Popcorn, cappucinos, bottled water—some of the most delicious (or most boring) foods can be hard on your skin if you overdo it.
White bread, bagels, popcorn… “Foods with a high glycemic index give you a sugar rush that will be terrible for your skin,” says Ava Shamban, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA. “When you increase sugar levels in the blood stream, the sugar that’s not picked up by the liver can get into your collagen, which your body may then identify as damaged goods and chew up. It can also cause inflammation that could make you break out.” You can find out a food’s glycemic index at glycemicindex.com —anything under 55 is considered low.
Red-velvet cupcakes, pistachio ice cream cones… Sweet stuff that’s irritating on your Instagram feed—looking at you, artfully arranged plate of macarons—is even worse for your skin. Once again, too much sugar can break down collagen and elastin, making your skin look dull and causing wrinkles over time. When you can substitute for sugar, “honey is the best sweetener since it’s loaded with antioxidants,” says Shamban.
Yogurt, cappuccinos… Dairy gets a lot of flack for being bad for your skin, but the truth is “we don’t have enough data to know for sure, so we can only say it’s a potential culprit,” says Shamban. So far, studies have shown a correlation between dairy and acne but not causation, and anecdotal evidence is less reliable than you’d think. “If you gave up eating yogurt or drinking skim milk every day and had fewer breakouts, you wouldn’t know if it were because of the dairy or its sugar content,” says Shamban. Your best bet is to look for dairy that’s made a) without added sugars and b) from cows that are not treated with hormones. “The hormones cows are fed can be steroid analogues, which can make you break out,” she says.
Bottled water. “The BPA in water bottles is another steroid analogue, which means it could act like hormones in your body,” says Shamban. “You don’t think about your bottled water breaking you out, but we don’t know yet—and anyway, there are a thousand reasons not to use plastic bottles all the time.”
Your morning coffee. If it gets you out of bed, don’t give it up. But you’d be wise to balance your coffee or fancy-pants espresso by chugging a glass of water, too. “Coffee acts as a diuretic, and that won’t make skin pretty, that’s for sure,” says Shamban. “Our skin cells are made of water, and anytime they shrivel up, you lose that glow and plumpness.” That means fine lines, like the ones we all have around our eyes, look worse. But as long as you add back hydration, there are plenty of benefits to drinking coffee, too: The polyphenols in coffee could mean younger-looking skin in the long run. Women who drank about three cups a day had the fewest age spots in a study in the International Journal of Dermatology.
Rounds of margaritas… If you’ve ever had a hangover, you already know that having more than a few drinks dries out your skin the next day—it’s why lines look worse (like, way worse) on Sunday morning. Pile on the moisturizer and, if you’re lucky enough to look puffy, too, try pressing a compress with half-and-half or whole milk under your eyes. The proteins in whole-fat milk bring down bags.
…And the salt on the margarita rim (or in a bag of chips). “Just as coffee and alcohol do, too much salt will dehydrate your skin,” says Shamban. It’s why some dermatologists go to extremes: “I put all of my patients on a zero-added-salt diet—if you’re making chicken, you can cook it with rosemary, thyme, and pepper, no salt. Fish is olive oil, garlic, and basil. And restaurants function on salt, so I tell them no dressings, sauces, or salt,” says Harold Lancer, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills.
Milk chocolate—but not dark chocolate (woo-hoo!). It’s the sugars that make milk chocolate hard on your skin, but for the record: “There’s no reason to skip dark chocolate,” says Shamban. (Look for 70 percent cacao or higher.)
Anything caliente. If you have rosacea, don’t pour hot sauce on your pizza. “It’s the skin condition that’s most sensitive to food,” says Shamban. “And spicy foods trigger inflammation and flushing.”
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- The 6 Worst Foods for Your Skin
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- 7 food habits harming your skin!
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- Is Salt Water Bad for My Skin?
- The Healing Properties of Salt Water
- Use Salt Water Wisely
- Make Salt Water Part of Your Skin Care Regimen
- 11 Foods That May Be Bad For Your Skin
- The Link Between Skin and Nutrition
- 11 Foods That May Be Bad For Your Skin (And What to Eat Instead)
- 19 Best Foods For Skin (Plus 7 of the Worst)
- THE 19 BEST FOODS FOR SKIN
- GREEN TEA
- BONE BROTH
- SAUERKRAUT, KIMCHI, & YOGURT
- WILD SALMON
- HERBAL TEAS
- HERBS & SPICES
- COLORFUL VEGGIES & FRUITS
- PROTEIN & AMINO ACIDS
- VITAMIN A RICH FOODS
- VITAMIN C RICH FOODS
- DARK CHOCOLATE
- SEEDS & NUTS
- THE 7 WORST FOODS FOR SKIN
- JUNK FOOD
- CANNED / PACKAGED FOODS
- Does Eating Sugar Really Cause Acne?
- How Sugar Affects Your Skin
The 6 Worst Foods for Your Skin
We never stop battling with our skin. Just as it seems we’ve finally conquered acne, it’s already time to fight fine lines and wrinkles. And all the while we’re navigating SPF and vitamin D-skin care is certainly trickier than those face wash commercials would have us believe.
Try as we might to find the perfect product for our own unique combination of problematic skin, it turns out we may want to approach skin care from the inside out.
“Every dermatologist will attest that a well-rounded diet will better support a healthy immune system,” Bobby Buka, M.D. and dermatologist says.
Yes, what you eat-and drink-can keep your exterior in excellent condition. There are foods to keep skin hydrated and soft and foods that protect skin cells from damage (i.e. wrinkles). And there are even foods that might hurt our skin.
However, they may not be the ones you’re thinking. “We’ve all heard of the allegedly ‘forbidden’ foods that supposedly trigger acne breakouts, such as fried foods, fatty foods, caffeine, nuts, chocolate, and even red meat,” Neal B. Schultz, a dermatologist also in practice in New York City says. “The reality is that in well-controlled statistical studies, these foods do not cause acne breakouts.”
There are still a few culprits to watch out for. In the piece below, you’ll find the foods the experts suggest to steer clear of. Let us know in the comments if you notice changes to your skin after eating these or other foods.
Ever wake up feeling a little puffy around the eyes? Too much salt can cause some of us to retain water, which can lead to swelling, Dr. Schultz says. Because the skin around the eyes is so thin, he explains, the area swells easily-and leaves you cursing last night’s popcorn when you catch your reflection the next morning. “These effects of salt are definitely age related,” he says, and become more common in middle age.
RELATED: 8 Foods Worse than White Bread
Shrimp, crab, lobster-and also certain leafy greens like seaweed and spinach-are naturally high in iodine, and a diet with too much of this element can lead to acne, says Dr. Schultz. However, “these breakouts are based on an accumulated amount of iodine over time, so there’s no relationship between eating high iodine foods one day and breaking out the next,” he says. Instead, he advises that people who are particularly acne-prone consume these foods a couple of times a month rather than a couple of times a week.
Although its effects are probably still pretty small, according to Dr. Buka, some dairy products may contribute to skin problems.
A 2005 study linked higher milk consumption to presence of acne. While the study had certain flaws, including the fact that participants were asked simply to recall how much milk they drank rather than record it in real time, more recent research, including a 2012 study in Italy, found a connection specifically between skim milk and acne. This is likely because of “a higher amount of bioavailable hormones in skim milk, since they cannot be absorbed in surrounding fat,” says Dr. Buka, which can then overstimulate the group of glands that produce our skin’s natural oily secretions, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
In some people with rosacea, dairy products can also trigger the condition’s tell-tale redness, Schultz says.
Starchy picks like white breads, pastas and cakes, and even corn syrup, Buka says, are best avoided for dewy skin (and maybe even for maintaining weight loss). Foods that are considered high glycemic can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. A small Australian study from 2007 found that eating a low-glycemic diet reduced acne in young men. However, Dr. Schultz there will need to be more research before we truly understand the relationship.
However, if glycemic index does prove to be related to skin problems, and you find yourself breaking out after eating something like French fries, it may be due to the starchy insides rather than that greasy, golden exterior, according to YouBeauty.com.
If starchy foods that break down quickly into sugar are an issue, it’s no surprise that straight sugar can be problematic for the skin in much the same way. High blood sugar can weaken the skin by affecting tissues like collagen, according to Daily Glow, and leave you more vulnerable to lines and wrinkles.
Which is why it’s likely not anything particular to chocolate, a rumored breakout culprit, that’s giving you trouble, but the high sugar content of that sweet treat. If you’re worried about breakouts, but dying for a nibble, stick with the dark stuff-it packs the most health benefits, anyway.
Alcohol is a natural diuretic, which means the more you drink, the more dehydrated you become. It saps the natural moisture from your skin as well, which can make those wrinkles and fine lines seem like bigger deals. It can also trigger rosacea outbreaks, according to Dr. Schultz.
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- By The Editors of Huffington Post Healthy Living
You wash your face daily and take your makeup off before bed like you’re supposed to. So why is your skin far from glowing? Well, even though what you put on your face matters a whole lot, what you put into your body also reflects back onto your skin, according to leading nutrition experts.
