We spend so much time obsessing about what goes on our skin, and how to keep our complexions looking gorgeous with creams, serums, and treatments. But Dr. Harold Lancer, dermatologist to the stars and the creator of the superpopular Lancer skincare line, wants us to be as concerned with what we're putting into our bodies and how that shows up on our faces. With his new book Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method For Radiant Skin hitting bookshelves, Lancer answered a few of our questions, and yes, smiling is actually good for your wrinkles. Read on to find out more.
POPSUGAR: How bad are processed foods for your skin?
Dr. Harold Lancer: Processed foods are usually heavy in refined carbs, artificial sweeteners, as well as traces of chemicals like pesticides and hormones, all of which are terrible for the skin and your general health. Refined carbs are the main culprit, though, causing the body's glucose levels to skyrocket, beginning a process called glycation, which breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin.
PS: Diet fads — do these hurt your skin? Is there a best "fad" diet for your skin (e.g., Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, etc.)?
HL: Starting a diet because it is the new "fad" is never a good idea — you want to make gradual changes to your eating habits so you can stick with them, making permanent, healthy changes to your habits. Making these gradual changes can also help you avoid "weight cycling," essentially diets that are high in lean protein and fresh greens and low in carbohydrates and processed foods are the best for your skin and body.
PS: What is the perfect day of food for your skin?
HL: A perfect day of food would include a lean breakfast — think a green juice, a handful of almonds, and some fresh berries. A lunch with protein and greens, like a salad with grilled salmon, and a dinner that isn't too heavy, but still satisfying — a low-sodium, vegetable-based soup with grilled chicken. If you get hungry between meals, try snacking on whole, fresh foods, like an apple with organic almond butter.
PS: Why do you think sushi is bad for skin? Isn't fish considered great for skin (especially salmon)?
HL: While many types of fish are great for skin due to their high content of omega fatty acids, like salmon, sushi can be detrimental to the skin because it is often preserved with large quantities of salt, and rolls are usually served with large amounts of white rice. Sodium (salt) and high-glycemic rice are skin saboteurs. Both take moisture and circulation away from the epidermis, leading to dull, dry skin that ages more quickly.
PS: What is your stance on dairy's effect on the skin?
HL: Dairy is heavy in two things that negatively impact the skin: sugar and yeast. While small amounts of dairy aren't detrimental (i.e., eating organic, probiotic Greek yogurt once in a while), regular consumption of dairy can lead to increased acne breakouts and dull skin.
PS: Besides food, what are the other most important factors in maintaining great skin?
HL: People laugh when I say this, but happiness is a crucial factor in having radiant skin. Your mental state, self-image, and confidence levels are projected through your skin. Eliminating unnecessary stress from your life and focusing on positive habits (especially physical hobbies like yoga, meditation, and stretching) will show in your visage.
PS: What's one thing we could all do today to look younger?
HL: Drink a green juice and go for a walk outdoors! (Wearing sunscreen, of course). Light exercise, fresh vitamins, and natural vitamin D will boost your mood levels and increase circulation. Maintain this habit, and you'll be looking younger in no time!