We all love moisturized, glowing, radiant-looking skin; but we’re not always good at loving our skin. By loving our skin we mean treating it well inside and out, listening to what it’s telling us, and giving it what it needs.
Your skin is your largest organ and your first line of defense to environmental toxins, and it does a really good job of keeping you safe and healthy! If you want to learn more about the technicalities, this article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences gives a great overview of the skin’s immune function. But your skin isn’t just a barrier to the external world. It’s also a window to your internal functioning. Skin reactions, breakouts, and irritations are influenced by our balance of hormones, stress levels, nutrient stores, and overall hydration. When we see something happening on our skin that doesn’t seem right, it can be an indication of something going on inside that needs healing too. Your skin is so much more than a beauty topic, it’s one of the most critical components of your healthy functioning, so we want to help you get in tune with it!
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to skin health, but today we’re going to take a quick look at how your diet impacts your skin, and how you can use food to show your skin more love. The convenient thing is that all the foods that contribute to an unhealthy diet (processed meats, refined sugars and grains, and trans fats) also contribute to skin problems. Foods that cause inflammation in the body can present on the skin as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and certain types of dermatitis. Anything you can do to reduce inflammation can have lasting impacts on the health of your skin.
It’s important to remember that your body is incredibly unique, and your hormone balance, genetic makeup, and life stressors also impact your skin, so there isn’t a golden ticket skin-fixing diet that works for everyone. Your best resource in understanding how food impacts your skin is your own body. Paying attention to how your skin (and your moods and energy!) responds to the foods you eat can help you identify what irritates your skin and what invigorates it.
That said, we do want to share some “skin food” basics and talk about the nutrients that are known to nourish skin inside and out:
7 Nutrients That Support Healthy Skin
- Antioxidants work throughout the body to prevent free radical damage and in your skin, this can reduce the effects of pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.
- Anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce inflammation in the body caused by stress, diet, or other factors, helping calm skin irritation, acne, and redness.
- Healthy fats are important in building the skin’s natural oil barrier, which will help your skin look plumper, more radiant, and more youthful for longer.
- Vitamin C is a skincare wonder as it supports collagen production (the structural protein found in the skin that keeps things firm) and it’s also a powerful antioxidant that protects against the damaging effects of UV exposure.
- Vitamin A is critical for tissue healing, and that’s important in skin health when it comes to reducing the appearance of scars and fading breakouts. It also plays a critical role in your skin’s immune function and helps promote its moisture retention as well. A recent study has also shown a link between Vitamin A and a reduced risk of squamous cell skin cancer.
- Hydration is the holy grail of health and wellness, and we probably don’t even need to say that it’s good for skin health too. It helps flush toxins, maintain a healthy hormone balance, and is the biggest protector against dry skin (probably quite obvious)!
Quick Tips To Nourish Your Skin With Food
Tuck into tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps soothe and smooth skin and has also been shown to protect skin cells from environmental damage.
Snack on walnuts
Walnuts contain biotin (a B Vitamin) and Omega-3 fatty acids, which both support the skin barrier function that helps our skin retain moisture and look plumper. These nutrients also help to reduce sensitivity and inflammation.
Get leafy greens at every meal
Or at as many meals as possible! Dark, leafy greens have impressive anti-inflammatory properties to help with skin healing and they are also a good source of Vitamin E which supports circulation and keeps skin supple.
Go tropical with fruit
Tropical fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which is a building block of collagen (the structural protein found in the skin that keeps things looking plump and lifted). You’ll also get a good dose of antioxidants, which can help reduce the effects of hyperpigmentation, protect against cell damage, and promote normal gland functioning and oil management.
Infuse your water
The tip here is really just to drink more water! Infusing water with fresh fruits can slightly increase your antioxidant and vitamin intake, but it can also make it easier (and more fun) to get added hydration throughout your day.