Eating Habits That Affect Your Skin
You are what you eat.
This phrase is not only a saying, but it is also the truth about your body and your skin.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and one of the most important organs to take care of. The skin has many jobs for us, including protecting our bodies from harmful substances and regulating temperature.
The skin can be affected by internal and exterior factors. The internal factors are mainly the lifestyle, the food, and drink that we consume, our genetic background, and hormone changes. However, some of these factors can’t be avoided. The external factors that affect the skin include pollution, sun exposure, harsh weather, etc.
- Consumption of excess sugar
Your body needs glucose, but consuming too much sugar can adversely affect your body and skin. Sugar is found in many foods like yogurt, pasta sauce, breakfast cereals, etc. If you consume too much sugar, it can cause a spike in your blood sugar level, which leads to inflammation and wrinkles. You should aim to eat less sugary foods or foods with added sugar.
- Consumption of excess salt
Excessive salt intake can lead to edema, making a face look swollen and puffy. When there is too much salt intake, the body retains more water than usual, leading to water retention and thus making you look bloated and swollen.
- Dairy products.
You know the old saying: Milk does a body good — and it does help build strong bones — but it can wreak havoc on your skin when consumed in excess. Some people are allergic to dairy products, which can manifest themselves in cystic acne.
- Cigarette smoking.
Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin’s oxygen and nutrients essential to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — can contribute to wrinkles.
- Eating junk food.
Eating a diet high in sugar may contribute to problems such as premature aging, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation (dark patches of skin). All of these factors can lead to wrinkles and a dull complexion. Plus, eating foods high in sugar can lead to weight gain, stretching your skin, causing it to sag and lose elasticity.
- Spending too much time in the sun without adequate protection.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight can accelerate skin aging, causing wrinkles and age spots — freckles that become darker and larger — especially on sun-exposed areas like the face and hands.
While chocolate may be a guilty pleasure, it can harm your skin. This may be due to its caffeine content, which can dehydrate your skin and cause wrinkles and sugar, contributing to acne breakouts. If you must eat chocolate, try opting for dark chocolate with a low fat and sugar content.
- Spicy Foods
Spicy foods contain chemicals called capsaicinoids, which give hot peppers their heat and irritate the sebaceous glands in the skin that produce oil. This irritation causes an increase in oil production, which could worsen acne breakouts and other types of blemishes. Instead of adding more spice to your meals, opt for natural herbs like basil or oregano to enhance flavor without irritating your skin.
Alcohol is another ingredient you may find in some skincare products, but one that you would never want to put on your skin. It has a drying effect and can strip away too much oil from the skin’s surface. And while it may be acceptable in small doses, overdoing it can damage skin cells and collagen. These protein fibers provide the skin with its elasticity. Alcoholic beverages are loaded with sugar and empty calories that can wreak havoc on your diet and cause acne breakouts on your face and body.
Coffee is another beverage that can increase skin inflammation. Like alcohol, caffeine is a diuretic that draws water from your body. Your skin loses moisture and becomes more prone to breakouts and other problems when this happens.
- Oily foods
Pizza, fries, and burgers are just a few greasy foods that can cause acne breakouts. These foods contain high levels of saturated fats and refined sugars that make our tummies unhappy and affect our skin.
- High-sodium foods
If you consume too much salt (which is often hidden in processed foods), it can result in a puffy face and dark circles under your eyes. Be sure to stay hydrated and reduce the amount of salt in your diet slowly.
- Dried fruit.
While dried fruits might seem like healthy alternatives to candy and other sweets, they’re very high in sugar and calories.
- Refined carbs (white bread, white rice, refined cereals)
Refined carbs add fuel to inflammation in the body. They’ve also been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain. Your best bet: Choose whole grains over refined ones.
Opt for whole, quality foods as much as possible, and you are more likely to avoid skin issues like breakouts. Of course, you don’t need to treat your skin as a barometer of health and well-being, but crafting an overall balanced diet is essential here, especially if you are genetically prone to acne.