohol is a natural diuretic; in other words, it is a substance that increases the production of urine. Diuretics, of course, make you more dehydrated. If more fluids are leaving your body than are entering it, your skin will suffer. Skin that is too dehydrated causes wrinkles and pores to be more visible, resulting in dryness and redness. It can also exacerbate inflammation, worsening skin conditions such as acne (yes, adults can get acne) and rosacea.
Typically, the worst types of drinks for your skin are wines, cocktails, and mixers that contain excessive amounts of sugar.
The proteins found in cow’s milk — whey and casein — stimulate growth and hormones in their calves. When humans digest these proteins, they essentially do the same. The hormone released during human digestion is called IGF-1 and is similar to insulin.
How this hormone interacts with other hormones in the human body confuses the endocrine system, potentially causing acne breakouts.
Eating too many fried foods can contribute to oily skin — but not in the way you might think it does. Research shows that hamburgers, french fries, and other greasy morsels play no part in the production of oil or in breaking out. However, fried foods will only make you break out if you touch your face while eating them. Getting that grease on your skin clogs your pores, raising the chance of an acne breakout.
While fried foods don’t cause acne, they certainly don’t help it. Remember to eat fried foods in moderation and to avoid touching your face between bites.
It’s also important to remember that just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you shouldn’t moisturize. If your skin tends to get oily, either after eating fried foods or just in general, try a moisturizer developed for your skin type.
Sugary foods and beverages spike your blood sugar, affecting many different organs in your body — including your skin. The sugar causes your body to become inflamed. The inflammation can manifest as redness, swelling, and stress. Sugar also breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin through harmful AGEs, or advanced glycation end products.
Foods and Beverages That are Good For Your Skin
Some foods and beverages are great for improving the quality of your skin. Fish, fruits, and vegetables are just a few examples of the foods your body — and your skin — needs to stay happy and healthy. For the most part, it is the vitamins and antioxidants found in these foods that provide an abundance of benefits to your wellbeing.
Certain types of fatty fish — such as mackerel, salmon, and herring — are a great source of omega-3s. These fatty acids serve many purposes; they regulate the skin’s oil production, maintain hydration, and reduce inflammation. They have also been found to suppress acne, especially for people with moderate to severe acne.
Some fish — mackerel, salmon, and tuna fish for example — also contain vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency is an underlying factor in several disorders, including skin cancer, psoriasis, ichthyosis, acne, and autoimmune skin disorders such as vitiligo and scleroderma. Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout are types of fish that are high in vitamin E. This vitamin also contains multiple skin benefits, most notably because of its function as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Just be careful not to consume too much fish. While these underwater creatures are an excellent source of fatty acids and vitamins, they also contain high levels of mercury which can be potent when consumed in excess.
Fruits and Vegetables
Like fish, fruits and vegetables also contain powerful antioxidants essential to skin health. These nutrients protect your skin against UV rays, free radicals, and pollution, among other harmful matters.
Examples of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables include beta carotene in carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin; lutein in kale, papaya, and spinach; and vitamin C in oranges, blueberries, broccoli, strawberries, and guava.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults eat at least 1½ to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables (depending on age and sex) as part of a healthy eating regimen.
Nuts and Seeds
Certain nuts and seeds also consist of antioxidants that support the immune system and promote healthy skin growth. Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and sunflower oil are all high in vitamin E; walnuts and flax seeds contain high amounts of omega-3s; and brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Make sure to limit your intake of brazil nuts to 1-3 per day.
Among the best tips for skin care, staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for your skin’s health and appearance. Water helps maintain healthy skin by restoring fluids that have been lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and the removal of waste.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM) recommends a water intake of 91 and 125 ounces per day for women and men, respectively — this includes water consumed from all foods and beverages, not just plain drinking water. If you live in a hot climate or exercise frequently, it may be wise to up your water intake. The IOM also states that about 80% of your total water intake should come from drinking water and beverages, the other 20% coming from food.