While there might be a lucky few that are genetically blessed with flawless skin regardless of diet, nutritionist and owner of Feel Fresh Nutrition, Abbie Oâ€™Rourke, believes the majority of us canâ€™t have good skin with a poor diet. â€śYou really can tell someoneâ€™s overall health through their skin,â€ť she says. â€śIf youâ€™re not eating the right food you might have blotchy, dry skin, a bit of acne, maybe deeper wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes,â€ť she explains, adding that for our body to perform the way we need it to, we need to fuel it correctly. â€śIn terms of cellular repair and fighting inflammation, we need the right nutrients. When people are eating processed food, itâ€™s noticeable on their skin.â€ť
As to what we should be eating to keep our skin in optimal condition, Oâ€™Rourke admits that nutrition has become confusing in recent years. â€śThereâ€™s so much misinformation out there, and the problem is that people are cherrypicking,â€ť she says. â€śFor example: carbohydrates are good, raw is good, veganism is good. Bang it all together and itâ€™s an incredibly high-energy way of eating.â€ť
Interestingly, dietary fat has received an unwarranted bad reputation. â€śPeople havenâ€™t wanted to eat dietary fat because of weight loss,â€ť says Oâ€™Rourke. â€śBut you need healthy dietary fats so you can absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, which are all important for overall health and skin health.â€ť Avocado, salmon and nuts are all good sources of healthy dietary fats.
Oâ€™Rourke says whatâ€™s more important and apparent is what we donâ€™t eat. â€śItâ€™s what you donâ€™t put into your body; if you donâ€™t have alcohol and processed foods with added sugar,â€ť she believes. Founder of The Beauty Chef Carla Oates agrees, saying that sugar is one of our skinâ€™s worst enemies. â€śSugar encourages glycation â€“ it sticks to collagen and breaks it down, leading to collagen degradation.â€ť
Cutting processed foods out of your diet is one of the easiest and best moves you can make for your skin, and Oâ€™Rourke says it can take as little as two to four weeks to see a difference. Unless thereâ€™s a hormonal element involved, it is definitely possible to improve skincare concerns. â€śWe can usually calm things down through diet, hydration, sleep and maybe some fish oils. Skin really glows. Itâ€™s just so apparent that the two are linked,â€ť Oâ€™Rourke explains.