Eating Trends and Your Skin

We all want good skin but sometimes rigorously following a skin care routine of cleansing, using sunscreen daily and exfoliating isn’t enough if we ignore the lifestyle part of the solution and how eating trends affect the skin.

The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” certainly applies to our skin as well. Regardless of how well we take care of our skin from the outside in, neglecting the inside and how it reflects on our overall well being won’t allow us to achieve our skincare goals. What makes it even more complicated now are the innumerable eating options that keep trending. Some of the more popular ones now include:

  1. Raw Food Diet: Made up of mainly fresh uncooked fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains, the raw food diet promotes eating foods in their most natural, unprocessed state. Raw food proponents believe that important enzymes in uncooked food allow for easier digestion and a lower acidity level in our body (high acidity lowers our immune system). For the skin, a raw food diet reduces the intake of sugars and dairy, both of which can contribute to acne, puffy eyes, fine lines and wrinkles. Increasing our intake of good fat, like the ones found in walnuts and avocadoes, can help to keep the top layer of our skin strong and intact.
  2. Paleo Diet: Commonly referred to as the “caveman diet”, following the Paleo way of eating consists of consuming fruit, vegetables and meat while avoiding grains, legumes, dairy products, processed foods and refined sugars. Loren Cordain, the founder of the Paleo diet movement, has completed extensive work linking diet and acne and presenting the Paleo method of eating as a cure.
  3. Whole Food Diet: Choosing foods that contain a single ingredient and eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible are the goals of this diet. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds all qualify as whole foods as long as they are unprocessed. Many of the convenient but processed foods that we have available to us are high in fat, sugar and salt while providing questionable nutritional value. The body works hard to rid itself of ingested toxins, so it should be no surprise that those efforts can show up as blemishes, puffiness and wrinkles on the skin.

Before we get hung up on whether or not we are vegetarians, vegans or flexitarians, know that our food choices have a definite impact on the appearance and health of our skin. Regardless of the eating trend we follow, all of them focus on plant-based foods while eschewing as much of the processed stuff as possible. Just like a skin care regimen tailored to your specific needs, you don’t have to stick to just one eating trend. Choose what makes sense for you and just start. Baby steps.