10 Skin Nourishing Foods (+ Brand Recs)
I truly believe that beauty comes from the inside out. That being said, those pesky pimples that come out of nowhere and won’t clear up can really put a damper on your day…and your confidence. Have you tried every face wash, lotion, and pimple cream under the sun to clear up your skin? If you’re anything like me, your skin issues are worse now than they were back in your teenage years!
In my 20’s, I went through countless ups and downs when it came to my skin health. I had been blessed as a teen and into my early 20’s with the occasional pimple and nothing more. When I went vegetarian and started eating soy foods galore, I developed a skin condition my dermatologist at the time termed “perioral dermatitis.” It was a direct result of the processed soy I was eating, and manifested as small red hormone-related pimples all over my nose and chin.
Before I knew any better, my dermatologist put me on antibiotics and a very expensive face cream. REALLY. Antibiotics for my skin?! You can’t be serious. I took them because I didn’t know any better at the time.
The bumps would go away in the short term, and rear their ugly red heads the second I would stop the antibiotic. I knew there had to be a better answer! While going back to school for nutrition, I realized soy could be the culprit. So I took it out of my diet, and days later, my skin was back to its glorious, glowing self.
Unfortunately, the saga doesn’t end there. Around the age of 27, a new form of adult acne began to appear on my forehead and chin. My skin had taken on a completely new texture, and I now have combination skin (oily T-zone).
I didn’t understand. I eat clean, exercise, try not to stress a ton, and at the time was falling in love with my now husband. Life was good, so what was the deal?!
Enter: hormones. These guys play a key role in how your body properly functions, while also greatly impacting the health of your skin.
I started to realize that I was way more stressed than I originally thought (hello, high cortisol). Because I was in a new relationship and we were eating out a lot through our courting period, I was ingesting far more sugar and non-organic foods than I had previously. Sugar is not sexy and can cause serious breakouts, all while dampening your immune system and messing with your blood sugar.
After years of dealing with hormonal skin concerns, I decided to see a holistic dermatologist. Even I can’t cure myself ALL the time. It’s important to always seek out the experts in their respective field!
Sure enough, he told me I had a yeast problem going on (I’m thinking it was definitely candida-related) that needed to be taken care of if I wanted to work towards my glowing skin once again.
Here’s what I did to get my skin + health back on track:
- Cleaned up my diet and made cooking together a priority in my new relationship so we could be happy and healthy together! And Ryan totally appreciated it.
- Made sure to practice more yoga and go on long walks in nature to manage my stress levels
- Updated my beauty products to include mainly organic or healthy skin care products
Within a matter of weeks, my skin was back on track and I could see the improved glow. Further proof that you can use food (and a healthy lifestyle) as medicine!
What you see on your face is telling you a story of what’s going on internally. Acne, rashes, pimples, and bags under the eyes are all signs of a dysfunction within the body. As an example, if you’re not getting proper nourishment through your food intake, you risk thinning your collagen layers, which will ultimately lead to saggy and wrinkled skin (yikes).
Some other signs of dysfunction:
- Pimples on the nose are an attempt to eliminate excess. If they are yellow or white in color, the body is eliminating excess dairy foods. If red, the body is discharging excessive amounts of simple sugars and sweets.
- Oily t-zones, little lines between the brows, dark circles under the eyes can be a result of accumulated, hardened fat and cholesterol from throughout the body.
So, dear beauty-maven, pay attention to the foods you are eating so you can achieve glowing skin for decades to come!
Here’s my top ten skin-nourishing foods:
- Avocados. These lovely fruits are anti-wrinkle and anti-pimple powerhouses with the highest content of vitamin E. Eat them in shakes, salads, or guacamole.
- Green tea. Skin’s best friend! This ancient tea protects skin from inflammation associated with exposure to UV rays and helps prevent skin cancer.
- Sweet potatoes. One of the greatest sources of beta-carotene, right next to carrots! When beta-carotene is digested, it converts to Vitamin A, which plays a major role in promoting healthy skin and warding off wrinkle causing oxidative stress.
- Blueberries. They are high in vitamin C, which promotes natural collagen synthesis. When in season, buy them fresh (July/August), and outside of season, buy them frozen and drink in smoothies.
- Goji berries. Super power antioxidant fruits! These little berries have 500 times more Vitamin C per ounce than oranges. Mix them up in a trail mix with almonds and cocoa nibs or use as a topping to salads and breakfast bowls.
- Flaxseeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to beautiful skin, and flax seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fats (fish oil is the best overall). Buy them already ground because they’re difficult to digest on their own. Sprinkle on oatmeal, in yogurt, or in smoothies.
- Tomatoes. A vegetable that’s high in collagen-building Vitamin C and the phytochemical lycopene. Eat them in salads, in sauces, and of course in salsa!
- Walnuts. These are another great source of essential fatty acids and are super versatile. Add some to your oatmeal, use them as a base for a trail mix, or grind them in a food processor to make your own homemade walnut butter for toast.
- Medicinal mushrooms. They have been used in healing for centuries as a part of Chinese medicine. They have many anti-aging, skin-rejuvenating properties and are also great for your immune system! Look for shiitake, reishi, or maitake mushrooms.
- EVOO. Extra virgin olive oil is a girl’s best friend! The monounsaturated fats in this oil keep skin cells in amazing shape. Put on salads and use for low-heat cooking. NEVER cook with it, as it goes rancid when heated. Check out my fave fats for high heat cooking here.
And now, on to my favorite beauty products:
Shampoo/Conditioner: This one is always tough, but I truly love Giovanni, Pureology, and Alterna (my favorite!)
Face Soap/Lotion: Avalon Organics, Eminence, Hydropeptide, and Dr. Hauschka
Toothpaste: Jason’s, Kiss My Face
Body Soap: Jason’s Organics, Acure, and Burt’s Bees
Body Lotion: Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, or Burt’s Bees
Sunscreen: Coola all the way!
Deodorant: This one took me the longest to change (no one wants to be the stinky kid in class), but if you want to stay away from the risks of aluminum that are found in most deodorants, it’s time to switch! Our lymph nodes need to breath and sweat to release toxins, and normal deodorants don’t allow them to do so and are associated with higher cancer risk. My favorite natural deodorant brands are Crystal Essence and Soapwalla.
Also, there’s an amazing site called Skin Deep by the Environmental Working Group where you can research your current beauty products and discover their potential harm. The lower the ranking, the better.
Phew! Now you have all of the resources you need to eat your way to glowing skin! It doesn’t hurt to have the right beauty products on hand, too :)
I’ve shared my story, now share yours with me! Do you find that you suffer from some form of adult acne? What do you believe is causing it? Have you cleared up your skin through diet? Tell me, tell me!