Which Foods Will Make Your Skin Look Better (and Worse)?

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Can foods you ingest really affect the appearance of your skin? The answer is a clear ‘yes.’ Chrissy Capurro, Medical Esthetician with Renown Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, provides tips on foods to avoid and some to eat to maintain that dewy glow.

The past decade has seen a wealth of innovations and medical advancements in skin care in the form of topical, treatment and surgical options — many of them specifically intended to help us look younger as we age. But are there simple ways we can help ourselves by including foods and drinks in our diets to maintain the appearance of healthy skin? Are there substances we should avoid?

We asked these questions of Chrissy Capurro, Medical Esthetician with Renown Plastic Surgery & Laser Center. Below, Chrissy provides her expert insights about a few foods that help and those that can damage your epidermis.


Foods To Eat for Healthier-Looking Skin

Healthy Fats

The appearance of aging in the skin is often a byproduct of inflammation. Omega 3 in salmon, tuna, walnuts, olive oil, flax seed and coconut oil reduce inflammation and the signs of aging.  They protect against and repair damage from UV radiation and environmental stress. 

Good fats are also essential for the health, lubrication and hydration of cell membranes, which influences cellular communication and the cells’ ability to hold water.  Having a healthy barrier between cells means moister, softer, more subtle and wrinkle-free skin. 

Foods High in Vitamin C

Vitamin C, a super antioxidant needed for a strong immune system and radiant skin, is abundant in foods like black currants, blueberries, strawberries, broccoli and sweet potatoes. 

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which give them their brilliant colors.  Eating a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables will provide the necessary protection against cellular oxidation and the production of cancer cells.  A, B, C and E are a safety net, reducing the effects of environmental dangers like ultraviolet radiation, which can damage a skin cell’s membrane. The cell membrane determines how much fluid the skin can retain, how cells communicate, and how effectively waste products are shuffled in and out. Specifically, vitamin A-rich foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots and cantaloupe regulate skin cell turnover by promoting new cell growth, leading to overall healthy function and skin tone.

Water

The common pathway to the appearance of aging and an increase in wrinkles is a loss of cellular hydration.  When cells are not fully hydrated by water and water-rich foods, they cannot function properly.  When the skin is not getting sufficient amounts of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning the skin dry, tight and flaky, and lines and wrinkles become more pronounced.  Water aids in circulation, digestion, absorption and excretion.  Proper water intake will lead to a radiant, healthy, younger looking complexion.


Foods to Avoid for Healthier-Looking Skin

Sugar

sugar spoon

This sweet substance causes a process called glycation in the cells. Gylcation occurs when sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins like collagen and elastin to form harmful new molecules. This is important to note because it is collagen and elastin fibers that keep skin firm and elastic.  Once damaged, the fibers become hard, brittle and dry.  Glycation also transforms type III collagen — the most stable and long lasting type — into type I collagen, which is more fragile.

Alcohol

Alcohol abuse has effects on the skin such as telangiectasia (enlarged blood vessels), burst capillaries, flushing, Rosacea and angiomas.

Alcohol also causes dehydration in the skin, which makes skin appear less plump and fresh.

In extreme cases, when alcohol damages the liver, skin in turn will appear sallow and pasty with large pores. Alcohol breaks down the immune system, and the extra sugar in alcohol causes system inflammation, which contributes to cell damage and skin aging.


Overall, experts advise that what you ingest can have a significant effect on the appearance of your skin. Maintain a colorful, fruit-and-veggie-filled diet, drink lots of water and look for foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants to reduce the signs of aging.

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