Holistic health is a beautiful thing. Take care of your body, and it will take care of you! We see more and more people taking the time and effort to eat well, exercise, hydrate, and get eight hours a night.
However, when it comes to skin health, simply eating a proper diet will not guarantee you healthy, beautiful skin. The mindset that drinking plenty of water and eating some blueberries will clear up your skin conditions is not only incorrect, but it can also be dangerous.
Today, we will explore how diet can have a material impact on skin health, how to make positive dietary choices, and the truth behind the limitations of diet's impact on your skin.
The Truth about Diet and Skin Health
The relatively recent rise of beauty bloggers and social media influencers has made reliable information regarding skin health difficult to come by. There are hundreds if not thousands of examples of these "industry experts" saying that drinking eight glasses of water a day or cutting carbs cleared their skin.
But is this really true? According to the American Academy of Dermatology: no, probably not.
In the vast majority of cases, there is no evidence to conclude that dietary choices have a huge impact on skin health. For individuals with acne, rosacea, eczema, or other common skin conditions, direct treatment is still the best course of action.
Does this mean we should all eat poorly? Of course not! As we will discuss in greater detail below, dietary health and positive health choices do have the ability to lead to healthier skin. The bottom line is that most skin disorders will not be cleared by dietary changes alone.
Cutting Trigger Foods to Improve Common Skin Disorders
As with many rules, there are some exceptions. Each individual will react differently to dietary choices. This is yet another reason to take personal testimonies with a grain of salt. What might work for your favorite celebrity might be a terrible idea for you!
Allergies and skin conditions - hives, dermatitis, and eczema are all potential symptoms of a food allergy. In mild cases, it is quite possible for allergy sufferers to remain unaware of what food(s) are causing their reaction. If you have reason to believe you may have a food allergy, speak to a medical professional about getting tested.
Eczema food triggers - for those suffering from skin conditions, certain foods may in fact cause or worsen breakouts. Eczema patients may want to avoid dairy products, soy, wheat, eggs, citrus, and other highly acidic foods.
Rosacea food triggers - rosacea is another common skin condition that can be impacted by dietary choices. Foods to avoid include spicy foods, hot drinks, hot (temperature) foods, and alcoholic beverages.
Can Gluten in my Diet Lead to Skin Inflammation?
To repeat ourselves from earlier: no, probably not. However, there are certain situations where gluten and wheat products in the diet can have a negative impact on skin health.
Individuals with a diagnosed gluten allergy should absolutely avoid gluten products. This might go without saying, but it is an important distinction to make! There are an inordinately high number of people claiming gluten intolerance without a proper diagnosis.
For those who do have a gluten intolerance, eating gluten products can result in a painfully itchy rash known as dermatitis herpetiformis. Much like any other food allergy, get tested to protect your health!
Foods that Benefit Your Skin
We've been pretty down on dietary choices impacting skin health so far. That has primarily been to point out that there are no miracle diets to create healthy skin. The only way to truly protect your skin is to care for your skin.
However, there are certainly some dietary choices we can all make to give our skin a boost!
- Water - While many claims are exaggerated, there is no denying that hydration supports healthy skin. Hydrated skin is smoother, clearer, and healthier.
- Foods Rich in Antioxidants - Skin can be damaged by free radicals. Antioxidants are the best way to combat this process. Antioxidant rich foods include blueberries, blackberries, kale, spinach, chocolate, and many tree nuts.
- Foods Rich in Vitamin A - Vitamin A, also known as retinol or retinoic acid, helps skin to heal itself. Retinoids are frequently used in topical solutions as well to flatten out wrinkles, reduce dark spots, and even to treat acne.
- Omega Fatty Acids - Omega-3s and Omega-6s aren't just health buzzwords - they are essential for skin health. Great sources for these healthy fats include salmon, olive oil, walnuts, and other small fish like mackerel.
When it comes to choosing a healthy diet for your skin, it is a win-win! Positive food choices promote overall health in a very real way. We recommend making a healthy diet part of your overall skincare routine alongside natural, potent, skincare products.