The skin is the body’s largest organ. Many people rely on cosmetic products to care for their skin. However, the skin would benefit greatly from proper nourishment rather than from chemical-based products.
It’s common knowledge that your diet has a direct bearing on the way your body functions. In the same vein, your skin health also relies heavily on your food choices.
Besides being an external surface for the world to see, your skin is also one of the prime indicators of your internal well-being. If you happen to run low on energy, fluids, or vital nutrients, these deficiencies will manifest externally in the form of blotchy or uneven skin.
Whether it be pollution, sun exposure, unfavorable lifestyle choices, or the natural aging process, your skin doesn’t have it easy on account of several damaging factors. There’s only so much you can do to turn back the clock on your skin or avert other environmental factors that are more or less beyond your control.
However, your diet is still yours to decide. Eating right can help proactively protect and nourish your skin from within and keep it from turning dull and worn-out with time. Your regular diet is the simplest and safest way of addressing your skin concerns from the get-go, which often makes the subsequent need for spending exorbitant amounts on high-end products quite redundant.
Everything from pollution and the sun to the natural aging process and lifestyle can lead to dull, tired skin, and because your face is the first thing people see, it can make you feel self-conscious or just a bit down if it’s not looking how you want it to.
What Does Healthy Skin Look Like?
Your skin is not just for show as it serves a greater protective purpose. It’s your body’s first line of defense against the outside world. The smooth, hairy surface layer of the skin or the epidermis prevents bacteria, dirt, and other foreign objects from getting in and wreaking havoc on your internal organs.
Moreover, this protective barrier protects you from the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun and is lined with nerve endings that let you know if something is hot or cold, soft or hard, and sharp or dull. Your skin serves another key function of regulating your body’s fluids and temperature.
Below the epidermis is a thick, strong, and elastic layer of tissue known as the dermis. The dermis is richly supplied with blood vessels, sweat and oil glands, and nerve endings.
For your skin to qualify as healthy, it should:
- Be smooth to touch, with no abruptions or breaks in the surface
- Feel neither too hot nor too cold, but just warm enough
- Neither be dry and flaky nor moist and wrinkled but appear and feel even
- Be light as a feather and sit comfortably on your body without feeling like it’s there
Skin that meets all the above criteria can be taken as a reflection of a well-functioning body.
What Does Unhealthy Skin Look Like?
Uneven Complexion: Prolonged or repeated sun exposure is hazardous to your skin and can lead to blotchiness, dark-colored spots, and leathery wrinkled-looking skin.
A bad reaction to an allergen or cosmetic ingredient as well as stress and anxiety can also be held culpable for skin hives or blotches. A substandard diet and inadequate sleep can also contribute to flat-colored skin.
Uneven Texture: Unhealthy skin is characterized by an inconsistent or uneven texture. Skin that is riddled with congested pores is prone to acne, whiteheads and blackheads, or tiny bumps called milia.
Because epidermal pores serve as an entry point for your skincare products to seep deeper into the skin, it is all the more essential to keep them unclogged for the product to yield results.
Dryness: Although the skin is constantly shedding dead skin cells from its surface, the process is accelerated when the body’s hydration needs are not being met. Thus, inadequate fluid intake can cause too many skin cells to slough off at the same time, resulting in scaly or flaky skin that feels inflexible, listless complexion, and the appearance of fine lines.
A vitamin B deficiency can also result in cracked or chapped lips. Excessive skin cleaning or use of strong skincare and makeup products can also dry out your skin. Moreover, skin dryness is also a common by-product of conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Strange Sensations: Another sure-fire way to know that something is off about your skin is when it starts to feel unusually uncomfortable. Anything from a new skincare product to extreme environmental change, vitamin deficiencies, or an allergy can cause your skin to itch, pull, sting, burn, or tighten.
Other common indicators of unhealthy skin include:
Best Superfoods for Your Skin
While genetics, lifestyle, and habits play a significant role in skin health, eating the right foods can help you easily fight acne, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, protect it from sun damage, and enhance your skin’s natural beauty. There are many foods with skin-friendly vitamins that benefit not only your health but also your skin.
Here are some of the most skin-friendly foods that you need to eat more of.
A 2008 study established a significant correlation between skin roughness and lycopene concentration. It indicated that higher levels of antioxidants in the skin effectively lead to lower levels of skin roughness.
- Include tomatoes in your diet.
- Also, you can apply tomato pulp on your skin, leave it on for a minimum of 10 minutes, and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Do this daily to make your skin feel clean and shiny.
This popular leafy green vegetable has immense health benefits. Spinach is also good for your skin as it is a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Green leafy vegetables are rich in lutein, and some studies show that a high level of lutein intake may improve skin health and decrease the risk of skin cancer.
The vitamin A that is present in high amounts in spinach acts as an antioxidant and helps prevent cell damage and premature aging. Packed with beta-carotene, spinach also helps prevent dry skin and wrinkles and protects the skin against sunburn and UV damage.
- For healthy skin, drink half a glass of spinach juice daily. You can also add spinach to your salad or use it to garnish your dishes.
To keep your skin looking its best, include almonds in your diet plan. Almonds are one of the best food sources that contain potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E, which help nourish your skin and protect it from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Almonds also contain various antioxidants and antiaging properties that help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. The essential fatty acids present in almonds are known to help reduce swelling and inflammation, thereby helping to treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
- You can eat whole almonds as a snack or add sliced almonds to your salads, cereal, yogurt, or baked goods. However, try to eat almonds in moderation as they are high in calories.
- You can massage your face, hands, and legs regularly with almond oil to enjoy a remarkably glowing and radiant complexion that will surely make you look younger than your age.
