There’s no doubt that we have all heard the popular saying that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. While it is true that who you are as a person is more important than how you look, but at the same time, this saying also refers to your self-care, including skincare. When it comes to taking care of your skin, especially the surface of your skin, many people think that they need expensive topical ointments and creams to treat it. However, the fact is that a lot of what you see on the outside of the skin is what is going on inside. The overall health and appearance of the skin are closely related to hormonal fluctuations that are greatly influenced by your diet. So loading up on certain types of foods while eliminating others can have a significant improvement on your skin. The best foods for your skin depend on your skin type. Here’s how to create a diet as per your skin type.
How To Diagnose Your Skin Type?
The first step to creating a diet for your skin type is to figure out your skin type. You can start by not using any products after cleaning your skin. Take note of how it looks and feels for several hours after washing. There are several clues that you will get which can help you determine exactly what type of skin you have.(1, 2, 3)
The main skin types are as follows:
Within these main skin types, there can be several issues, including flaking, dullness, or acne.
To help you narrow down your skin type, here are some tips:
- If your skin looks shiny, you have oily skin.
- If you have red, flaky, or irritated skin, you have dry skin.
- If you have oily skin in some parts and dry in others, you have a combination skin.(4)
Creating A Diet As Per Your Skin Type
What are the Best and Worst Foods for Dry Skin?
If you have dry skin, you need to hydrate your skin. You should be drinking at least two liters of water every day to provide hydration to your skin. You can also get water through fruits like watermelon. You can also hydrate your skin through fatty acids.(5, 6) These can be found in:
It is also necessary to limit the intake of dehydrating foods and drinks to a minimum. Excess intake of caffeine and alcohol can be drying to the skin. While everyone has a different tolerance limit, on average, limiting yourself to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is about two to three 8-ounce cups of coffee, and staying within the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)(10) when it comes to alcohol intake is recommended.
What are the Best and Worst Foods for Oily Skin?
People with oily skin often make the mistake of simply eliminating oil from their diet. However, this is not necessarily going to work. It is common to assume that consuming oil creates more oil. However, consuming foods with anti-inflammatory oils can actually help you reduce oily skin. Some foods that contain anti-inflammatory oils include:
- Fatty fish
At the same time, it is also advisable to limit the consumption of oily and ultra-processed foods like fries, burgers, pizza. Also, keep the intake of added sugar to the minimum, or at least below 10 percent per day.(12)
For people with oily skin, preventing the overproduction of sebum and preventing clogged pores can be handled by substituting foods like whole-wheat grains for refined carbohydrates. Choose fish or poultry over red meats. Substitute sugary foods with naturally occurring sugars like fruits. Such simple foods swaps can help control oily skin. (13)
What are the Best and Worst Foods for Combination Skin?
Combination skin means a mix of dry and oily skin. So integrating the meal plans for both types of skin is a good idea. People with combination skin do not need to restrict their intake of carbs completely. However, at the same time, it is important to watch what type of grains and wheat you are having. This is because carbs can cause inflammation, throwing off the delicate balance of combination skin.
What are the Best and Worst Foods for Dull Skin?
Dermatologists all over the world keep stressing that tanning is not at all a safe way to get glowing skin. Tanning is actually a form of sun damage.(15) However, adding specific foods to your diet can help you get a sun-kissed look at any time of the year.
Dull skin is usually caused by oxidative stress that results from our environment, including exposure to pesticides and pollutants. We can protect ourselves from oxidative stress through antioxidants. When it comes to antioxidants, the micronutrient lycopene is the one you should try out.(16) Foods with lycopene include many pink or red fruits and vegetables, including:
Red wine in moderation and chocolate can also help as cocoa is a natural source of antioxidants. You should eat extra dark chocolate or at least 75 percent. Otherwise, you will only be consuming more sugar instead of cocoa.(17)
What are the Best and Worst Foods for Mature-looking Skin?
It is important to remember that no matter what to eat, everyone’s skin is going to age over time. Nevertheless, increasing your intake of collagen-rich foods can help slow down the process a bit. Collagen is a protein that can be found naturally in the body. However, we start losing collagen as early as reaching our 20s.
It is possible to replenish our collagen supply by having protein-rich foods like:
- Lean meats
At the same time, you should restrict your intake of salty foods like chips and fries as these can be dehydrating. When mature skin gets dehydrated, wrinkles and fine lines start to appear or become more pronounced. There are some foods that can draw out the moisture from the skin, causing it to become dry. This aggravates the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
It is also necessary to eat properly. The skin needs fat and protein to stay plump and support the muscle.
What are the Best and Worst Foods for Acne-Prone Skin?
Acne is not an affliction of the teenage years. The American Academy of Dermatology Association defines adult-onset acne as acne that appears for the first time in people when they are adults.(19) Menopause is also a common cause of this. Adult-onset acne happens as a combination of inflammation, bacteria, and oiliness.
