Blackheads make you feel like you dressed up as a comic book character for Halloween. Pimples develop secret missions to pop out in the middle of the night because the “pizza face” look is so in. Dry skin doesn’t mean you love walking in the Sahara Desert. Is your skin rebelling, and why?
Clear skin makes you feel confident and refreshed, while blackheads, pimples and their evil friends can wreck your confidence and self-image. In summer or winter, your skin may shift from normal to dry or oily, but what you eat is one the major factors that affect your skin health. Here are four foods that will give you the skin of your dreams:
Chocolate has a bad rep for the myth of making your skin break out when consumed, but that’s not the whole truth. Overly processed chocolate that doesn’t contain high levels of cacao (a.k.a. real chocolate) will be more prone to upsetting your skin and overall wellness.
Choose dark chocolate for better skin health, due to its high level of flavonols (an antioxidant). Treat yourself to a bar, with at least 70 percent or more cacao, and store it in the freezer. Eat one square, or a few squares, daily to boost your skin’s luminosity. Topical application of a cacao cream helps to reduce puffiness of your skin due to the caffeine content in chocolate.
Is your skin constantly dry? Up your intake of fatty fish to maintain skin moisture, thickness and suppleness as you enjoy a delicious meal. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like herring, mackerel and salmon help to maintain your skin health, reducing inflammation to clear up acne and redness. The Vitamin E in fish protects against free radicals and inflammation. The zinc in fish regulates inflammation and produces new skin cells, and a zinc deficiency may delay wound healing and prolong the appearance of skin lesions.
If you’re not a “fish person,” consider taking fish oil supplements to get the healthy skin benefits, which may also help stabilize autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that contribute to ill skin health.
Are you getting enough water in your diet? How about fruit? Fruit maintains your skin moisture and clarity, especially with the powerful skin-loving antioxidant Vitamin C found in blueberries, strawberries, oranges, papaya and kiwi.
Introduce your skin to antioxidant heaven with a fruit face mask, with ingredients from your pantry and fridge. This face mask has skin beneficial properties: alpha hydroxyl, lactic and salicylic acids, Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredients. Mash three strawberries with a fork, and mix in one tablespoon of regular yogurt with one teaspoon of raw honey. The mask will harden and dry. Wash it off after twenty minutes.
Eat your veggies! Just imagine the broccoli as trees, and you’re the monster destroying the forest. Maybe the green vegetables have grown on you as an adult, but the end goal of healthy skin is worth the imagination!
Those leafy greens are good for your skin. It’s all about the vitamins and nutrients those veggies contain, such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C and carotenoids:
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your skin from toxins and free radicals, which age your skin. Eat dark leafy greens, yams, sweet potatoes and avocado (also a healthy fat).
- Vitamin C: You’ve learned that Vitamin C is also an antioxidant guarding your body against free radicals, but it’s also important for collagen production to maintain skin elasticity. Eat broccoli, potatoes, leafy greens, potatoes and green peppers.
- Carotenoids: Carotenoids are in red, orange and yellow vegetables and help make vitamin A in your body, another antioxidant. Eat peppers, carrots and pumpkin. Leafy greens also contain carotenoids.
To get the healthy skin you always dreamed of, remember to get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens, and don’t forget to include fatty fish in your diet. Best of all, you are allowed to eat chocolate, dark that is!
Maintain a balanced diet full of nutritional foods, and your skin will reflect your healthy diet. Go a step further and make lotions or face masks from the items in your refrigerator or pantry. Your skin will radiate with the new-found confidence you feel inside as a result of eating and beautifying with healthy foods.
Corinne Keating is a health and lifestyle blogger who loves coffee and hiking. Find her blogging at Why So Well, her health & wellness blog.