Here are eight foods (and drinks!) to stay away from if you’re having skin issues—or if you simply want your skin to look its best every single day.
1. Chocolate: For years we’ve heard myths about how sweets can make you break out, and the (not-so-sweet) truth is that these stories are true. According to nutritionists Jayson and Mira Calton, co-authors of Naked Calories, chocolate may actually make acne worse. Citing a study conducted in the Netherlands, they say that chocolate increases production of interleukin -1b, a marker of immune system inflammation, which increases the inflammation due to acne. Chocolate can also increase production of interleukin 10, which lowers the body’s immune defense, which could create conditions that allow bacteria to infect pimples, then worsen them.
MORE: The 10 Foods You Need to Eat For Your Summer Bikini Body
2. Bread, Sugar, and High Carb Foods: The Carltons saw the effects of a high-carb diet when they traveled to Papua New Guinea, where no one seems to have acne. They say that this may be due to the fact that people there eat low glycemic foods, and leave out things such as bread. The increased insulin levels in carbs causes the skin to secrete sebum, a greasy substance that attracts acne-promoting bacteria, as well as causes inflammation in the skin.
3. Whole grains: While whole grains are better for you than white ones, celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of The Virgin Diet, says that even complex carbs can be damaging to your skin. Especially for gluten-sensitive people (and that’s most of us), any kind of gluten can create inflammation and an immune response that can result in acne and other skin problems.
4. Dairy: The Carltons say that there is something called IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) in milk, which is similar to insulin and can cause an increase in sebum, the oily substance that clogs pores for some people. Crazily enough, as little as one cup of milk can cause this. Virgin says that skim milk in particular can cause other skin issues as well: Removing the fat from milk means more lactose (sugar) that can contribute to rosacea, acne, and other skin problems. Try eliminating dairy for two weeks to see if this could be causing your acne.
MORE: 7 DIY Food Masks That Really Work
5. Soy milk: Soy is another highly reactive food that can create an immune reaction and inflammation that create skin problems, Virgin tells us. “I see this often with vegans and vegetarians especially, who over-rely on soy, which eventually becomes a food intolerance,” she explains.
6. Fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt: Seems harmless, but many of these tiny containers have more sugar than a candy bar, says Virgin. “Sugar literally ‘gums up’ your proteins, creating advanced glycation end products, appropriately called AGEs that create wrinkling and sagging.”
7. “Empty” foods: It’s no surprise that foods lacking in nutritional value are not so great for your skin. Nutritionally empty foods like candy or French fries, for example, not only spike blood sugar but lack antioxidants, which fight free radicals for younger, more radiant skin, says nutritionist Mark Macdonald, New York Times best-selling author of Body Confidence. The big culprit contributing to these skin issues is salt, he says. “High salt food and even table salt increases bloating and gives you that puffy eye appearance. Replace high sodium, processed foods with natural foods—not in a box, package or can—as often as possible and skip salt at the table.”
Virgin adds that even foods that seem good for you with labels like “fat-free” are equally as bad—after all, they’re processed. “‘Fat free’ almost always means increased amounts of sugar, preservatives, and other junk that can ruin healthy skin,” she says.
8. Alcohol: Yep, another one of our favorite vices dehydrates the skin and makes us look older and washed out, MacDonald says. “Hydrate your skin with at least two liters of water per day—preferably working your way up to three to four liters—for a ‘fresh’ appearance, and limit alcohol as much as possible,” he suggests.
Image via Istock
Oh, man. As someone who really only started to deal with acne when I was in my late teens and solidly into college, let me just say…I researched the heck out of how to get rid of it. That research definitely included what foods might make it better…and what foods might make it worse. So these dietary triggers from Crystal Wellman, aesthetician and owner of Crystal Clear Acne Clinic, are especially interesting.
Acne may take root due to many things—hormones, medications, cosmetics, genetics, and more. But according to Wellman, “Changing a few foods that you eat can help hydrate and improve your skin while possibly avoiding breakouts.” Among those foods? These!
Salt. Too much salt can dehydrate your skin, which, Wellman says, can lead to swelling—making it more difficult for your body to heal acne. A good solution? Nuts! “They contain vitamin E, copper, potassium, calcium, and iron, which can help improve your health and skin,” she says.
Bread and refined grains. Wellman says these can cause a burst of insulin, which may lead to an increase of breakouts and acne. “But brown rice is a great alternative—it’s rich in vitamin B and protein. Vitamin B acts a stress fighter and aids in regulating hormone levels,” she says.
Shellfish. “Shrimp, crab, and lobster are high in iodine, which may lead to clogged pores and acne,” Wellman says. Instead, she says, try heart-healthy fish such as tuna and salmon, which contain fatty acids (and possible skin-boosters) like omega-3 and omega-6.
Milk. “Dairy products—especially skim milk—contain bioavailable hormones,” Wellman says. “Those stress your skin and may lead to breakouts. Instead, eat broccoli, which contains health building properties such as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.”
Alcohol. Wine, beer, cocktails…they dehydrate your skin, says Wellman, and that only highlights your skin’s fine lines and wrinkles. A possible solution: avocados. “They’re rich in vitamin E, which may help reduce skin inflammation while naturally moisturizing your skin,” Wellman says. “Simple changes in your diet just might produce a significant change in your complexion.”
What do you think? What are your own pimple-prompters (if you’ve noticed any)?
7 food habits harming your skin!
There’s more to getting that flawless, beautiful skin than just inheriting great genes. We all know how a good diet improves the quality of our skin.
It is said that there are certain foods that can give you a healthy, glowing skin. But are you aware there are also certain foods that can harm your skin? In fact, researches have shown that certain foods can affect your quality of skin. Foods such as dairy, sugar, and carbohydrates are said to be the most damaging to the skin, causing you wrinkles, allergies, skin cancer, acne and more.
So if you want to have a healthier, glowing skin, here are 7 food habits you MUST avoid as experts say they may be hurting your skin
Diets that are full of refined carbohydrates and sweets such as bread, candy, pasta, soda and juice can cause acne. These type of foods have the tendency to increase blood sugar levels, unleashing hormones that stimulate oil production and make pore-clogging skin cells shed faster. So if you’re acne-prone or concerned about wrinkles, consider replacing processed carbs with more protein, vegetables and whole grains, which don’t cause a rise in blood sugar
2) TOO MUCH SALT
Worried about those puffy eyes and dark circles under your eyes? Blame your sodium intake. It is said that too much sodium can cause puffiness and facial bloating. Salt causes tissues to swell, making your face seem puffy and tired. Plus, iodized salt (in high doses) has been proved to increase acne breakouts. Try eating foods rich in potassium, and minimize your salt intake. Make sure to rinse all canned vegetables, meats and beans after opening them to reduce the sodium content.
3) TOO MUCH ALCOHOL
Alcohol, when taken in moderation, is good for health but too much of it can be very damaging to your skin. Particularly on the skin complexion. Heavy drinking causes dehydration, which can lead to dullness, wrinkles and dry skin. It also robs the body of vitamin A, which helps the skin renew and repair itself. It also triggers skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. You don’t have to give up on happy hour altogether, but it is recommended to keep the drinking to a minimum, specifically one drink for women and two for men.
4) GETTING RID OF HEALTHY FATS
If you’re trying to eat healthy, remember to keep good fats in your diet. There are certain healthy fats (like the omega-3 fatty acids) that our skin requires to maintain hydration, and since our body can’t produce them on its own, we have to get it from foods like walnuts, soybeans and fatty fish like salmon. These fats help prevent wrinkles, inflammation, dry skin and acne. Olive oil, high on oleic acid content, is considered a healthy option as it hydrates the skin, protects against skin cancer and increase absorption of omega-3s and other nutrients. Other oleic acid sources include avocados and nuts such as almond and macadamia.
5) OVERDOSE OF DAIRY PRODUCTS
Dairy is one healthy diet we all swear by. But just like alcohol, too much of dairy can be unhealthy sometimes. Studies have suggested milk can cause pimples, whiteheads and blackheads in people prone to acne. A hormone found in milk is said to stimulate the production of pore-clogging skin cells. People prone to hormonal acne should avoid or limit their dairy intake.
It’s hard to avoid coffee, altogether. But one should be aware that 2-3 cups of caffeinated beverages can lead to increased cortisol in your body. Excess cortisol, known as the stress hormone, has been proven to be damaging to the skin. It accelerates the aging process, also causing dehydration, a dull appearance, and thinning of the skin, which leads to fine lines and wrinkles quickly. Try cutting back on your caffeine by mixing decaf and regular or replacing that extra cup with natural decaffeinated tea
7) HIGH SUGAR DIET
Study have proven that high-sugar diets can cause premature aging and cell damage by damaging collagen and elastin, the connective tissues that keep the skin firm and supple.
