The skin is the body’s largest organ. Good skin starts from within so looking at the diet is a good place to begin if you want healthy-looking skin. The gut and liver are key organs in skin health so in order to have great skin, both these organs need to be functioning well. Here are some general tips to consider:
1) Eat adequate protein. Given that 75-80% of your skin is a protein (mostly collagen) it’s important to give it the building blocks it needs to look fab! So adequate protein here is key. You need to eat 1g of protein per kilo of body weight and make sure you rotate your proteins. Mix it up with animal meats: chicken and fish as well as plant-based proteins: tofu, quinoa or quality protein powders.
2) Make sure you eat healthy fats. Fats such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna) nuts and seeds make up an essential part of the cell walls in the skin cells. Having a continuous supply of good fats ensures that the skin cells stay supple and plump. Try to eat at least 1-2 portions of healthy fats per day.
3) Reduce the amount of caffeine in your diet. Too much caffeine can dehydrate the skin. Caffeine can aggravate the adrenal glands by making them release the stress hormone cortisol. If you are feeling overworked or burnt out cut the caffeine out for two weeks and see if your skin is less dry and you feel more energised! You can swap coffee for herbal teas such as mint tea, lemon or ginger tea.
4) Go dairy-free for two weeks. My clients always notice a huge difference in the appearance of their skin when they cut out dairy in the diet because it can be quite mucous forming. Swap your normal milk for coconut milk, almond milk or soya milk. If you are concerned about calcium levels increase foods such as spinach, kale, sesame seeds and tofu.
5) Eat plenty of fibre. Foods naturally high in fibre such as wholegrain rice, oats, beans, lentils and legumes literally help to bind to excess waste in the body and excrete it. Fibre is useful for constipation too as this can lead to toxic build-up which may affect the condition of the skin. Typically if the skin is congested it largely down to sluggish bowels that need support!
6) Take probiotics. These powerful organisms of friendly bacteria to support the health of the digestive tract and therefore help the condition of the skin. They help to reduce inflammation on the skin and reduce the appearance of redness. You can get these in supplement form. Go for the two strains Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifido Bacterium.
7) Stay hydrated. All cells need water to function and to look plump. It is vital for skin health. Make sure you are drinking a minimum of 1.5 litres per day.
Use natural skincare products where possible. Some chemicals in our skincare products can be very harsh on the skin. Challenge your skincare products and experiment with more natural options. They are more likely to feed the skin with targeted nutrients rather than strip things away.
8) Consider hyaluronic acid sheet masks. These are a game changer! I like to think of hyaluronic acid as the skins secret weapon because when applied topically it tells the fibroblasts in the skin to synthesise collagen. Result!
9) Use tea tree oil to reduce inflammation and redness. If you do have breakouts applying a natural tea tree oil ointment or cream can really help to calm and soothe any redness. For best results apply on clean skin before you go to sleep.