People with acne-prone skin should focus on having micronutrients instead of following a diet for oily skin. You should get plenty of vitamin C by having a wide variety of fruits and berries. Zinc can be very helpful in relieving acne. Zinc can be found in shellfish and lean animal protein like chicken. There are many plant-based sources of zinc in foods, including pumpkin seeds and fortified cereals.(20, 21)
Many people also get relief from acne by limiting or cutting out dairy products, along with fatty and sugary foods. These foods are known to cause inflammation in the skin and lead to spikes in the hormones that control sebum production in the body. An increase in the level of sebum produced can correlate to the blockage of sebaceous glands, thus leading to the development of acne.(22)
Probiotics, such as those found in Greek yogurt can help with acne. However, always discuss with your dietitian or doctor before eliminating foods that have nutritional benefits, such as dairy products, as everyone is different and your body needs various nutrients to function properly.
Even though your diet is not a cure-all for all types of skin problems, but it can still be an important part of a holistic approach to caring for your skin. The best foods for your skin also depend on your skin type. Once you have understood your skin type, you should select those foods that help your skin while relieving any skin issues you may have.
It is important to speak with your doctor before you limit or remove anything from your diet. For any type of skin, it is usually best to limit the intake of fried and sugary foods and to also limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Roberts, W.E., 2009. Skin type classification systems old and new. Dermatologic clinics, 27(4), pp.529-533.
- Andreassi, L., Casini, L., Simoni, S., Bartalini, P. and Fimiani, M., 1990. Measurement of cutaneous colour and assessment of skin type. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine, 7(1), pp.20-24.
- Qin, J., Qiao, L., Hu, J., Xu, J., Du, L., Wang, Q. and Ye, R., 2021. New method for large‐scale facial skin sebum quantification and skin type classification. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 20(2), pp.677-683.
- Youn, S.W., Na, J.I., Choi, S.Y., Huh, C.H. and Park, K.C., 2005. Regional and seasonal variations in facial sebum secretions: a proposal for the definition of combination skin type. Skin research and technology, 11(3), pp.189-195.
- Rawlings, A.V., 2003. Trends in stratum corneum research and the management of dry skin conditions. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 25(1‐2), pp.63-95.
- Flynn, T.C., Petros, J., Clark, R.E. and Viehman, G.E., 2001. Dry skin and moisturizers. Clinics in Dermatology, 19(4), pp.387-392.
- Thomassen, M.S. and Røsjø, C., 1989. Different fats in feed for salmon: influence on sensory parameters, growth rate and fatty acids in muscle and heart. Aquaculture, 79(1-4), pp.129-135.
- Alonso, A., Ruiz-Gutierrez, V. and Martínez-González, M.Á., 2006. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and blood pressure: epidemiological, clinical and experimental evidence. Public health nutrition, 9(2), pp.251-257.
- Alvizouri-Muñoz, M., Carranza-Madrigal, J., Herrera-Abarca, J.E., Chavez-Carbajal, F. and Amezcua-Gastelum, J.L., 1992. Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels. Archives of medical research, 23(4), pp.163-167.
- Cdc.gov. 2021. Facts about moderate drinking | CDC. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm> [Accessed 19 November 2021].
- Nicholls, L., 1933. Phrynoderma: a condition due to vitamin deficiency. The Indian medical gazette, 68(12), p.681.
- Dietaryguidelines.gov. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf> [Accessed 19 November 2021].
- Sakuma, T.H. and Maibach, H.I., 2012. Oily skin: an overview. Skin pharmacology and physiology, 25(5), pp.227-235.
- Kaur, J., Kaur, K., Singh, B., Singh, A. and Sharma, S., 2021. Insights into the latest advances in low glycemic foods, their mechanism of action and health benefits. Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization, pp.1-14.
- Wehner, M.R., Shive, M.L., Chren, M.M., Han, J., Qureshi, A.A. and Linos, E., 2012. Indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bmj, 345.
- Osawa, T. and Kato, Y., 2005. Protective role of antioxidative food factors in oxidative stress caused by hyperglycemia. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1043(1), pp.440-451.
- Patel, L. and Watson, R.R., 2013. Chocolate and Skin Health. In Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology (pp. 137-141). Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.
- Jocienė, J. and Vainorė, I., 2016. Impact of Vitamin C to Mature Facial Skin. Applied Research in Health & Social Sciences: Interface & Interaction/Sveikatos ir Socialiniu Mokslu Taikomieji Tyrimai: Sandura ir Saveika, 13(1).
- Aad.org. 2021. Adult acne. [online] Available at: <https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/really-acne/adult-acne> [Accessed 19 November 2021].
- Amer, M., Bahgat, M.R., Tosson, Z., Mowla, M.Y.A. and Amer, K., 1982. Serum zinc in acne vulgaris. International journal of dermatology, 21(8), pp.481-484.
- Dreno, B., Amblard, P., Agache, P., Sirot, S. and Litoux, P., 1989. Low doses of zinc gluconate for inflammatory acne. Acta dermato-venereologica, 69(6), pp.541-543.
- Melnik, B.C., 2011. Evidence for acne-promoting effects of milk and other insulinotropic dairy products. Milk and Milk Products in Human Nutrition, 67, pp.131-145.