Stubborn acne can really hurt your self-esteem, but can also be a sign of other underlying health problems. Your skin is a window into your overall health and well being, so if you feel like you’ve tried everything, but haven’t seen the improvement you hope for, read on.
Diet Is Key
Did you know that sensitivities to certain foods may be causing your acne problems? Many people believe that as long as they’re taking care of their skin on the outside (i.e. cleansing, moisturizing, avoiding the sun, etc.), they are doing all they can for skin health. But what you put in your body matters too! We all know how important it is to get the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals for optimal body function, but if you’re getting your vitamins and minerals and staying hydrated, and your skin is still not clearing up, it may be time to try an elimination diet. Because acne is an inflammatory condition, certain inflammatory foods make it worse!
An elimination completely eradicates certain foods from your diet, and then after a few weeks, slowly reintroduces foods one by one, to see which ones trigger your symptoms. It may seem like a lot of hard work, but the results don’t disappoint. Once you find the foods triggering your acne, you can be in better control of your skin’s health. It is recommended that you eliminate potential triggers for at least 30 days, with longer periods being even better. Read below for the common acne triggers that you should eliminate from your diet.
Dairy products cause inflammation in many people because they contain hormones that tell your skin to make more oil. In addition, the protein casein is found in most dairy products, and casein can release a hormone called IGF-1, which often causes breakouts. Be wary of sodium caseinate as well, as it’s a derivative of casein, and is found hidden in many items that you might think are dairy free, like coffee creamer, soy cheeses, and whipped toppings. Dairy products to avoid are:
- Ice Cream
- Sour Cream
Read the ingredients of a product and make sure the label does not note that the product contains dairy. Butter can usually be tolerated because it lacks casein.
Sugar is a huge culprit in acne, because, like dairy, it causes inflammation. Added sugars are hidden in nearly every packaged food, so you need to be extremely cautious when reading labels. The sugars that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables are healthy for your body in moderation, but other added sugars need to be avoided 100%. Sugar is often disguised under dozens of different names. Some common names are easily recognizable, like corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, or glucose, but watch out for these less common ones:
- Cane juice
- Rice syrup
You can also bet that nearly any ingredient that contains the word “syrup” is a hidden form of sugar as well.
Most chocolate contains both sugar and dairy to begin with, in addition to chemicals like caffeine and theobromine, which some experts believe lead to clogged pores. Avoid chocolate as part of your elimination diet.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavoring agent used in many common processed foods. It is man-made and is added to products like soups, sauces, seasonings, and snack foods. In addition to acne, it is often blamed for a multitude of other health problems like migraines, stomach or digestive system pain, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to being inflammatory, MSG can also harm gut bacteria. The bacteria in your gut plays an important role in your overall health, and a healthy gut and healthy skin are definitely interlinked. Like sugar, MSG hides behind a lot of different names, so do some research and always check the ingredients! Keep an eye open for MSG masquerading under these names:
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Hydrolyzed plant protein hydrolyzed protein
- Natural flavors (watch out, sometimes even organic foods contain this one)
- Yeast extract
- Autolyzed yeast
- Protein isolate
Even if you’re not fighting acne, eliminating MSG can have countless health benefits, like reduced headaches, more energy, and better mental clarity.
Aspartame is a chemical sweetener often used in place of sugar. It is used in products as a no-calorie alternative to sugar and doesn’t raise blood sugar, so is thought of as suitable for diabetics. However, aspartame is not a healthy alternative to sugar at all. Like MSG, it can mess with your gut bacteria, cause headaches, digestive upset, and can affect your metabolism. The harmful chemicals in aspartame have no health benefits and are not digested by the body, so some components can exit your body through the skin which causes pimples. Avoid all artificial sweeteners, in addition to sugar.
Say Goodbye to Acne
Try removing the above products from your diet for 30 days or more to see an improvement in your skin’s health. For the first few days, you may feel unwell as your body withdraws from the harmful products. You may have a headache, stomachache, or just may generally feel under the weather. Rest assured that these symptoms will only last for a week or less, and the feelings are simply your body readjusting. You can expect to see a noticeable improvement in your acne within a week or two. If you wish to reintroduce these products into your diet, you may do so after 30 days, but know that if you eliminate sugar, aspartame, MSG, dairy, and chocolate long-term, your overall health and well-being will improve!
What Effect Does Salt Have On Your Skin?
Author : Alicia Benkovich Category : Blog, Uncategorized
Tags : eczama, exfoliation, Health, problem skin, psoriasis, salt, saltscrubs, skincare, spa, Wellness
Salt is more than just a condiment to season and add flavor to food. Experts have long discovered that it also offers several benefits when applied to the skin. It’s not surprising then that there are some beauty products that contain salt, such as salt scrubs here on American Made Beauty But what exactly does it do to your skin?
Positive effects of salt
Women’s Health says that incorporating sea salt into your beauty routine can replenish the minerals in your skin. Deficiency in this regard is the reason for problems such as dryness, irritation, dullness, and blotchiness. Besides feeding minerals to your skin, it also helps locks in hydration and creates a layer of protection so it won’t be easily prone to damage. There are different ways in which salt can be used to improve not just the appearance of your skin, but also hair, teeth, nails.
AZCentral, meanwhile, says that salt water can help treat acne and fade the scars that the condition left. Additionally, it can provide relief from chronic skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema by using it to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. This is exactly why salt is often included as an ingredient in scrub products.
Salt has cleansing and antiseptic properties as well, so incorporating it as part of your skin care can aid in eliminating bacteria and harmful toxins. Many dermatologists recommend bathing in the sea to experience the benefits of salt on your skin.
Negative effects of salt
Similar to any other substances, however, moderation in terms of using products that contain salt should still be practiced. HealthIQ cautions against ingesting too much salt, and explained that it follows the same principle when it comes to skin care. You can experience various side effects from too much sodium, states Dr. Adam Sheridan in an interview with Mama Mia. While salt can help lock in moisture, too much exposure to it can be dehydrating. It’s one of the reasons why your skin may feel itchy when swimming in the sea for a long time. If you want to enjoy the benefits of salt water, don’t spend too much time in it to avoid experiencing the negative side effects.
Furthermore, Livestrong says that too much salt can cause water retention, making you look puffy and bloated. It can also contribute to the appearance of eye bags. Excessive sodium can make your skin dehydrated, which can lead to your skin producing too much oil to compensate for the dryness. This in turn may cause acne breakouts.
The biggest challenge is that many skin care manufacturers include salt as one of the ingredients in their products. There are items that contain salt, albeit it’s not directly stated on the labels. A good rule of thumb is to read the ingredients in the package and be on the lookout for sodium chloride, sodium or simply salt. If the majority of the items in your skincare regime contain the ingredient, don’t ignore the instructions included especially if it states to use the product sparingly.
To sum it up, there is plenty of evidence which exemplify the benefits of salt on your skin. However, it can directly result in the opposite effects if used too much as well. Therefore, right balance is key to maximize the skin-enhancing qualities of this common substance.
– Author Sienna Moran
How bad is that chocolate really for your skin?
Photo: Getty Images
When it comes to your skin, what you put inside your body is as important as any cream or serum that you apply to the surface. While certain nutrients and foods can give you a glow, others can have the opposite effect, causing breakouts, puffiness and even premature aging (yikes!). We asked top cosmetic physician Dr. Mitch Chasin, founder and medical director of Reflections Center for Skin and Body in New Jersey, to give us the lowdown on the foods to cut out for a more beautiful, clearer complexion.
Short of surgery, not many treatments can get rid of under eye bags — but changing your diet could help. “Foods that are high in salt are very bad for the skin, because salt can cause us to retain water, which results in swelling,” says Dr. Chasin. “This usually affects the skin around the eyes, giving us a puffy look. Salt can also lead to high blood pressure, which affects collagen.”
Salty foods aren’t limited to snacks like chips and pretzels; many processed foods contain hidden sodium — even ones touted as good for you. “‘Healthy’ food that is marketed as low-fat and comes in a box (e.g. Lean Cuisine), is actually packed with sodium and should be avoided,” says Dr. Chasin.
2. Red meat
Would you switch to veggie burgers if it meant looking younger, longer? “Red meat contains a high level of carnitine which can harden blood vessel walls, causing premature aging,” Dr. Chasin says.
3. White bread and sugar
“Certain carbohydrates, like the ones with no nutrients in white bread, can cause acne and break down collagen,” says Dr. Chasin.
These types of carbs can spike insulin levels, leading to inflammation. When sugar enters the bloodstream, it attaches to proteins and forms molecules called advanced glycation end products (or AGEs) which damage collagen and elastin and also deactivate protective antioxidants.
Read more: How Your Sugar Addiction is Ruining Your Skin
Some loaves marketed as “wheat bread” can be just as bad. “Oftentimes products will say they’re made from wheat bread, but will contain enriched flour, which is loaded with sugar and not good for skin health. Stick to bread that is 100% whole wheat,” Dr. Chasin advises.
“As for beverages, any type of alcohol is the worst due to its dehydrating properties. Drink in moderation, and alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water when possible.”
