“You are what you eat” a phrase we have all heard before but how true is this statement?
My life’s mission is to help anyone and everyone who will listen that what you put into your mouth will eventually become you. I will scream it from the rooftop if I have to! I don’t mean in the literal sense, if you were to eat a spring roll you are not going to wake up one tomorrow (Thank goodness or I’d be a block of chocolate on more occasions than I’d like to admit). What I’m getting at is our bodies contain similar nutrients to what the food we eat contains, this makes it very important to eat a variety of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, macro and micronutrients to keep our bodies in working order.
Confused yet? I get it, believe me, I am currently studying a degree that majors in exactly that and I still get confused as to what should and shouldn’t be consumed.
In the aesthetic world great skin is something we all want to achieve. Some people just seem to naturally achieve this with little to no effort and others pay thousands and are still unsatisfied by the appearance of her skin. What if I told you that what you eat can affect your skin? There are plenty of exciting studies emerging with evidence of just this. To keep it simple I am going to explain 5 nutrients you can easily add into your diet to help maintain the skin’s integrity.
Flavonoid rich foods have been shown to protect the skin from UV induced damage on a molecular and cellular level. I am not saying ditch the suncream and just eat berries! However, combining these foods with correct SPF will help to reduce the photodamage that UV can cause to the skin. This is particularly beneficial in Australia as the sun is the #1 course of premature ageing. Flavonoids also fight off free radical damage which throws off the balance of the atoms in the skin which courses premature ageing. Flavonoids are widespread plant constituents and can be found in food sources such as berries, soy, green tea, cocoa (hello dark chocolate), cherries, peaches and tomatoes. Including these in the diet will help to repair and retain the skin’s structure and function.
Several reports indicated that Vitamin C levels are lower in aged or photodamaged skin. Based on what is known Vitamin C assists in collagen formation (promotes collagen gene expression) and antioxidant formation on the skin. It works to neutralize oxidants on the skin, these are from environmental pollution and exposure to UV light. This is particularly important in the epidermal layer of the skin, where vitamin C is most concentrated. This can help with normal skin ageing, exposure to elements as well as skin wound healing (as this also requires collagen to heal). One study using general food consumption showed improved measures of skin elasticity, roughness, wrinkles and colour. Some vitamin C can be delivered through topical application however efficacy depends on the formulation of the product being used (Universe skin has you covered with its amazing formulation). Most studies show a high consumption of fruit and vegetables in the diet aids in higher consumption of Vitamin C. Top foods to include guava, kiwifruit, capsicum, strawberries, broccoli, tomato, kale and of course citrus fruit (store bought orange juice does not count).
Has been shown to help to improve inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. It helps with gene expression, cellular metabolism and signal transduction of the cells. Exciting placebo trials have found many different benefits for inflammatory and autoimmune disease, it has even been linked to improving the susceptibility to alzheimers. In terms of ageing to the skin and cells this is a key PUFA needed, these can be found in wild caught salmon, Mackerel, flax seeds, cod liver oil. It is very hard to find wild caught fish in our society as well as omega 3 being very unstable in nuts and seeds. I personally take a supplement for this however, I recommended chatting to a health care professional prior to starting any kind of supplementation.
Zinc and Copper
These are both essential for proliferation and differentiation of the skin’s epidermal keratinocytes. The skin copper is also linked to extracellular matrix formation, synthesis and stabilization (hello collagen). Clinical studies show improvement in elasticity, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and promotion of wound healing. With that being said if ageing is a concern (as it is for me) then the following foods should be added into your day to day diet. Oysters, nuts, seeds, organ meat, dark chocolate, shellfish and avocado to name a few (you had me at avocado!).
I realise this is not a food however I couldn’t write a skin article without mentioning it. Lack of water in the body can cause tissue dehydration and functional disorders (ageing and inflammation). Drinking more than 2 litres per day has been shown to drastically improve skin’s physiology and promotes the hydration of the superficial and dermal layers. As a skin therapist the effects of not enough water intake are very obvious and so easily avoided. Remember with exercise and airconditioning you will require for water. How much water are you consuming?
Combining a healthy lifestyle with in clinic treatments and products will assist in optimal results and better skin health. I have always liked the analogy. “ If you go to the gym and eat bad food you will get a result but will it be as amazing?” Same goes for your skin! Your diet and lifestyle play a huge role in how our skin looks and ultimately ages.
Who is Dr Scott Allison?
Dr. Scott Allison is an expert Cosmetic Physician and international trainer in cosmetic injectables who is based in Brisbane. With extensive experience in dermal fillers, cosmetic injectables, and non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures like pearl laser fusion, Dr. Scott can tailor a treatment to suit your individual needs. Book in for a free consultation here or call 1300 165 374.
About Renee Gunner
Renee Gunner is an experienced dermal therapist currently completing her Bachelor of Health Science in Clinical Nutrition. She has a special interest in the skin-gut axis and how nutrition can impact on skin health. She performs Dr. Scott’s laser treatments, chemical peels, body contouring treatments and prescription skincare regimens.