When you think of skin care, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you’re like most people, the words skin care conjure images of tubes and jars and bottles – creams, lotions, and potions that promise to help our skin look its best.
What we put on our skin is, of course, important. Advances in skin care products and ingredients have given us the ability to moisturize our skin, prevent and/or diminish fine lines and wrinkles, clear blemishes, and even lighten dark spots. And the importance of applying sunscreen to our skin to prevent sun damage can’t be overstated.
What’s inside counts
Any discussion about the best way to take care of our skin should touch on the importance of what we put in our bodies, and how what we eat and drink can affect the overall health and appearance of our skin.
We all know how important it is to keep our skin hydrated, and the best way to do that is to drink plenty of water. Limiting caffeine, carbonated beverages and alcohol can also help keep skin hydrated. And drinking water has an added skin care benefit: keeping your body hydrated helps improve circulation. And better circulation leads to healthier-looking skin.
Nourish the inside to look better on the outside
We all know we should eat healthy foods. We want to be at a healthy weight, avoid sickness and disease, and have energy to do the things we love. So it should be no surprise that eating healthy and getting the proper nourishment is as important for our skin as well.
It’s best to incorporate a variety of foods into your diet to get optimum nutrition, but there are some “key” nutrients that are particularly good for your skin.
- Omega 3’s (an essential fatty acid) are particularly important for healthy skin. Omega 3’s have been shown to mitigate fine lines and wrinkles, dry skin, sagging, and acne. Sardines, salmon, walnuts and flaxseed are all excellent sources of Omega 3.
- Niacin (vitamin B3) is an anti-inflammatory that soothes irritated skin and reduces redness. Avocados, meat, poultry, and leafy green vegetables are all good sources of niacin.
- Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants are important to skin health (and overall health) because they fight the free radicals that can damage cells in the body. Vitamin A has “healing” benefits that can help keep wrinkles and other skin-aging symptoms at bay. Good sources of Vitamin A include eggs, milk, leafy greens, carrots, and pumpkin.
- Vitamin E is another antioxidant, found in peanuts, almonds, olives, and leafy greens. Again, anti-oxidants fight the free radicals that are one of the main causes of premature skin aging.
- Vitamin C is found in most fruits, and helps to stimulate collagen production in the skin. It’s also an anti-oxidant. Vitamin C can also be found in vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts.
There are many other vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are beneficial for healthy skin. Choose a diet rich in fresh, whole foods, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, and make sure to stay away from over-processed foods. Your skin will reflect your healthy choices.