The Role of the Diet in Skin Health

A quick google search of “diet and skin” yields a casual 403,000,000 results. Simple enough to read through, right? In reality, what you eat has less of an impact on your skin than many of us have been led to believe. On the flip side, the skin is the largest organ in the human body and is certainly impacted by your overall health habits including diet, exercise, sleep patterns and much more. The truth lies somewhere in the middle as it so often does. The good news is that for those dealing with common skin conditions such as dry skin, acne, and more, it is unlikely that you will need to change your diet to see improvements when simpler actions like once-daily moisturization are more effective.  

With this in mind, today we will review the links between diet and skin health by examining holistic health’s impact on the skin, discuss some food choices for strong, healthy skin, and answers a few frequently asked questions about the role of diet and skin health.

Holistic Health and Skin Health

Holistic Health and Skin Health

Holistic health might sound like new age nonsense, but it is actually a very simple concept that has been used in medicine for 10’s of thousands of years around the globe. “Holistic” refers to the concept that a person’s health is tied into the entire body, mind, spirit, and emotional wellbeing. When we talk about holistic medicine from a modern perspective, this can also mean taking a proactive, generalized approach to health rather than simply treating acute conditions once they arise.

Holistic health for skin could include anything from eating a healthy diet to getting 45 minutes of daily exercise, to sleeping for 8 hours a night. It certainly doesn’t need to contain anything like healing crystals, essential oils, or burning sage. There is some evidence that holistic methods can improve skin health.

Foods to Eat for Strong, Healthy Skin

Foods to Eat for Strong, Healthy Skin

So what foods can you eat to keep your skin healthy? While a balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods should be the priority, here are a few specific foods to keep in your kitchen:

  • Fatty fish with omega-3 fatty acids: you have probably heard about the healing properties of omega-3. Natural fish oil can keep skin moisturized, youthful, and strong. 
  • Walnuts and other fatty nuts: if you are beginning to see a trend, it isn’t a mistake. Common skincare myths might lead you to believe that fatty foods cause bad skin. This simply isn’t true. Walnuts are packed with nutrients including omega-3 and omega-6 to promote healthy skin.
  • Sweet potatoes: if you are meat and potatoes kind of guy, there are many reasons to consider switching to the sweet variety. Not only are sweet potatoes great for athletes and for overall health, but their nutrient dense makeup can help convert to Vitamin A for you skin — an essential component in overall health.
  • Many more: soy beans, tomatoes, carrots, avocados, sunflower seeds, broccoli, and even red wine have evidence of aiding skin health. The primary takeaways here are to eat your fruits and vegetables and don’t be afraid of healthy fats. 

Diet and Skin Health FAQS

Does Greasy Food Cause Acne?

Does Greasy Food Cause Acne?

While there is a connection between diet and skin, there is no direct link between greasy or fatty foods and the development of acne. This common myth is likely due to the fact that skin can feel oily with acne symptoms. The only way greasy food could directly cause or worsen acne is if the individual touches their face or skin with greasy hands.

Are Some Foods Bad for my Skin?

Surprisingly, many common foods may actually be detrimental to your overall skin health. Diets high in simple carbohydrates, simple sugars, refined sugars, or unhealthy fat may actually speed up the skin aging process. The good news here is that most of us should be avoiding these foods regardless. Finding healthy alternative is certainly doable.

Can my Diet Cause Dry Skin?

Not directly, no. But in the same way a healthy diet can help your skin stay moisturized and strong, so too can a poor diet lead to dry skin. It is more important to follow a general healthy diet protocol and follow that up with daily moisturization habits to keep your skin strong, healthy, and hydrated.

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