Health & Fitness

Improving your diet can also improve your skin


Revamping our eating habits can make for a healthier body. Did you know that making a few key changes to your diet could help to improve the look and feel of your skin, too?

Here are some ways that adjusting your eating habits can help you achieve a brighter, more even, and healthier-looking complexion:

▪ Sugar contributes to signs of aging. Consuming too much sugar isn’t just bad for our waistlines; it can also contribute to signs of aging on our skin, including lines, wrinkles, and age spots. That’s because sugar triggers a chemical process called glycation within your body. During glycation, sugar molecules bind to and damage proteins like the collagen and elastin that give your skin its firm, youthful-looking structure and elasticity. Therefore, limiting your sugar intake can help to stave off lines and wrinkles from developing on your skin, while also helping you reach your fitness goals.

▪ Vitamin A boosts collagen. Vitamin A is found in many different foods, including carrots, sweet potatoes and kale. This vitamin is a type of retinoid, which encourages collagen production within your skin and turns “good” anti-aging genes on while turning “bad” anti-aging genes off.

Topical retinoids are often used to help increase collagen production and cell turnover, as well as treat acne. However, adding more foods that are rich in vitamin A to your diet could also have similar effects on your skin.

▪ Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are some of the most beneficial skincare ingredients that you can both apply topically and ingest through food sources and supplements to fight free radicals and achieve a brighter, healthier-looking complexion.

Vitamin C is one powerful antioxidant that also helps to nudge your skin cells to produce more collagen. In this way, vitamin C can do double-duty for your skin by eliminating the free radicals that can cause lines, wrinkles, and discoloration and by boosting collagen production for a smoother, more youthful look and feel to your skin.

In addition to using a properly formulated vitamin C serum, choose foods that are rich in vitamin C such as bell peppers, citrus fruits, and berries to give your skin as many antioxidants as possible.

▪ Linoleic acid combats inflammation. Ingredients like argan and safflower oils are rich in linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. If left unchecked, chronic inflammation can lead to signs of skin aging by creating free radicals that scavenge electrons from healthy cells, therefore rendering them unstable.

Inflammation is also the underlying cause of many chronic skin conditions, including eczema and rosacea, so using topical products that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like linoleic acid may help to soothe your symptoms.

As the saying goes, we are what we eat, and that certainly applies to your skin as well. Remember that the nutrients you put into your body can and do affect the way your skin looks and feels, so it is important that you stick to a healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants and other key nutrients to help you get the glowing, youthful, and healthy-looking skin you want.

Dr. Leslie Baumann is a board-certified dermatologist, New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami.