The health of your skin begins with good nutrition. New, living cells continually replace dead cells on the surface of the skin. The growth of new cells is dependent on vitamins, minerals and hydration. Eat at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Remember to look for the ‘ACE’ vitamins: A to help prevent ageing, C to promote clarity and E to to protect against the environment.
There are many advantages to taking your vitamins in food rather than in supplement form. When you eat, you don’t get single, isolated nutrients. For instance, a bowl of leafy greens provides an abundance of several important vitamins, such as B, K and E, as well as fibre and antioxidants.
Biotin is another nutrient needed for healthy skin, hair and nails. Foods such as peanut butter, whole grains and eggs contain biotin and can help prevent dermatitis and hair loss.
As our bodies are 80 per cent water, we need sufficient hydration or our skin cells become dry and flaky. To keep the body, including the skin, hydrated, eat food with a high water content such as fruit, vegetables and clear soup and drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Also, try to limit your intake of coffee and other drinks containing caffeine as they are diuretics that remove water from the body and block the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Sleep is another skincare essential as it gives the body’s cells a chance to repair and regenerate. Sleep deprivation stresses all of the body’s systems, including the skin and can result in headaches, irritability, lack of energy, or the inability to focus. Skin becomes less elastic and prone to outbreaks of acne or rashes.
Along with excess sun exposure, smoking also causes the skin to age prematurely. Nicotine impairs the blood vessels that provide skin with both oxygen and nutrients and rid the skin of impurities. It eventually robs the skin of oxygen, causing it to look dull and grey. With low levels of oxygen, the skin loses elasticity, which leads to sagging and wrinkling.
Alcohol can cause allergic reactions, such as hives and rashes. Some people have allergic reactions to salicylates, which occur in such foods as berries, bananas, beans, and grapes. If a rash appears after you eat these foods, it is likely that beer and wine will also cause these outbreaks.
Stress is another internal factor that often shows up on your skin. Stress-related hormonal fluctuations can cause adult acne and other skin problems. While healthy eating and exercise habits help combat the symptoms of anxiety and stress, finding appropriate mechanisms to deal with the underlying causes of stress is important.