Eggs are packed with high-quality protein; vitamins A, D, and E and the highly absorbable B-complex vitamins; and minerals including iron, copper, and selenium – these play an important role in skin health. While selenium helps keep the skin free of infections, vitamin A helps in the development of new skin cells and the growth of new tissue required for healing wounds.
- A serving of two large eggs helps provides sufficient protein to maintain healthy skin and hair.
- You can also use eggs in homemade face masks and conditioners.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks, and the best part is that this healthy drink is a storehouse of skin benefits. It contains a considerable amount of antioxidants that help eliminate free radicals to prevent premature aging.
Green tea is highly beneficial in treating different types of skin disorders including acne, pimples, psoriasis, rosacea, wrinkles, and warts. Plus, it is extremely effective in safeguarding the skin against sunburn and tanning when applied locally.
Several studies have also demonstrated that green tea helps combat skin cancer by blocking the cancer-causing enzyme.
- To enjoy healthy and glowing skin as well as a youthful complexion, try to drink at least 2 cups of green tea daily.
Salmon is another superfood that can make your skin healthy and radiant. Being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, this cold-water fish is known to nourish the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances. It may help improve the clinical symptoms of psoriasis.
The astaxanthin present in salmon helps in hyperpigmentation suppression, melanin synthesis and photoaging inhibition, and wrinkle formation reduction.
Salmon also contains selenium and zinc. Selenium helps protect the skin from the harmful UV rays, and zinc stimulates the production of new cells and sloughing of dead skin, leaving you a nice glow.
- You can enjoy grilled, baked, and cooked salmon to keep your skin glowing with health.
Avocados are considered Mother Nature’s skin moisturizer due to the healthy fats and nutrients present in them. In fact, they act as humectants for your skin, helping give it a more youthful quality and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Also, this fruit contains vitamins C, E, and K, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, and high amounts of potassium, which are all essential for healthy skin.
The high amount of vitamin E helps protect the skin from wrinkles and damage caused by the sun, smoke, and pollution. Plus, the proteins and healthy fats present in avocados help keep your hair healthy and shiny.
- For a healthy skin complexion, rub the pulp of a ripe avocado against your skin two to four times a week.
- You can also try an avocado facial that can be easily prepared at home. Mash some avocado and mix it with a little milk. Apply it on your clean face. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with lots of water.
- Also include this fruit in your diet.
When it comes to the best foods for your skin, you simply cannot leave out blueberries. Blueberries are high in vitamin C, a strong antioxidant that helps keep the collagen in your skin healthy. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture studied 40 common fruits and vegetables, and blueberries ranked number one for antioxidant activity.
- To prevent signs of premature aging, add 1/2 cup of blueberries to your yogurt or cereal every day. You can also drink a glass of blueberry juice.
- Other berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries also are good for your skin.
Oranges are very beneficial for your skin. This citrus fruit is extremely high in vitamin C, which is required for producing, maintaining, and repairing skin cells. This particular vitamin also helps improve the texture and color of your skin as well as prevent the various signs of early aging.
Plus, the B complex vitamins, including B1 and folate, present in oranges improve blood flow. This means more oxygen and nutrients reach the skin, which is required to maintain a healthy tone.
- You can eat oranges as a snack, include some in a mixed fruit salad, or drink orange juice.
10. Dark Chocolate
It is true that dark chocolate is good for your skin. The flavonoids present in dark chocolate protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, one of the biggest causes of unhealthy skin. It also helps increase blood flow to the skin and improve the skin’s hydration and complexion.
Plus, the cocoa extract present in dark chocolate is a rich source of magnesium, copper, potassium, and iron and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that aid in the maintenance of skin health.
- As dark chocolate contains a lot of calories, eat no more than 3 ounces daily. You can also add dark chocolate to your smoothies or homemade cakes and muffins.
To keep your skin healthy and young for years, be sure to incorporate these foods in your diet. Also, maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical exercise, drinking ample amounts of water, sleeping for 6 to 8 hours daily, reducing stress, and laughing more. These will slow down the aging process and help you maintain a healthy and glowing skin.
- The importance of sun protection cannot be stressed enough. Before stepping out, slather a layer of premium-quality sunscreen on the exposed areas of your skin to keep it safe from the sun. This rule applies to all seasons, even if it is particularly cloudy outside.
- Minimize the use of chemical-laden products that can be too harsh for your skin to handle and compromise its integrity in the long run. Try to use natural and organic personal care products instead.
- Water allows your body to flush out chemicals, toxins, and excess salts that contribute to skin damage. Thus, it is essential to maintain adequate water intake throughout the day to hydrate your skin from within and keep it from getting parched.
- Giving your skin a nice and gentle scrub two to three times every week can help remove the top layer of dead skin cells that may clog your pores, leading to acne breakouts, blackheads, and whiteheads. Exfoliating your skin also helps against tanning and discoloration and is known to impart a more even and glowing complexion.
- Supplement your skin’s hydration needs externally by applying a good-quality moisturizer, especially after taking a bath. A moisturizer full of hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid can help delay the onset of skin aging and is especially imperative for people with naturally dry skin.
- Try not to spend too much time in a hot bath or shower as it can end up depleting your skin’s natural oils and lipids, leaving it rather dry and flaky.
- Quit smoking and keep your alcohol intake within limits to preserve cellular health and delay the signs of premature aging.
- Getting quality sleep every night will do your skin a world of good, given that it does most of its express regeneration during that period.
- Manage your stress levels.
- A bit of regular exercise can help stimulate blood flow in the body and keep your lymphatic system working at its optimum best.
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