Your skin is an important organ to your body, and just like other organs, what you eat effects it’s health. So if you are unhappy with how our skin looks, one of the first things you need to look at is your diet.
Our skin is a giant protective covering organ with three layers. It is responsible for multiple critical operations and functions in the body. Skin serves as the body’s first line of defense preventing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances from entering the body. Our skin helps regulate body temperature and serves to facilitate communication from the environment through nerve endings. These nerve endings in our skin afford us our sensations of touch, temperature and pain. Skin produces and stores cholecalciferol or vitamin D, in its bottom 2 two layers. This important nutrient facilitates bone integrity, cell growth, cancer prevention and immune functions. In order for skin to excel at its multiple responsibilities it needs to be healthy. Healthy skin is largely a reflective of its composition, thus what we eat and absorb matters.
Skin cells have a rapid cell cycle where production of new cells and replacement of old cells only takes 28 days. Nutrients critical to healthy cell formation and maintenance include macro nutrients such as protein, complex carbo-hydrates, healthy fats: poly and monounsaturated fats, and omega 3 fatty acids and of course water. Adequacy of these nutrients is specific to each individual. Determining one’s requirements and meeting them is the first step to promoting healthy skin. The micro nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants are also big players in the healthy growth and development of all body tissues. This being said the overall health of the digestive track including its absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes is pertinent to great skin. Both of these functions support optimized cell structure, function and flow. So what should we focus on in our diet?
Pro-biotic foods that promote a healthy gut lining and good nutrient absorption include: plain yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Microalgae (spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae), Miso Soup, pickles (very salty, limit for those with high blood pressure), Tempeh, Kimchi (An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut), kimchi ( is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage), and Kombucha Tea. Knowing your personal food tolerances and dietary restrictions based upon your health is important when choosing which of these to consume. Consulting with a dietitian regarding potential side effects is recommended.
Not surprisingly, plenty of vegetables and fruits (naturally rich in anti-oxidants, bio-flavinoids, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water) aid in cell formation and preservation. Vitamin A ( found in salmon, fish oil carrots, spinach, and broccoli) and Zinc ( found in turkey, almonds, Brazil nuts, and wheat germ) supports strong cell growth, vitality and integrity. Antioxidants such as vitamin E (found in sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables ) and vitamin C ( found in oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, Guava, bell peppers of all colors, grapefruit juice, strawberries, pineapple, and tomatoes) protect cell membranes from UV light damage. This of course is a key process, in the preservation of skin cells. Selenium ( found in wheat germ, tuna, salmon, garlic, Brazil nuts, eggs, and brown rice) has antioxidant properties that help protect skin’s elasticity. Selenium protects skin cells from the damage caused by free radicals and reduces the risk of death by squamous cell cancers.
Including a good complement of healthy fats and anti-inflammatory foods supports cell preservation. The omega-3 fatty acids rich foods like wild salmon, sardines, fortified eggs, and walnuts support this end. Serving to keep the outer layer of skin strong and intact, these foods will support keeping external toxins and pollutants stay out.
Adequate hydration is not to be under estimated. Water is the most important nutrient we consume. At 70 percent of our body composition it is critical to digestion and absorption of nutrients, so thus it’s critical to skin health. General recommendations are to drink at least 1/3 to ½ your body weight in ounces daily.
Keep your skin healthy and soft after removing any unwanted hair. To learn about aftercare for your laser treatments go here!