6 tips for amazing skin
Skin health is an area I’m really passionate about.
Skin health is an area I’m really passionate about. In my mid teens and early to mid 20’s I’ve had periods where my skin hasn’t been the picture of health! I’ve had outbreaks on my right cheek, on my t-zone, blackheads, dull skin, dry skin, flaky skin, oily skin…you name it.
When my skin wasn’t at its best, I didn’t feel my best. My confidence went down, I didn’t leave the house without my makeup bag, I wore concealer for 18 hours a day, even to the gym and I had this constant underlying worry and lack of feeling truly comfortable and confident in my skin. As frustrating, and at times, upsetting as it was, it’s meant that fast forward 5 years, I now completely empathise with those who have skin that currently isn’t playing ball.
I know what it’s like.
When it comes to radiant beauty, our body’s internal biochemistry is a key influencer of how you look, feel and experience life and there are so many factors which can have a positive (or negative) impact.
First things first, your skin is a barometer of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from eczema to acne, to signs of accelerated aging, are a reflection of your body’s internal (and external) needs. Many of these needs are nutritional ones.
The skin is your largest organ, not just a layer that keeps your insides on the inside. It is made up of three layers: the epidermis on the outside, the dermis in the middle and the subcutaneous layer underneath that.
Our outer layer of skin is made brand new approximately every 28 days which means we have an incredible ability to alter the way our skin looks, feels and appears in a relatively brief period of time, simply by taking even better care of what we put into our bodies.
This fact is amazing, and when I learnt this it gave me giant hope. When I share this simple truth with my clients who have been experiencing huge frustrations with their skin, I can see the relief in their eyes.
There is hope, especially if you’re someone that feels you have tried ‘everything’.
Trust me, you haven’t.
The cells that end up on the outside of your skin are born at the bottom of the dermis into an arena where nutrients are either present or lacking. The “information” present influences the health and appearance of these cells, so it makes sense that the way you nourish your body has an enormously powerful impact on the health and appearance of your skin. The cells on the inner-most layer begin their migration outwards to the surface and once exposed to oxygen, they die.
Here are some nutrients which are required for healthy skin. The quest for beautiful skin, starts on your plate!
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFA’s)
EFA’s are total saviours in the skin world! They can be found in whole foods and they help to beautifully nourish your skin. If your skin is dry, prone to inflammation (reddening of the skin) and frequently dotted with white heads and black heads, you may be lacking in EFA’s, nutrients that are crucial to the skin’s natural oil barrier.
Good sources: fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon) and nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds).
The fourth most abundant mineral in the body and the mineral of beauty! The health benefits of optimal magnesium intake include great energy (or certainly reduced fatigue), balanced electrolytes – which are essential for hydration and beautiful skin, good protein manufacturing in the body and the maintenance of healthy teeth and strong bones! It’s a mineral that’s used up in those that exercise frequently and are prone to stress!
Good sources: Green leafy veggies, tahini, seeds and nuts.
Zinc contributes to hundreds of processes in the body, plenty of which are reflected on the outside. It is particularly needed for wound healing, whether that’s a cut or the aftermath of a pimple or acne lesion; it helps the skin involved to heal and helps prevent scar formation. Zinc is particularly important if you have acne as acne itself can be a symptom of zinc deficiency. Zinc helps to regulate the production of oil in the skin which may help to prevent acne, and it also helps to balance some of the hormones that can be involved in driving acne.
Good sources: Oysters, red meat and seeds – particularly sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Where do I start with this superstar nutrient? It does SO many things for our health and beauty! The health of your hair depends on vitamin c, as this vitamin supports the blood vessels that feed the hair follicles and is critical for circulation to the scalp.
Vitamin C helps the skin by reducing the damage caused by free radicals which are generated from over-exposure to sun or pollution and internal processes such as increased breathing at times of high stress!! Free radicals gobble up collagen and elastin, the fibres that support skin structure, leading to wrinkles and other signs of premature ageing. Vitamin C is also involved in the production of collagen, not just the prevention of its breakdown so for bouncy looking skin, dose up on vitamin C.
Good sources: Think bright coloured fruit and veg – citrus fruits, red peppers, parsley, kiwis, strawberries and pineapples!
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can penetrate through layers of the skin, assisting the body with the natural wound-healing process. Vitamin E also helps to renew skin cells, making them stronger by reducing oxidative stress. When the body experiences oxidative stress (which happens throughout the day), cells can become weak and your skin may look dull.
Good sources: Nuts, seeds and egg yolks!
GET YOUR DAILY FIX OF WATER
Drink plenty of water: Scientists suggest our body is about 75% water when we are born, before the water content of our body decreases to about 57% during our adult life. To keep our skin plump and youthful, it’s important that we stay hydrated and listen to the signs our body gives us when it needs some extra hydration. I call the second layer of the skin ‘water world’ (also known as the dermis) and supplying it with a clean source of water is critical to the appearance of the skin.
Fruits and vegetables are almost always over 70% water so the more of these we eat, the less we need to consume as fluid! Herbal teas and soups also add up which is great now that Winter is in full flow as a warm mug of soup or a chai tea is exactly what the body wants!
Top 10 skin foods:
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Fresh oily fish
- Kiwi fruit
- Nettle tea
- Green tea
I hope these recommendations are useful.
Let me know which nugget of nutritional information resonated the most or what you are most looking forward to introducing nutrition-wise into your diet?
Until then, smile, be kind to yourself, make some room for ‘you time’ this week amongst the business of everyday life, and I’ll catch you on my next post!