Try to get glowing skin with only skincare and it’s like trying to run a marathon bare-foot. Yikes ‘eh. Not just nipple rub. Foot rub too. No thank you. If you believe skincare is the #1 way to glowing skin – you my friend are not alone. In fact you are in the majority. Using skincare to get glowing skin makes 1000% sense.
You put cream on like a plaster. You see where your skin is acne prone, dry, flaky or dull looking – and you put something on top which helps.
Acne prone skin gets salicylic acid.
Dry skin gets some essential fatty acids.
Flaky skin gets a glycolic acid exfoliating lotion.
Dullness causes you to hit all of the above – hard.
You see a change in your skin and you put something on top of that change. Exactly like when you have a cut, bruise, graze or burn. You see a problem and you put something on top of that problem to fix it.
Thing is – a cut, bruise, graze of burn is almost always caused by an outside-in event.
But a skin thing like acne, dryness, flaking or even dull looking skin – well a lot of the time these have a root cause from the inside-out. Skincare can help cover-up your trigger but until you confront your trigger head on – your skin will always go back to being prone to X, Y or Z.
…and when it comes to inside-out – finding foods good for skin is of humongous importance. Foods good for skin even change hormone balance – so if you think it’s hormonal acne you’ve got – let me tell you my friend – there are lots of things you can do to take back control. You’ve got this.
Right. Are you ready? By the end of this blog post we’re going to have you knowing;
- What good for skin foods look like
- How to find foods which are good for skin
- What sneaky not-healthy-for-your-skin food traps look like (!)
Let’s power walk this… with trainers;
Foods Good For Skin Are Anti-Inflammatory
Some food can make you puff up like a puckering air mattress. You want to find the kind that sucks you down. OK – you’ve got me – this is extreme exaggeration. But the principle is true. Foods good for skin will not add to your skin’s inflammatory load.
Pretty much any kind of unhappy skin has too much inflammation.
If you find your skin generally dull looking, likelihood is your skin’s having to divert vital energy to fighting something inflammatory.
Psst! This is the complete concept behind newly recognised inflammageing. Skin ageing caused by unseeable to your naked eye – yet consistently there – inflammation.
Some skin conditions are even dictionary defined as inflammatory.
Take for example acne – it’s a chronic inflammatory skin disease.
Sensitive skin is reactivity inflammatory.
Psoriasis is inflammatory.
Rosacea is inflammatory.
Redness in your skin is inflammatory.
In some cases inflammation is good. Inflammation is your skin’s healing system kicking in.
Fact: When your skin’s immune function is active it does good and bad stuff. This is A-OK when you have a cut/graze/infection – because the “bad” stuff kills off invading bacteria. So in this situation it’s not really bad-bad. But when you don’t have any invading bacteria – your skin’s just killing off stuff for the sake of it. Yikes.
Psst – eating foods good for skin which are anti-inflammatory, plus avoiding ones which are actively inflammatory (!) helps reduce your skin’s inflammatory load. Which means your skin can turn from fighting to healing. Redness can go down. Acne can look less angry. Sensitive skin can calm.
Anti-inflammatory foods which are good for skin. Here’s a quick few my friend;
- Turmeric – it contains an ingredient known as curcumin which is studied to be potently anti-inflammatory. Pro-tip: curcumin free turmeric also shows anti-inflammatory benefits – and because of the entourage effect which explains why a ‘whole’ natural ingredient can have better skin benefits than an isolated ingredient of a natural – I’d recommend cooking with turmeric rather than taking a curcumin supplement.
- Ginger – the fresh stuff is even better – studies show it as a broad spectrum anti-inflammatory i.e. it can be good for combating inflammation caused by lots of things.
- Omega 3 rich fish like salmon – (ref) and be sure to keep reading because the balance of fats your eating could override the benefits of omega 3 – more about this soon.
Foods Good For Skin Have Good Fibre Balance
Fibre is a type of food which takes your body a lot longer to digest. Some fibres can even be so resistant to digestion they survive in-tact to your intestines. Think of them like a Shellac gel manicure. These guys do fabulous things – including being linked to weight loss – crazy ‘eh, but for your skin, these 2 are key;
- Helps steady and reduce blood glucose levels
- Changes your gut microflora
Your blood glucose levels are your body’s energy pack. Too low and you get sleepy. Too high and you get hyper. When your blood glucose levels go high – a bucket load of insulin and partnering hormones like insulin-like-growth-factor (IGF-1) swim out from your cells. A little of these guys is helpful but a lot of these guys can cause inflammation.
Psst! IGF-1 is especially linked with oily skin, large pore size and acne.
If you have a copy of Your 2 Week Clear Skin Diet Plan – you’re already eating some fantastically good for skin, high fibre foods right now. Go you.