Read more: Can Drinking Alcohol Give You Bad Skin?
5. Anything fried
As if you needed another reason to feel guilty about eating French fries. “Unhealthy fats from fried foods release free radicals in your body, and can clog pores, so they are not beneficial to the skin or body at all,” Dr. Chasin explains.
Instead, incorporate healthy fats into your diet. “Healthy fats like avocado and olive oil are great for the skin, because the fatty acids in these foods are responsible for regulating cell function,” Dr. Chasin says. “This helps the skin to maintain the transfer of waste and water, allowing waste to pass out and water to plump up skin cells. This is what gives skin a youthful, healthy look. Healthy fats also help prevent clogged pores, which prevents acne.”
What about chocolate?
Chocolate has long been thought of as an acne-causing food, but the blame is a bit misplaced. “Chocolate on its own does not make you break out, so most professionals think it’s a myth,” Dr. Chasin says. “However, a high sugar diet can increase sebum production, and excess sebum production is a cause of acne.” We’ll assume a square of dark chocolate here and there won’t hurt.
Read more: 5 Foods That Give You Better Skin
Is Salt Water Bad for My Skin?
May 11, 2018
Many skin care products capitalize on sea salts and salt water for dry skin. If you’re hitting up the beach this summer, you should be aware of how salt water will affect your skin. Your summer skin routine can include many products that harness the benefits of salt and salt water.
The Healing Properties of Salt Water
Salt water opens pores, which helps remove toxins from your skin. If you have acne, salt water removes the excess oil from your skin. There are many therapeutic effects from bathing in the mineral-rich salt water, because it contains magnesium, potassium, and sulfur. Thousands of people travel each year to bathe in the Dead Sea for its healing properties.
Salt water is also thought to be beneficial for skin that suffers from eczema or psoriasis.
Salt water benefits for skin include:
- Fighting skin infections because of its antibacterial properties
- Stimulates circulation
- Increases moisture retention
- Reduces inflammation
- Removes dead skin cells that cause itchy skin
- Diminish scars
Use Salt Water Wisely
Table salt is highly processed and bleached. It’s not this type of salt that is good for your skin or your health. Look for natural sea salt products to use in your summer skin care routine.
Although salt water does have many benefits, you need to be careful about overdoing it. Swimming in the ocean can be healing, but it can also make dry skin worse. A saltwater swimming pool can have added chlorine. Rinse well after swimming and follow with a hyaluronic acid serum and a good moisturizer.
Make Salt Water Part of Your Skin Care Regimen
Salt water can be part of your summer skin care routine. Make sure to use good sunscreen products, especially when you’re spending a day at the beach. Shop with us for products that help you maintain healthy and youthful skin, like a vitamin C serum for oily skin.
11 Foods That May Be Bad For Your Skin
Acne and other skin conditions can destroy your confidence and leave you feeling helpless when you don’t understand what could be causing it. While the underlying causes of skin conditions are different for each person, diet can play a big role in your skin health.
The Link Between Skin and Nutrition
I always say “clear skin is an ‘inside job’” because it can sometimes be a direct reflection of the health of your internal organs — in particular, your liver and digestive system.
Your body is always working hard to eliminate toxins, so when your liver isn’t up to snuff, toxins can begin to filter through your other organs of elimination such as your skin, which serves as “backup” for your liver. When toxins are eliminated through the skin, they may cause rashes, pimples, blackheads, and other skin conditions (2)(3).
Now, here’s where your diet comes in: each food you eat has the potential to benefit or harm your skin. For example, fruits and veggies containing antioxidant vitamins aid in the production of collagen (the protein that keeps skin smooth and supple), and may help your liver naturally detoxify to prevent breakouts on your skin (4).
On the other hand, refined sugar can break down collagen by cross-linking with other collagen fibers through a process known as glycation, which is known to form molecules that contribute to aging (but more on that in a moment).
With that said, let’s dive into the foods that don’t promote skin health — and why. Here are eleven foods that could be bad for your skin, and what to eat instead.
11 Foods That May Be Bad For Your Skin (And What to Eat Instead)
Why They’re Bad For Your Skin
If your skin has one nemesis, it could be refined carbohydrates. “Refined carbs” refers to processed sugar and processed flour, which break down into sugar.
Reason #1: Refined Carbs Deplete Your Healthy Gut Bacteria
Refined carbs have poor nutritional value. But they do feed something: the bad bacteria in your gut. Yes, sugar acts as a food for bad bacteria, which gives it a chance to feast, flourish, and crowd out the good bacteria. An overgrowth of bad bacteria has been linked to some digestive conditions (7).
Since acne is a bacterial condition, it makes sense that breakouts are linked to having an imbalance of the “wrong” kind of bacteria in your system. This is why many skin supportive regimens begin with replenishing healthy gut bacteria by eating probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and taking a probiotic supplement.
Reason #2: Refined Carbs Increase Oil Production in Your Skin (And Clogs Your Pores)
As if robbing your healthy gut bacteria isn’t enough, refined sugar may also cause your body to produce more oil and clog your pores.
When you eat refined sugar, your body releases the hormone insulin, which regulates your blood sugar by transporting sugar into your cells. Now, because refined sugar digests rapidly, your body must release large amounts of insulin to “keep up” with bringing sugar into your cells just as quickly as it’s being digested.
Research shows these rapid insulin spikes can trigger production of sebum (oil), which can clog pores and forms pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads (8).
And in case you need just one more reason to nix sugar from your diet…
Reason #3: Refined Carbs Age Your Skin
Processed sugar ages your skin — literally — by creating molecules called “AGEs” (advanced glycation end products). This process is known as glycation, a major factor in premature aging.
You see, when you digest refined carbohydrates, the sugar molecules become “co-dependent” and attach themselves to proteins such as collagen. When sugar molecules latch onto collagen molecules, together, they form brand new molecules: advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs. Unfortunately, your body can’t break this bond, and those collagen proteins that form smooth, youthful skin become lost forever (9).
When it comes to refined sugar, simply cutting table sugar out of your diet isn’t enough: it’s also important to read food labels because refined sugar goes by many names, including high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, cane sugar, and glucose-fructose (just to name a few).
Let’s not forget that refined carbohydrates include white flour — so we’re talking muffins, pastries, pasta, pizza crust, and white bread as well. Processed sugar and flour hide in the majority of boxed, packaged and store bought foods, including “healthy” versions of processed foods, such as organic ketchup. This is why it’s crucial to read food labels when it comes to maintaining your skin health. Better yet, consider avoiding processed foods altogether.
What to Replace It with (And Why It Supports Skin Health)
Natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup, apple sauce, green leaf stevia and coconut nectar are low glycemic sweeteners, which means they may have less of an impact on your blood sugar levels and are less likely to trigger skin breakouts when used in small amounts.
If you suffer from a chronic skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis, it’s best to avoid the sugar altogether, including the natural sources. However, green leaf stevia can still be used because it doesn’t interfere with normal blood sugar levels (10).
And what about those no-calorie sweeteners, you ask? Once thought to be the better alternative to refined sugar, studies show artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, Equal, and sucralose may actually cause sugar cravings and raise blood sugar levels, the exact same way processed carbs do (11). Best to avoid those bad boys, too.
Why it’s Bad For Your Skin
Dairy is a common skin trigger for a few reasons:
Reason #1: It’s a pro-inflammatory food.
Pro-inflammatory foods can aggravate or worsen existing inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, rashes, and eczema (12).
Reason #2: Growth hormones and antibiotics are often found in conventional dairy products.
These hormones may interfere with your body’s natural hormonal balance. In particular, excess estrogen (the female growth hormone) in your system is suspected to contribute to hormonal cystic acne — however, there’s a lack of research to confirm the link between acne and estrogen dominance.
Reason #3: Dairy is a common food sensitivity.
It’s estimated that 75% of the world population and 25% of the US population is intolerant to lactose, the sugar found in dairy — and most aren’t aware they’re sensitive (13).
Repeatedly eating a food you can’t digest can lead to digestive conditions. Food allergies and sensitivities may also trigger an inflammatory response throughout your entire body (14). As you may have guessed, when your body experiences inflammation, it can trigger inflammatory skin condition flare-ups (15).
And hey, it’s worth noting some forms of alternative medicine view dairy as a “clogging” food that congests the skin and liver.
What to Replace it With (And Why it Supports Skin Health)
Replace dairy with unsweetened nut milk, such as coconut milk, almond milk, and cashew milk. These alternatives are hormone, antibiotic and lactose-free, and may have less of a negative impact on your liver and digestion.
Soy was once a popular (and even somewhat trendy) vegan alternative to dairy, but it’s now more popular as a food sensitivity— likely because today, nearly 90% of the world’s soy crops are genetically engineered (16).
Soy also contains phytoestrogens, which mimic the hormone estrogen when absorbed in the body. Similar to the growth hormones found in dairy, phytoestrogens can also disrupt hormonal balance, and lead to excess estrogen in the body if you aren’t deficient in estrogen (17). As we covered above, estrogen dominance may be associated with hormonal cystic acne.
