How Your Diet Affects Your Skin Health

It’s National Nutrition Month and what better time than now to discuss how your diet can affect your skin health!
circular mirror on wall with reflection of exam room

There are so many skin conditions that will be mitigated by a low inflammatory diet. But did you know that a low inflammatory diet can also slow the aging process?

Diets that are rich in antioxidants and low in sugar can help to keep our skin looking younger, as in this article “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging” from the Dermato-Endocrinology Journal. Diets that have a high glycemic index can lead to premature glycation of collagen and other proteins in our skin which can lead to early break down and the formation of wrinkles. Diets that are rich in antioxidants can protect our skin from photo damage, free radicals, and other oxidative stressors in the environment.

Not sure which foods to focus on? Just read this article in Nature “The Edible Skincare Diet” as the author says “Eating well could be better for skin health than applying lotions and potions. But which vitamins and nutrients will yield the healthiest glow?,” read the article for great nutritional advice.

Foods rich in the following vitamins and nutrients were found to be most important: C, E, D, carotenoids, β-carotene, lutein, lycopene and omega fatty acids. A diet that is low in red meats low in dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) and is rich in vegetables, fruits, dark leafy greens, nuts and great sources of omega fatty acids such as wild salmon can provide large amounts of antioxidants, a low glycemic index, and can help to reduce inflammation in the body and skin.

It is very interesting to see the impact of a low inflammatory diet on a chronic condition such as psoriasis rosacea or acne among other many other inflammatory conditions. Clinically, when I see a patient that has changed their diet to a low inflammatory nutrition profile it is often reflected in their skin. I will see improvements in their acne, rosacea, psoriasis. with more consistent and predictable outcomes and fewer flare ups. Diet and nutrition are one of the most important considerations when formulating a comprehensive treatment plan for my patients.

Unfortunately, many of us with medical backgrounds are not taught extensively on the impact of nutrition and diet on medical conditions, so due to lack of education and shortened medical visits this can sometimes be overlooked. Research shows that it is undeniably one of the most important parts of the treatment plan for many skin conditions. A healthy diet will reflect on many different organ systems including your skin.

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