Does Food Really Affect Your Skin? Yes!

If I knew in my teens what I know now, I would have saved myself so much time, energy, & not to mention money! We’ve all heard the expression “you are what you eat”, and your skin is no exception.

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Simple Fact:  Your skin is your largest organ. It is our protective covering and our first line of defense to fight illness and disease. It is also a passageway to our bloodstream. That being said, what you apply topically on your skin, as well as what you eat, will affect the overall health & appearance of your skin.

I still remember my dermatologist telling my mother and I in his office, that the food I was eating didn't affect the health of my skin. At the time I had horrible acne and ended up taking an entire treatment regimen of Accutane after failing many other forms of acne treatment as a teen. It sux being a teenager with bad skin, as I'm sure many of you can relate to.  I was willing to do whatever I could to improve my skin, including changing my diet, but my doctor assured me there was no need. It was "all just old wives tales", he said. It wasn't until just a few years ago when I stopped eating dairy and committed to a clean eating lifestyle, that my skin truly cleared up. 

So let's debunk the theory that food doesn't affect your skin. Let’s get started from the inside out.

A quote from one of my favorite skin docs:

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“Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage”, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of “Ageless Face, Ageless Mind”.

First off, we need to HYDRATE the skin. That means drinking plenty of water.

You need at least the recommended 6-8 glasses/day. If you are physically active, live in a warm climate, or feel thirsty, you may need to up your daily intake.

Also, as we age, skin tends to become dehydrated a lot more quickly, causing it to wrinkle, so ample hydration is key.

Eat your superfoods!

If it’s good for your health, it’s good for your skin too!

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Some examples:

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, such as herring, sardines, and salmon. Other sources of omega-3s include chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds & walnuts. Omega-3s are known to decrease inflammation and may reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems.

Vitamin C helps produce collagen & prevents cells from damage caused by free radicals. Great sources are oranges, pineapples, tomato, strawberries, & bell peppers. Camu camu & goji berries are highly potent super food sources of vitamin c.

Vitamin E helps limit sun damage & signs of aging. Almonds are a terrific source of Vitamin E.

Vitamin A revitalizes skin by increasing cell production and rebuilds tissue. Eggs and dark leafy greens are good choices. It's better to get your vitamin A from food rather than vitamins. Be aware of the large vitamin A doses in some multivitamins. For the most part, your body doesn't actually use the form of vitamin A found in most vitamins. It still has to be converted into the active form (retinol) that your body uses. 

Beta-Carotene (a form of vitamin A) is needed for growth & repair of tissue. It is found in abundance in orange foods like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

Other fabulous foods to include to boost your skin health:  dark leafy vegetables, avocados, mushrooms, berries, and, surprise, dark chocolate.

 

Did you know that your skin is a “breathable” organ?

Up to 60% of what you apply topically on your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream, and children absorb even more than that!!!!

Imagine that products you've been using for years actually contain harmful ingredients and could damage your health. If so, your first instinct would be to find a healthier alternative, pronto!

Heightened awareness and potential dangers have caused consumers to take a closer look at what they put on their skin and demand safer alternatives.

Many cosmetic companies do NOT list their ingredients, aka toxic chemicals because they are not required to do so.

Several of these toxic chemicals are linked to a host of problems including allergies, skin rashes, cancer, headaches, fertility & reproductive issues, birth defects, hormone inhibitors, and more.

Here are some toxic chemicals that should be avoided:

  • Parabens – often found in deodorants & moisturizers, parabens are hormone inhibitors & believed to accelerate tumor growth
  • Artificial fragrance & color – may trigger allergies, asthma, and some colors contain lead & harmful dyes
  • Toulene – found in nail polish, hair color products, and some fragrances, this chemical is linked to kidney & liver damage, which may affect fetal growth
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate – a foaming agent found in shampoos and body/facial washes, it dries out the skin & is linked to eczema, hair- loss, rashes, and dry and scaly skin.
  • Formaldehyde – used as a preservative, formaldehyde is known by several different names & should be avoided at all costs, as the side effects are numerous
  • PEG’s – found in numerous skin & personal care products, this is anti-freeze and should be used in for your car, not your skin!
  • Paraffin/Mineral Oil/Petrolatum – clogs pores, causing toxic build-up
  • Phthalates – found in plastics, it is a known hormone disruptor
  • Triclosan – used in anti-bacterial products, it is a pesticide, harmful to the environment, and a suspected carcinogenic
  • Sunscreens –Google some of those ingredients and you will see that they cause possible damage to DNA and many are known carcinogens

Of course, there are more, but you get the point. If you wouldn’t EAT it, it doesn’t belong on your SKIN.

You can look up what’s in your skincare by visiting one of my favorite sites:

http://www.ewg.org

I hope this inspires you to make mindful & educated food choices, now knowing that what you put in and on your body will be reflected on your skin.  As always you can find me on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter & Instagram @drlaramay. Check out the links below to sign up for my latest blog notifications or sign up for a free clarity call.  If you are ready to implement change in your life, check out my products page for a variety of self-guided coaching programs, guided meditations, & Reiki sessions. 

Here's to a new you!

Lara