Choose nut milk over soy milk, and replace tofu with beans or organic, grass-fed meat if you include animal products in your diet.
PS: If you’re a sushi lover, don’t worry— you can replace soy sauce with coconut aminos, which can be found at any health food store.
All of these soy-free options are good for your skin because they’re often less processed (which means they’re higher in nutrients), free from phytoestrogens, and are less likely to be food sensitivities.
Most fast food items are deep-fried in refined vegetable oils, such as canola oil, safflower, and peanut oil, and loaded with trans-fats. While vegetable oils may sound healthy (they do contain the word “vegetable” after all) they can aggravate skin conditions because they’re extremely high in omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Now, let me first say that omega-6s are crucial to our health and well-being. We need a certain amount of them for growth, development and brain function. But as a pro-inflammatory nutrient, problems may arise when we have too many omega-6s and too little omega-3s in our diet (18).
You’re likely beginning to see the pattern here: inflammation is a major underlying cause of chronic skin conditions. So, when we’re consuming too much omega-6s and not enough omega-3s— which are natural anti-inflammatories— our bodies are more likely to show common signs of inflammation: redness, swelling, pain, and the like.
In fact, one study showed those who consumed the largest amounts of fish and seafood had the lowest rate of acne, pimples and oily skin (19).
Since omega-3s are found abundantly in wild fish, algae, grass-fed meats, chia seeds, and seafood, and high amounts of omega-6s are found in fast foods, processed foods, and deep fried foods, you can see how fast foods don’t promote skin health.
And let’s not forget another important fact: many vegetable oils that are used in fast-foods are sensitive to heat and light, and turn rancid when they’re exposed to high temperatures. Dropping these fats in a scorching hot deep-fry basket will oxidize them (read: turn them rancid), which forms free radicals. Free radicals have been shown to destroy our cells— including healthy skin cells— and lead to premature aging (20).
When you know you’ll be eating on-the-go, avoid deep fried foods altogether by keeping protein bars, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables in your car glove box, desk or purse. Luckily, more nutritious “fast food” restaurants are becoming more accessible, such as smoothie and salad bars.
Why it May Be Bad For Your Skin
Dwarf wheat, also known as “modern day wheat” — the common strain of wheat we eat today — is said to have a different chemical makeup than the wheat our grandparents ate decades ago. This genetically engineered version of wheat is suspected to be higher in gluten and phytic acid, which makes it harder to digest. Unsurprisingly, the introduction of this wheat coincides with rising wheat and gluten sensitivities (21).
Even when it comes to whole grain bread and pastas, most are still ‘cut’ with white flour, rather than made with fresh, stone-ground whole wheat. And as we covered, white flour is your skin’s enemy numero uno.
You can replace wheat with wheat-free grains such as spelt, amaranth, kamut, buckwheat, brown rice and quinoa (which is actually more of a seed). These whole grains contain vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, which help your skin retain moisture (22).
Grains like buckwheat are low glycemic and may have less of an impact on blood sugar levels.
Sprouted wheat is also lower in phytic acid and may be easier for some people to digest.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other whole grains, such as spelt, oats (unless certified gluten-free), kamut, rye, and barley. Gluten also sneaks into many unsuspecting foods, such as sauces, condiments, and processed meats. Many people have a hard time digesting gluten (23).
But how does gluten affect your skin? A lot of it has to do with how gluten affects your gut.
First off, you have a protein that’s produced by your digestive tract called zonulin.
Zonulin’s job is to moderate the tight junctions between the cells in your digestive tract, which prevent undigested food particles and pathogens from passing through (24). While this a good thing, gluten exposure can trigger your body to overproduce zonulin. This breaks apart the tight junctions instead (25).
Broken record alert: immune responses may cause or worsens inflammatory skin conditions (26).
Coconut flour and almond flour are two low glycemic, grain-free options that are alternatives to wheat flour. Brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet and certified gluten-free oats are also nutrient-containing alternatives to glutenous grains.
Red wine may be touted as a good source of antioxidants, but alcohol may actually be worse for your skin when it comes to acne and anti-aging. Alcohol contains sugar, which spikes blood sugar levels and may contribute to aging by depleting collagen. It’s also dehydrating, which prevents your skin from retaining moisture and can cause dark circles around your eyes.
Sure, there may be no real replacement for alcohol when you’re out for drinks with your friends. But sipping on a glass of kombucha or coconut water instead of a boozy nightcap will be more likely to benefit your skin in the long-run.
If you do have the occasional cocktail, try sticking to clear spirits, which are lower in sugar, and choose hydrating coconut water (or even regular water with a splash of lime) for your mix.
When you wake up to puffy, swollen skin, take inventory on yesterday’s meals to see if you ate a lot of salt (this includes restaurant foods or processed foods, which can pack a sneaky, high sodium content).
Processed meats such as bacon, and cured meats (such as chicken done in a brine), contain sodium, which can lead to water retention and can cause swelling and puffiness in your face.
Studies also suggest sodium nitrates, which are a preservative added to many processed foods, can break down collagen and elastin and may cause signs of premature aging (27).
Replace processed meat with organic, grass-fed meats whenever possible to avoid excess sodium and sodium nitrates. Grass-fed meats will likely be higher in omega-3s than conventional meats, and may be free from hormones and antibiotics (28).
It’s unclear why, but spicy food can trigger flare-ups in existing skin conditions, especially acne.
Acne and other inflammatory skin conditions are a sign of excess heat in the body — and therefore, eating spicy foods, which have warming properties should be avoided.
While nothing can take the place of hot sauce or spicy buffalo wings, try using herbs (except cayenne) and coconut aminos to flavor your dishes instead.
Have you ever woken up after a stressful day to find a monster sized zit staring back at you? There’s a definite link between stress and skin breakouts…but what does caffeine have to do with it?
Studies have shown regular caffeine consumption can increase your cortisol levels, which may impact your skin by causing inflammation, and throwing the rest of your hormones out of whack (28).
Believe it or not, bone broth is an alternative to coffee. It contains skin supportive nutrients such as glycine, collagen, and gelatin, all in one cup— in fact, here’s why many people agree bone broth is the new coffee.
You can also replace caffeinated coffee with decaf, or better yet, herbal teas like dandelion or burdock root which promote detoxification (29).
Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, but certain nuts naturally have a higher ratio of omega-6 essential fatty acids. As we’ve covered, omega-6s are a pro-inflammatory nutrient that may trigger acne flare-ups and other skin conditions.
Nuts that are highest in omega-6s are walnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, and pecans.
This isn’t to say you have to remove these nuts from your diet entirely. In fact, it’s better to focus on first removing processed foods and fried foods, which contain larger amounts of omega-6s. You can also focus on nuts and seeds with a higher omega-3 ratio, such as macadamia nuts, cashews, hemp, chia seeds and hazelnuts.
This list of foods that may be bad for your skin may seem overwhelming, but hopefully, it’s guided you on how you can support your skin health. By understanding why certain foods can trigger skin problems, you hold the power for creating a beautiful skin from within.
19 Best Foods For Skin (Plus 7 of the Worst)
The beauty industry wants you to believe that glowing skin is all about expensive procedures or toxic creams, but here’s something they’re not telling you…
The foods you eat play a tremendous role in the health of your skin. Your skin is your magic mirror giving you great clues about your overall health.
Here are some of the best foods for skin, as well as some of the worst, to help you on your path to glowing, more youthful-looking skin, naturally.
THE 19 BEST FOODS FOR SKIN
Keeping your skin hydrated and elastic is a lot easier than you may realize. Just drinking eight glasses of water a day will do wonders for your skin.
But for the combined benefits of water and electrolytes (electrolyte-rich fluids are amazing!) you can simply replace 1 to 2 glasses of plain water with coconut water, which also adds a little sweetness to your hydration without the guilt.
Exposure to sun and environmental toxins can wreak havoc on our skin. That’s why powering up on antioxidants is a simple and tasty way to boost your protection against harmful elements.
Aiming for eight or more daily servings of great skin foods that are antioxidant rich — is a snap, and delicious too! Sip on green tea for a midday pick-me-up or use it as the liquid in your morning smoothie. Green tea contains EGCG, a polyphenol with potent antioxidant effects.
Tapping into the glow-enhancing effects of collagen can be like a fountain of youth for tired, aging skin. Eating more of the right kinds of protein can help heal the skin, while delivering the essential amino acids to help boost our outward glow.
Try cooking up some soothing bone broth (check out Dr. Kellyann’s new book for some incredible recipes), which heals your gut and also delivers collagen for your joints, hair and nails.
What’s green, full of good fats, and great for your skin and heart? Try making “an avocado a day” your mantra and add the yummy fatty fruit to your daily diet for results you can see and feel from the inside out.
Avocados are rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin E, loaded with healthy fats (monounsaturated), and are good for your body and skin. Add a hit of antioxidant protection with a lunchtime salad of leafy greens with avocado.
