Women With Clear Skin Always Eat These 6 Foods — and Avoid These 2
We've gone to great lengths to discuss how what you eat effects your skin. Be it for a supple, glowing, or overall healthy looking palette, you can be sure we've catered our grocery lists to it. And yet, every so often, an acne outbreak still rears its head. Sure, you could reach for one of many superior spot treatments, but the frustration of having to face an unsightly pimple in the first place is . . . well, frustrating.
If you're like us (and we're betting you are), you've studied every acne face map on the web to no avail. Worry not. We tapped Dr. Helen Knaggs, PhD., vice president of research and development at Nu Skin, for answers. "Skin is your body's largest organ. Just like any of your other organs, its health is dependent on what is taken into the body to provide it with the needed nutrients to function properly."
With 20 years of experience in skin care (including a background in skin and hair biology, biochemisty, and pharmacology), we'd all be smart to heed her clear skin advice.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The Foods: Flaxseed Oil, Salmon, Chia Seeds, Soybeans, Spinach
What It Does: "The typical Western diet is high in omega-6 fatty acids from saturated fats and vegetable oils, whereas levels of omega-3 fatty acids (like those primarily found in fish and wild game) have significantly decreased from the historic human diet," Knaggs began when asked what foods and nutrients are best consumed for clearer skin.
"This imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 can lead to increased inflammation [in the body]," he said. Skin conditions including acne, eczema, and rosacea can be caused by inflamtion in the body — especially the gut. "Minimizing inflammation is a key factor in healthy skin," she added. Combat inflammation by including more omega-3s in your diet.
The Foods: Goji Berries, Blueberries, Dark Chocolate, Pecans, Artichoke
What It Does: Antioxidants are the key to detoxification. They prevent acne by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells and collagen. And they protect your skin by blocking external toxins from going deeper than the dermal layer. Have you ever had a better reason to break out a little dark chocolate?
The Foods: Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Dark Leafy Greens, Squash, Apricots
What It Does: Vitamin A is vital to healthy skin cell production and protecting against infection. By consuming foods with vitamin A, you're strengthen the skin barrier and protecting your complexion from irritants that could cause breakouts. On top of that, it combats androgens that cause oily skin.
The Foods: Oranges, Red Peppers, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli
What It Does: Vitamin C is one of the most talked-about vitamins when it comes to skin care. It helps the skin by fighting free radicals, fading redness, and promoting collagen production. This is essential to when it comes to generating new skin and fading acne scars.
The Foods: Almonds, Leafy Greens, Avocado, Broccoli, Olives
What It Does: Another defender against acne scars, vitamin E fades scars and dark spots by encouraging skin repair. This is largely in part of it being a fat-soluble vitamin. This means it protects fat-based tissues (or lipids) from oxidizing.
What It Does: Although not technically a food, Knaggs was sure to mention the importance of keeping hydrated in order to have clear, glowing skin. "Studies have shown that insufficient water [intake] can lead to a drier skin, limiting the vital hydration the skin needs to function optimally and also potentially effecting the delivery of key nutrients," she explained. And while water alone won't cure acne, it will flush harmful toxins and waste from the body more efficiently, contributing to a clearer complexion.
What to Avoid
When asked what foods should be avoided, Knaggs was quick to answer: sugar and alcohol.
"Sugars, including high-glycemic carbohydrates which are quickly converted to sugar, can fuel inflammation." Sure, there's nothing wrong with the occasional treat, but bear in mind that too much sugar will aggravate the two major causes of acne: hormones and, as mentioned, inflammation. "Alcohol in excess can also be detrimental, as it is dehydrating to the body in general."
Interested in what else you should avoid for luminous, breakout-free skin? Right this way.