Secondly, high fibre foods are pretty darn awesome for your skin because they help regulate and change your gut’s microflora aka it’s bacterial colonies. Sometimes your gut can be like a rave, sometimes it can be like a yoga retreat. The right kinds of fibre help your gut be a cool-calm-cucumber.
Foods Good For Skin Have the Right Fat Balance
Imagine eating a superfood salad for lunch and having McDonald’s for dessert. Or going to the gym for 20 minutes then bingeing on an 8 hour Netflix box-set. Or using moisturiser on your hands – to wash them 5 minutes later.
Eating foods which are good for your skin is just as important as not eating foods which are bad for your skin.
But it’s not always this simple.
Because some foods are only healthy when you eat less of them than other stuff. You need them – but you don’t need a lot.
Balance my friend – it’s like a see-saw.
Fat balance is huge.
Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory.
Omega 6 fats can be pro-inflammatory.
Back in the day we used to eat about a 1:1 balance.
Nowadays it’s anything from 1:10 to 1:25. Some papers even quote it to be as high as 1:50. Wowzer.
If you’re eating significantly more omega 6 than omega 3 you could be actively drowning out precious anti-inflammatory benefits.
What to do? Eat a nice amount of omega 3 rich foods like salmon. Limit your omega 6 foods like cookies, crisps, cereals, poultry. I’ve already done this for you in Your 2 Week Clear Skin Diet Plan – pow to that.
Foods Good For Skin Have Slow Sugar Release
This is step 2 of sugar is bad for your skin. This is the sneaky sugar. Sugar which doesn’t look like sugar but is sugar. Sugar which comes dressed up as a fruit. Sugar which comes disguised as a salad sauce. Sugar which comes hidden in a health juice.
Sugar is everywhere. Which is kinda good because sugar helps powers us. We need sugar. Sugar gives us energy.
…and you can have this energy as an explosion of hyper or a beautifully controlled trickle of feel good.
The first can be fun but it can also be stressful. What happens if you’re in a yoga retreat when a sugar explosion hits? What happens if you’re at the end of your bare-foot marathon – when all your feet want to do is stop – but all your head’s telling you to do is run about like a toddler?
Fast release sugar energy has your body scrambling.
Big hits of insulin are activated. Partnering IGF-1 cascades in. Inflammation causing hormones get involved.
Foods good for skin have sugar but have it as slow release sugar.
Hint: Fibre content has a lot to do with this.
It’s why brown rice is a heck load healthier for you than white rice. More fibre. Slower sugar release. Yes please. Gimme some.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 18 February 2019
Fruits can also be a tripping point. Some fruits have a crazy quick sugar release – fruits like raisins and dates – meaning yes those healthy, raw plant bars might not be such good for your skin foods after all. Other fruits like grapefruit or blueberries – well they’re packed full of antioxidants plus they’re slow release sugar. Yum and yum.
Flick to the Yes, No and Sometimes fruits list in your 2 Week Clear Skin Diet plan to get a complete and quick overview of healthy for your skin fruits.
Foods Good For Skin Come Packed With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are good skin superstars. Think how quickly a cut apple goes brown. Now put that cut apple into a bowl of water with some antioxidant vitamin C – you have fresh apple for longer. Hooray. This is how supermarkets can sell cut apple wedges which aren’t brown (!)
Your skin uses the same theory to stay youthful, healthy and bright. Antioxidants… and lots of them.
Antioxidants help stop your skin ageing. They help stop you getting sun spots. Prevent redness. Halt fine lines. Improve glow. Boost your skin’s resilience. Increase smoothness.
In one word antioxidants are Incredible for your skin.
But if you think about a traditional western diet. Antioxidants are like the courtesy side salad that comes along with Indian takeout – an afterthought you don’t eat.
There’s 1 quick way to tell if a food is good for skin and therefore has a powerhouse of antioxidant to share with you – is it naturally bright and colourful?
Normal western dinner: Roasted potato with meat, gravy, stuffing and maybe complimentary peas and carrots.
See how the colourful stuff is a side helping?
Normal western dinner: BBQ ribs with French fries and sauce.
See how you have meat and carbs but little in the way of powerhouse antioxidants?
Normal western dinner: Macaroni cheese… maybe with a few peas chucked in.
See how it’s very carby but antioxidant low?
Foods good for skin should be the majority of what’s on your plate. It’s the only way they can over take the bla foods. Truth.
What to do? Eat lots of naturally colourful foods. Make them the centre of your attention.
Psst! Don’t worry this doesn’t mean eating broccoli and carrots for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also doesn’t mean your food tastes bland and yucky. It can – but it doesn’t have to – trick is in finding the right recipes. Flick to the 49 yum breakfasts, delicious lunchtimes and amazing dinners in Your 2 Week Clear Skin diet plan to start proving to yourself foods good for skin can be foods yum for you. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
Which good for skin foods are you eating? Have eating for glowing skin questions? Want to know more? Come chat to me in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who is more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She is founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.