For an extra avocado double whammy, try a hydrating face mask with mashed up avocado, honey and lemon, and feel your skin soak in the smooth, silky oils that are good enough to eat.
SAUERKRAUT, KIMCHI, & YOGURT
Did you know that noshing on sauerkraut and kimchi can give your skin added reasons to glow from the inside out? Research has shown fermented foods are full of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) that can give digestion a healthy boost and kick your gut microbiome into high gear.
Adding natural probiotics to your diet can be way easier than you think: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and even apple cider vinegar harness the probiotic power of fermented foods. Instead of making drastic overhauls to your diet, try swapping kombucha for soda, or try yogurt with live cultures, and see the transformation to your skin over time!
If you’re avoiding dairy, coconut yogurt can also double as a tasty fermented food that is gentle on your tummy. And adding a microbiome supplement can also be a simple way to get some probiotic power into your daily diet.
Eating fish provides us with inflammation-busting Omega 3’s, but being the big fish isn’t always a good thing. We need to take care to avoid larger fish that may contain toxins.
Why? Since large, carnivorous fish like tuna, swordfish, shark and halibut are at the top of the food chain, they are more likely to have higher levels of toxins like mercury and PCBs.
Opt for the smaller fish in the sea, such as wild caught salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies that boast healthy fats that can lead to radiant skin. Omega-3 fatty acids in these fish can combat inflammation and fight cancer.
Not a fan of fish? You can get many of the same benefits in a supplement.
Not only is tea a great way to relax and destress, a steaming cup of goodness may be just the solution for luminous skin, too. Herbal teas like dandelion and milk thistle are excellent detoxifiers that can support healthy kidney and liver function.
These teas enhance strong immune systems while helping bring the glow back to your skin with powerful antioxidant properties. Want to soothe your skin from the inside out? Ginger tea is a wonderful tummy soother that can aid in digestion and decrease inflammation of the skin while increasing natural radiance.
Chamomile is another herbal tea that can work wonders on your skin on the outside while calming and detoxifying on the inside. An added bonus: after you steep your tea, soothe puffy eyes with cooled chamomile bags. The anti-inflammatory qualities in chamomile tea bags also take the sting out of insect bites, eczema and dermatitis.
HERBS & SPICES
Herbs and spices inject flavor into your favorite recipes but did you know that many spices have anti-inflammatory properties that can play an important role in your skin care regime?
Certain herbs and spices can keep glowing skin vibrant and elastic by fighting wrinkles, soothing redness and boosting collagen. Cinnamon adds a warm, spicy quality to baked goods and hot drinks, and also packs a punch to combat skin damage with more antioxidants than half a cup of blueberries. Balanced blood sugar is another great benefit of cinnamon.
Ancient spice turmeric has been used for centuries in Eastern cultures, and its power as an antioxidant is proven through scientific research. Add turmeric to steamed or stir fried veggies, beans, and on your favorite soups to improve your skin’s overall health from the inside out.
Other herbs and spices that improve skin’s natural glow include oregano, cloves, ginger and garlic. To keep spices at their top power, toss out any that are more than two years old and always store in cool, dark cupboards — heat from the stove and sunlight will destroy their potency.
COLORFUL VEGGIES & FRUITS
Achieving beautiful, hydrated, dewy skin can be as simple as eating the rainbow. A balanced, rich diet full of a wide array of colorful, fresh fruits and veggies ensures you get enough minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants to ward off free radical damage and fight other signs of aging.
I recommend to my patients that they aim to eat six or more servings of colorful vegetables and 2 or more servings of fruit. But eating the rainbow doesn’t have to be a chore.
Even frozen vegetables and fruits are found to be great for you — so go ahead and throw some extra veggies in your soups and frozen berries in your morning smoothies. And make a game of it with your family to see how many colors of the rainbow you can eat each day!
PROTEIN & AMINO ACIDS
Packing a protein punch is a great way to boost your body’s all-important building blocks needed for smooth, supple skin. Nine essential amino acids found in different types of protein are the hidden secret for collagen production which can enhance the youthful, vibrant glow of your skin.
Collagen accounts for 30 percent of the body’s total protein. But beefing up your protein intake doesn’t have to be complicated. Set up a meal plan and spread out the protein between animal, plant and legume sources to keep your appetite invigorated. Grass-fed beef, organic poultry, even wild fish and all kinds of nuts are some of the best foods for glowing skin because they deliver ample amounts of amino acids that boost collagen production.
Rocking the vegan lifestyle? Pea protein is my favorite for an amazing balance of amino acids. It’s also low allergenic – unlike soy, whey and egg protein. And it’s easy to add to soups and breakfast smoothies.
VITAMIN A RICH FOODS
Loading up on Vitamin A rich skin foods like carrots, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens helps prevent premature wrinkles and bumpy skin, and can protect you from the harmful exposure of UV rays.
Bold colored orange and green veggies are packed with Vitamin A power, but this skin nourishing A-lister is also found in egg yolks and liver. Not only does it enhance your outer radiance and skin suppleness, Vitamin A has also received attention in it’s active form — retinoids — which can heal troubling skin conditions including acne, psoriasis, eczema and cold sores.
VITAMIN C RICH FOODS
Vitamin C is about much more than drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning. It’s surprisingly simple to get this vital building block into your daily diet — and it’s essential for collagen synthesis that can help you turn back the clock and replace wrinkles with pure radiance.
Supple skin with a youthful glow gets a welcome boost with a diet rich in Vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties of ascorbic acid that may help block and reverse UV-induced photodamage. Beyond citrus fruits, Vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, strawberries. A cup of red bell peppers contains three times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange!
For extra vitamin C and a yummy fizzy drink (without the sugar), try my Vitamin C Fizz.
Goldilocks and those bears had the right idea when they gobbled down steaming bowls of oatmeal. Oatmeal is a nutritious whole grain that packs some serious punch when it comes to being a great skin food that ensures a smooth, radiant complexion.
Starting your day with oatmeal means you’ll reap the benefits of its glycation balancing perks. Your energy levels will be nicely balanced and you’ll even find yourself powering through the mid-morning bonk that often accompanies an energy crash after the sugar high you can get from other breakfast foods.
Talk about a powerhouse veggie that can boost your skin’s healthy, luminous sheen! Just one cup of kale has twice the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, both of which are essential for blasting the oxidative, damaging effects of sun and building glow-boosting collagen.
Studies also show kale is packed with free-radical blockers, lutein and zeaxanthin, which actually neutralize and soak up wavelengths of UV light that sunscreens can’t prevent. Introducing kale into your diet is really easy: add handfuls to your morning smoothie, mix it into greens at lunchtime, or steam on top of fish or chicken.
Kale chips are a healthy replacement for fried potato chips – try baking them at 300 degrees with avocado or coconut oil and a sprinkling of sea salt for a tasty snack that nourishes your skin from the inside out.
Not only do oysters have a sizzling reputation for heating up the bedroom, these little shellfish pack quite the punch as one of the best natural sources of dietary zinc.
Research suggests the mineral may help in the growth and functioning of skin cells, so eating just six of these suckers (at less than 60 calories) means you’re introducing 500 percent of your daily need to boost your blush and help restore that dewy glow to your skin. Talk about turning up the heat without any makeup!
Not an oyster fan? You can still reap the rewards of zinc by taking a supplement.
Chocolate isn’t just for Valentine’s Day — dark chocolate can actually give your skin some good, good lovin’.
What’s the secret? Cacao beans from which chocolate is derived, are rich in antioxidants called flavanols, which may plump and hydrate skin, protect it from UV damage, and boost circulation for a healthy glow.
But not all chocolate is created equal. To reap the natural health benefits, steer clear of milk chocolate, which contains loads of sugar and dairy, and stick with 1-ounce portions (150 calories) of chocolate containing cacao in portions 70 percent or higher to maximize its health benefits. Who needs another excuse to pass the chocolate?
SEEDS & NUTS
Squirrels are onto something — nuts are one of the best skin foods around. Not only are the tiny packages chock full of protein, they contain essential minerals and vitamins that can be vital for keeping skin clear, smooth, and youthful.
Seeds and nuts also boast hydrating natural oils that can restore the hydration to skin and blast away wrinkles. Here are a few of my favorites: Macadamia nuts may boost collagen production and fight off free radical damage that can contribute to fine lines with phytochemicals. The Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts may help reduce redness and inflammation. Almonds are packed full of selenium, manganese and Vitamin E, which can protect your skin against UV damage from the sun.
The bonus with these nuts is that their oils are also available at most health food stores and can be used as carriers for essential oils or to massage directly onto your skin for added hydration. And for a sneaky and yummy way to get a dose of chia seeds watch this video.
It turns out berries of all kinds are the hidden secret to arming your skin with potent antioxidant power. Anthocyanin, the pigment responsible for the vivid jewel tones of blue, red and purple found in blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries, actually works to protect the skin from damage from free radicals in our surrounding environment.
