“You are what you eat,” is an easily tossed around saying — but it’s actually truer than you might think. Though a person’s weight and size can’t always reveal their health habits (and in fact a person can be obese and still eat really healthily) your skin-related dilemmas can be deciphered.
Wrinkles, under-eye bags, and even acne could of course come from a variety of non-food-related causes. Aging happens over time and should be accepted rather than fretted over — the stress of worrying about wrinkles actually makes them worse. Acne could happen from any number of causes, even by contamination from the air around you — entirely out of your control. And sometimes, staying up late to finish that important project or meet that deadline is more important than the evidence in under-eye bags that might arise the morning after.
That being said, there are occasions when skin bumps and blemishes are caused by things that are in your control — including your diet. If you’re doing all the right things in trying to take care of your skin and still not seeing results, some minor tweaks to your diet could do the trick to alleviate the issue.
Foods that are high in iodine can trigger acne — for this reason, being cautious with consumption of the nutrient has been a recommendation of dermatologists for years. If you’re having frequent breakouts, evaluate your diet for iodine-rich foods. Shellfish, soy sauce, and cranberries are a few of the most common carriers.
The quicker you eat the fewer nutrients your body absorbs. The experience of chewing, tasting, and swallowing food can cause greater nutrient absorption by your digestive system. Skin ages when it’s deprived of essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and minerals. If you’re not absorbing enough, your skin isn’t getting enough — therefore aging your skin. Eat mindfully and enjoy your food to get the most benefit.
Many people walk around with intolerances to common foods without even knowing it. Common intolerances are gluten or dairy (though these are also commonly misdiagnosed) but really any food could instigate some digestive sensitivity. When you’re intolerant to a certain food, it can cause redness and inflammation — sometimes revealed through a flush, red tint on your face. Your embarrassment to the reaction might just make it worse — we recommend consulting an allergy specialist if you’re concerned.
Seventy percent of your skin is made up of collagen — and collagen relies on vitamin C. When you don’t get enough of the vitamin, your skin begins to roughen and sag. Some good sources of vitamin C include citrus, broccoli, and dark leafy greens.
These dreaded marks are like battle scars of weight gain — and the last thing you want is the world to see that on your skin. The scars happen more often (and more severely) when you have less zinc. This is due to zinc’s crucial role in repair and healing. To mitigate the physical appearance of stretch marks, eat more spinach, shrimp, seeds, and other foods with a high zinc content.
News flash: Drinking alcohol dehydrates you. Prolonged dehydration can lead to sagging skin under your eyes and in your complexion in general. While drinking a glass or two of water before bed might help mitigate the under-eye sagginess, it probably won’t go away completely. Drinking also makes your sleep less effective in giving your body rest — making the bags under your eyes even worse. If you have a chronic problem with dark hues denting beneath your eyes, it could be a sign you’re drinking too much.
You skin gets its lively, flushed look directly from nourishment. If you’re nutrient deficient, it’s going to show — and your uneven complexion is an SOS from your skin that it needs more vitamins and minerals to truly glow. Nutrient deficiency could come from not eating enough or it could come from not eating the right foods. Even those who overeat are often nutrient deficient — relying on processed foods or foods without many nutrients can cause these undesired effects on your appearance.
A forehead with deep, carved lines is sometimes termed “sugar face” for a reason — it happens when you eat way too much sugar. Overconsumption of sugary foods can cause a breakdown of collagen and elastin, the two substances that keep your skin firm and your forehead taught.
It’s easy to eat too much sugar, especially the refined, processed kind, without even realizing it. In America especially, many of our favorite foods are filled with the stuff.