The Best Foods for Your Skin (and the Worst!)
Hard truth: The most perfect skincare routine in the world can’t make up for a crappy diet. But eating the best foods for your skin can actually make your skincare routine more effective!
I know you’ve heard this before (especially if you’ve been reading The Portland Girl blog before now), but what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your skin if you want a beautiful, glowing complexion.
The foods you eat affect not only how you feel, but how you look as well. Your diet can mean the difference between healthy, gorgeous skin that doesn’t take a lot of work to maintain and troubled skin that keeps breaking out or drying out no matter what else you try.
So let’s talk about some of the best foods for your skin that you’ll definitely want to include in your diet and the foods that you’ll want to cut back on so you don’t undermine your skincare routine.
The Best Foods for Your Skin
This delicious fruit is full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which help your body build and maintain healthy skin cells. Avocados are also rich in vitamins, some of which are powerful antioxidants that protect your skin from free radical damage caused by environmental toxins and processed food. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage your cells and speed up the aging process, so antioxidants are a girl’s best friend! Other plant foods that contain healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil carry similar benefits.
This is another great source of fatty acids to support healthy cells and reduce inflammation. This can calm and prevent breakouts, rashes, redness, and extreme dryness and promote healthy, smooth skin that doesn’t go overboard with oil production. As an added bonus, the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon aid in collagen production which keeps skin supple and prevents signs of aging such as wrinkles and dark circles. (Other oily fish like tuna, herring, and sardines are a great choice too!)
One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy is to keep it hydrated, and cucumbers are packed with water, along with vitamins and minerals. When your skin is consistently well-hydrated, you’ll notice less puffiness and swelling (especially around your eyes), more regulated oil production, and fewer fine lines. Other water-rich fruits and veggies like watermelon, tomatoes, and citrus fruits also pack a hydration punch while supplying antioxidants to fight off those pesky free radicals I mentioned earlier.
We’ve been talking about antioxidants a bit and their importance in slowing the aging process, and berries may be the best source of all, and one of the all-time best foods for your skin! These antioxidants give berries their deep color, so make sure to eat some regularly on your yogurt, in salads, or in a smoothie.
Carrots are full of beta-carotene, which protects your skin from damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. It’s like eating sunscreen, except it tastes way better! Carrots may also help calm oily skin. So slather on your sunscreen, wear polarized sunglasses and a sun hat, and eat your carrots for the ultimate defense from UV rays.
Green tea is a rich source of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that may help prevent fine lines and regulate oil production. Green tea is also low in caffeine, so it actually hydrates your body and your skin. As if that weren’t enough, green tea is great ON your skin as well, so keep your used tea bags in the fridge to treat under-eye circles and dab on breakouts.
Water, water, water
Have I harped enough on hydration yet? One of THE MOST important things you can do for your skin is to drink plenty of water and each water-rich fruits and veggies.
Try to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, try cutting up fruits and veggies like cucumbers, citrus fruits, berries, pineapple, etc., and putting them in a pitcher of water overnight to make delicious flavored water you’ll actually want to drink. And it’s super pretty too! You can even add fresh herbs like basil, mint, rosemary, and lavender for a floral, herbaceous pop.
The Worst Foods for Your Skin
Before you freak out, I’m not asking you to eliminate any of these foods, but it’s a good idea to cut back on them for many reasons. I mean, you KNOW that overindulging in these foods isn’t a good idea, right? It’s not just a matter of health and weight, but beauty as well.
Sugar has really been in the doghouse lately, hasn’t it?
And for good reason! Sugar wreaks havoc on your body by spiking your blood sugar and causing your body to produce insulin. When this happens too often, you might find yourself gaining weight, breaking out, and developing more wrinkles due to lower collagen production.
So cut back on the sugar and reach for berries and watermelon instead for a smaller sugar hit and some of those sweet, sweet antioxidants!
Oh no, not coffee!
The caffeine in coffee can play a role in dehydrating your skin, but it can also boost your body’s production of stress hormones, which can lead to anything from weight gain to—you guessed it—wrinkles and breakouts.
For the sake of your skin, keep your consumption to one cup per day, or better yet, swap out your daily coffee for green tea a few times every week.
Most fried foods contain saturated fats as well as trans fats (aka damaged fats). These can boost your oil production (leading to breakouts) and create free radicals that can harm your cells and speed up the aging process.
Have you ever felt like you looked good the day after a night of drinking? Yes, me neither.
Alcohol dehydrates your body and your skin in a hurry, which means you’ll see more wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, and possibly acne because dehydrated skin tends to kick into oil production overdrive in order to balance itself. If you want beautiful skin, drink moderately and make sure to balance your cocktails with lots of water and water-rich snacks like celery and carrots.
Okay, this one is a maybe. Some people do really well with dairy, and others find that dairy causes them to break out. If you have unexplained breakouts despite a good diet, regular exercise, and a solid skincare routine, you may want to toy with cutting back on or eliminating dairy to see if that’s the culprit behind your stubborn breakouts.
Your diet plays a massive role in the health of your skin and gives you a good baseline to help your skincare routine to be as effective as possible!
Check out these guides to create the perfect skincare for you, and make sure to come by The Portland Girl sometime for a facial to REALLY treat your skin!