Just half a cup of berries a day can help prevent premature aging and wrinkles.
Adding berries to your daily diet is easy as (blueberry) pie! Throw a handful in your breakfast smoothie, add to muffins and other baked goods, or toss on top of your salad with some lean protein or fish for a complete meal your skin will love.
One of the easiest ways to get glowing, dewy skin is by starting your day with a breakfast smoothie packed full of nutrients and hydration. It’s the ideal meal on the go to kickstart your day.
Imagine this: your body has been fasting overnight while you slept and is in need of nourishment fast to replenish and rejuvenate. That’s where the breakfast smoothie comes in. Keep it simple with berries and a non-sugary liquid like coconut water.
Try a green machine with veggies such as kale, celery, cucumber and detoxifying fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro and mint. I love adding pea protein powder or a supplement for an added amino acid kick that helps skin repair and restore itself for a youthful glow.
THE 7 WORST FOODS FOR SKIN
Remember the ‘80s tagline: “Milk, it does a body good”? Well, it turns out this is true… if you’re a baby cow.
One of the most dramatic ways to attain youthful, glowing skin free of inflammation and breakouts is by ditching dairy. Hormones in milk can speed up aging and cause a whole host of other skin problems. Dairy is highly inflammatory and can cause flare ups in acne, rosacea, and rashes.
To test your skin’s sensitivity to dairy, you’ll have to go off it for 12 weeks — that’s the lifespan of a typical skin cell so to really gauge any improvement to your complexion and skin vibrancy, you’ll have to be dairy-free to allow skin’s healing and cleansing to take place.
If you’re worried about reaching your daily calcium intake, substitute with coconut milk, almond milk and oat milk, which are fortified with calcium and other minerals. Sardines, leafy greens like kale, broccoli, and nuts like almonds are also packed full of calcium.
Not only is junk food high in saturated fats, salt and processed ingredients that leave your skin dull and acne prone, junk food hits you like a ton of bricks. It saps your energy and leaves you feeling sluggish.
As your body’s largest organ, your skin will take the brunt of the punishment as you indulge on junk. Breakouts, redness and oily complexion are just some ways your body will protest.
What do you do if you succumb to a stress-induced moment of junk food indulgence though? Try counteracting your cravings and helping your body speed up the purge by upping your water intake and noshing on nutritious, antioxidant rich foods like berries and protein. Flush out the toxins and your skin will return quicker to the soft, supple dewiness you remember.
Bananas are actually sugar bombs in disguise! One banana contains about three teaspoons of fructose (sugar) per 100 grams, or roughly the equivalent to half a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar (43 grams).
If you must go bananas, try boosting the nutritional value by adding a nut butter for a protein hit — and eat only half to limit unneeded sugar. And a not-so-ripe banana also has less sugar, so factor that into the equation if you go bananas for the fruit.
Need another reason to ditch the sodas and breakfast cereals? Look no further than the damaging effects of sugar. Not only can the artificial sweetness send you into a sugar coma that can sap your energy (making you feel tired and grumpy after the initial rush), sugar also can damage the smooth, supple, radiant look of your skin.
Here’s how: sugar triggers ‘glycation issues’ that can damage the collagen in your skin and lead to wrinkles and sagginess. To make matters worse, sugar can also cause flare ups in existing skin conditions like rosacea and acne.
It’s sweet and juicy, and when slathered with butter it reminds many of us of summertime cookouts. But corn has a dark side that we can’t ignore. Although it is commonly mistaken for a vegetable, corn is actually a grain with high glycemic index.
Corn has also come under fire for having a high probability of being linked to GMOs — today nearly 90 percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is considered genetically modified.
Allergies to GMO corn-related products, especially high fructose corn syrup, can rear their ugly heads in the form of skin rashes, achy joints and other skin irritations that are puzzling to trace and remedy.
CANNED / PACKAGED FOODS
Gone are the days when we pop plastic containers into the microwave or freezer. The reason is endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) such as bisphenol A (BPA), an industry chemical that has been used since the 1960s in everything from water bottles to canned foods and plastic wrap.
Commercially packaged foods may contain plasticizers (phthalates) and other plastics (BPA). As foods are heated, frozen or even stored, trace amounts of the chemicals can be released, eventually wreaking havoc on your body over time when you ingest them. These EDCs interfere with production, transport, breakdown, binding and elimination of hormones. Prolonged exposure to EDCs may affect the body’s hormonal system and homeostasis — or simply put, its natural, balanced state.
The solution is simple: store food in stainless steel, glass or ceramic containers instead of plastic. And keep packaged goods in your fridge and pantry to a bare minimum. Convenience is a small price to pay when it comes to your health!
While a glass of red wine here and there can introduce smooth skin loving antioxidants, hitting the bottle hard is going to affect your skin’s glow and elasticity for the worse. As a natural diuretic, alcohol dehydrates your entire body, and its after effects can be seen in breakouts, redness, inflammation and overall skin dryness.
Oh, and that hangover is your body’s snarky reminder that you haven’t kept tabs on hydration. One tip is for every glass of wine, cocktail or beer you drink, remember to down an 8-oz glass of water to counter the effects and ensure you’re staying properly hydrated.
Try not to consume more than four servings of alcohol in one sitting — your head will thank you as well as your healthy, glowing skin! And if you do drink one too many glasses of bubbly, in between glasses of plain water (the best rehydrator of them all) treat yourself to a nutrient-packed, antioxidant green juice with cucumber, cilantro, green apple, celery to jump start your body’s hydration.
When you eat foods that inflame your body, it will show up on your skin as skinflammation (acne, eczema, premature aging, and more!) Your skin can look dull, wrinkled and show other signs of damage and neglect.
But choosing nourishing foods and creating healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be difficult.
The simple change of eating just a few of these best foods for skin can transform your skin – and your life — and help it heal from the inside out, resulting in a radiant, supple look that will light up a room.
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Does Eating Sugar Really Cause Acne?
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Can eating excess sugar cause acne? originally appeared on Quora: the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Answer by Tatiana Aynbinder, Cosmetic Dermatologist, on Quora:
Sugar by itself does not cause acne per se. There are many reasons that acne can form and hormonal fluctuations in the body (hormonal acne) can be a significant factor for your breakouts. Acne has many possible culprits; therefore, it is imperative to see a qualified dermatologist to assess your acne as well as skin type and put you on a specific skin care regimen tailored just for you. However, I do believe that acne is best treated with a comprehensive approach. Along with in-office medical treatments, at home skin care medications and creams, a healthy diet and lifestyle also help to promote healthy skin.
Here are some useful insights as to why sugar may be bad for your skin and further exacerbate your acne breakouts.
Let’s examine how sugar affects your skin. Sugar’s oxidative properties can provoke acne and breakouts. Sugar and foods high on the glycemic index (meaning foods that, once ingested, convert quickly into glucose and cause your body’s insulin levels to elevate), lead to a burst of inflammation that goes throughout your entire body. Foods high in sugar and saturated fats – like white bread, candy, fried foods, ice cream, sodas, and anything else with a main ingredient of sugar – cause spikes in your body’s insulin levels that further exacerbate inflammation. Steep insulin spikes increase the production of skin oils and contribute to the clogging of follicles, which can worsen skin complexion.
Your body breaks down “simple carbohydrates”, like refined sugars and white flour, rapidly converting them into glucose, which then floods the blood stream. When this occurs, your body reacts by producing insulin to counter the glucose insulin levels spike, leading to inflammation-producing enzymes which attach to your body’s collagen through an oxidative process known as glycation. This process breaks down collagen and elastin, contributing to aged, sagging and wrinkled looking skin. Glycation not only increases the appearance of aging, but also can aggravate particular skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. (Glycation also occurs internally, affecting connective tissue and joints!)
The more sugar in a person’s diet, the more likely it is that the body will eventually develop insulin resistance. Understanding which foods are high on the glycemic index scale (and how quickly they cause blood sugar levels to rise after digestion) help us to develop a healthy diet as well as improving skin complexion. Foods high on this scale should be avoided as much as possible.
Excess sugar in your diet makes it more likely that you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excessive hair growth (hirsutism), production of dark patches on the skin, and aggravation of acne breakouts. We know that high blood sugar spikes in your body pump up the production of insulin. To bring down these spikes, your body responds by producing androgen hormones, which further aggravate acne. When this happens for an extended period, your body begins to lose sensitivity to insulin, causing insulin resistance. This means you have to pump out even more insulin to bring the blood sugar down. If this process spirals out of control, it can lead to further complications for your skin. Understanding the glycemic index scale (which ranks how quickly blood sugar levels rise after ingesting various foods) is essential for making the right choices for your skin when it comes to sugar in your diet.
Two key points regarding how sugar affects skin are as follows: sugar triggers inflammation, and also binds to collagen, degrading skin cells. The lower your consumption of sugar and other high-glycemic foods, the better your skin will look and feel. A rise in insulin levels in your bloodstream triggers changes that can lead to the growth of pore-clogging cells and excess production of oil in your skin glands – not to mention other serious health issues, such as diabetes.
Now for the good news: by making some healthier dietary choices and lessening your refined sugar intake, you can take a comprehensive approach to maintaining beautiful, healthy-looking skin from the inside out. Healthy eating also complements the topicals solutions, treatments, and medications that you already use for maintaining healthy skin and controlling your acne. We know that there is a connection between the foods you eat and your skin’s susceptibility to breakouts.
Make smart choices – choose foods with a lower glycemic index such as vegetables, or foods with natural sugars like fruit and whole grains. These are just a few of the healthier foods that won’t cause those high spikes of insulin production in your body. And look at the Glycemic Index for different foods. You might be surprised.
This question originally appeared on Quora. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:
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The face is like a mirror of the body and mind. Issues showing up on your face can be indicative of much deeper issues. As the seasons change, you may notice dry or red patches, blotchiness, or breakouts on your skin.
Blemishes on your face don’t pop up randomly, they can reveal a disharmony in the body that gives you clues to what is going on internally.
Particular areas of the face relate to certain organs, and each organ carries carries a connection to one of the body systems. Whether it’s acne, rosacea, eczema, or hypersensitivity, most skin disorders have one thing in common: inflammation.
Usually, distress in one organ or area of the body triggers inflammation somewhere else in the body but becomes most apparent in the skin. For example, congestion in your face (such as white-spots, or hard, granular-like bumps under the skin) or blotchy areas can be an indication of too much dairy or sugar in the diet. Redness could be a sign of stomach acidity caused by not enough digestive enzymes and an inappropriate diet.
The degree of acidity significantly affects the body’s own ability to prevent illness, disease, and premature aging. A delicate balancing act occurs in our bodies at all times, known as our PH balance.
If our PH balance gets too acidic, we are more prone to illness. The acidity prompts the immune system to respond negatively, creating more of a workload for our body to protect itself. Highly acidic food, smoking, hormonal imbalance, and a high-glycemic diet are the biggest offenders. These stressors cause a free radical cascade fueling inflammation internally and depleting our mineral reserves to neutralize the acid.
In addition, glycation (a metabolic process where sugar molecules bond to proteins and DNA causing premature and wrinkles) becomes apparent from too much sugar or high glycemic foods. Inflammation and glycation are two related reactions that impact the body’s natural state of balance and appearance of the skin.
If you want, smooth and radiant skin, here are some tips to follow:
1. Combine food strategically.
Smart strategies can cool down the excessive fire and inflammation in the skin and body. For example eat fruit on its own, and avoid protein with starch. Acid present in protein, which is made up of amino acids, blocks the action of an important salivary enzyme necessary for proper starch digestion and can result in gas and bloating.
Because vegetables contain water and fiber (important for optimal digestion), combining either animal protein or grains with vegetables is best.
2. Eliminate refined sugar and wheat.
These increase inflammation and an acidic environment in the body. Cutting back on sugar and wheat will support the organs of elimination and in turn will increase your energy and skin clarity.
If you’ve already cut out all refined sugar, continue to monitor your body when you eat even a minimal amount of natural sugar. Sometimes even fruit sugar will generate acne, because it feeds inflammation.
3. Incorporate fermented foods into your diet.
These foods are full of beneficial bacteria and probiotics that help support the body beyond digestion, reduce inflammation and keep yeast overgrowth and pathogenic microbes in check that can trigger breakouts. They are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. If you have poor digestion, it’s’ important to start incorporating these foods into the diet slowly to ensure the gut has proper time to heal and cleanse the body and the skin.
I recommend eating about a quarter to a half a cup of fermented vegetables, or cultured food such as raw yoghurt, per day. Kombucha, a fermented drink, is another great addition. The greater the variety of fermented and cultured foods you include in your diet, the better, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different microorganisms.
4. Eat good fats.
Increasing your Omega-3 fatty acids (EFAs) helps the body produce prostaglandins, hormones that reduce inflammation. EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet.
The best places to find omega-3 fats include cold-water fish, organic coconut oil, krill oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, flaxseed and sea vegetables.
5. Manage your stress.
When we experience stress the body activates the “fight or flight” response, which triggers stress hormones thereby slowing the digestive process and compromising your digestion. Most of us are in a “fight or flight” mode all day, which starts the minute our alarm goes off, starting the days rushing around to get ready for work, check email, get the kids off to school, etc.. and most likely skipping breakfast in the process. This rushed behavior is stressful and shuts down our digestion increasing acidity and more inflammation in the body.
To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response and bring the nervous system back into balance. Fitting in and finding the relaxation technique that’s best for you can help.
Activities like yoga, meditation and more exercise reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood. I recommend natural therapies like Acupuncture or Kinesiology to identify and correct imbalances. Kinesiology addresses the communication and connection between all systems and enables you to clear the blocks or barriers so you can accomplish your goals, tap into your inner resources and feel your best while providing tangible results for your health.
6) Repair with antioxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and quench minor inflammation by sacrificing their own life as a replacement for missing electrons around the cells. Antioxidants also stop the cascade of destructive damage, since free radicals are inescapable, we must have a constant supply of antioxidant nutrients to keep our skin cells healthy.
In addition, antioxidants may actually encourage our cells’ “fix-it” enzymes to repair damage. Our cells have a wonderful ability to heal themselves, but this mechanism works less efficiently as we get older. They also provide histamine regulation. Consider ingesting and using the following antioxidants topically adding a volume of antioxidant support.
How Sugar Affects Your Skin
Remember the days when everyone swore that eating a lot of pizza, chocolate, and other fatty junk foods would cause acne and other skin issues? Turns out, it isn’t the fat in those foods that’s the culprit behind everything from breakouts to eczema to premature aging: it’s sugar. With more and more research showing that diets high in sugar cause everything from diabetes to heart disease, it’s no wonder that the effects of sugar on skin are so significant. So what exactly does a candy-laden diet do to your complexion? Keep reading to learn just how much sugar affects your skin.
When you eat something super sugary like a big piece of cake or simple carbs like white bread, your body immediately produces a surge of insulin to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. When insulin increases, so does inflammation. This inflammation can exacerbate existing inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, rosacea, and eczema. If you find your skin experiencing a reaction, apply a lightweight face oil like our Calming Hemp Seed Facial Elixir, which combines hemp seed oil and rosehip oil to decrease inflammation and calm irritated skin. Roll over the area with our Inflammation Fighting Ice Roller to instantly cooland further soothe the skin.
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A sugary diet creates the perfect environment for acne to thrive. First off, sugar increases inflammation throughout your body, making blemishes extra red and painful. A diet high insugar also suppresses your body’s white blood cells—the soldiers responsible for fighting off infection. This leaves you vulnerable to acne-causing bacteria lurking on your skin. The increase in inflammation also causes your body to produce stress hormones, like cortisol, which boost your skin’s oil production, giving bacteria the greasy environment they need to grow and populate. Combat breakouts by using a gentle peel like our TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel once a week. Our peel contains a blend of five acids to kill acne-causing bacteria, control oil production, and to lift hyperpigmentation left over from acne scarring.
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- TCA Multi Acid Face Peel $150.00 Out of stock
BREAKS DOWN COLLAGEN
When you flood your body with sugar, it attaches to collagen protein in a process called glycation. During glycation, a new type of substance is created: advanced glycation end products or AGEs. AGEs are incredibly destructive to your body’s proteins; they break down elastin and degrade collagen. The most prevalent types of collagen in your skin are types I, II,and III. Type III is the longest lasting and strongest. AGEs degrade type III collagen into type I, causing wrinkling and loss of skin firmness.
A serum high in growth factors like our EGF Activating Serum can help counteract the effects of collagen loss by boosting cell turnover and speeding up the skin’s healing process. Pair the serum with a micro-roller like our Microneedling Face Refining Tool 2.0 to help plump up skin, stimulate collagen production and help the serum penetrate deeper into the skin.
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- Epidermal Growth Factor Activating Serum (EGF) $150.00 Out of stock
- Microneedling Face Refining Tool 2.0 $125.00
WORSENS ALLERGIC REACTIONS
If you suffer from allergies or eczema, you’ve probably realized on your own that sugar causes flare-ups. Because sugar stimulates inflammation and suppresses white blood cells, your body is less able to fight off even mild allergens. If you suffer from food intolerances and sensitivities, be extra careful with your sugar intake, which can make your allergies worse. For help on how to deal with an allergic skin reaction, read here.
WHAT TO DO
So what should you be eating? Doctors and dermatologists alike recommend staying away from processed sugars and simple carbs. Most experts agree that fruits and whole grains are fine; although they have a high sugar content, they also contain nutritious antioxidants and fiber that are essential to a healthy diet. Try to be kind to yourself: we all have slip-ups. If you do give into temptation, try taking a B-vitamin supplement to mitigate the effects of sugar–vitamin B1 and B6 inhibit the protein-destroying effects of AGEs