Smooth, healthy, glowy, radiant, and crispy (if chicken). This is how we want our skin to look like. But skin can also be irritated, uneven, dry, itchy or filled with spots and acne. The amounts of dollar dollar bills y’all we spend on expensive skin care products and treatments with the hope to cure our skin problems overnight is crazy, (and might actually be a big waste of money). What we tend to overlook is that there’s more to the skin than the surface, and we need to go skin deep to really get that Instagram filter glow. So let’s uncover the basics to get healthy skin from the inside out.
What is skin?
Besides being the entire thing that holds this meat bag of a body together, our skin is also the largest organ of our body. I mean, imagine if we didn’t have skin. Meat markets running wild! The skin’s job is to regulate body temperature, protect us from bacteria, vitamin D absorption, and give us the sensation of cold and hot. Let’s say you’re chilling with your hand on a hot stove top, because I mean who doesn’t do that? Without the skin and the sensation of touch you would literally burn off those hands of yours. Saucy.
How your diet affects your skin
When we talk about skin health we refer to clean, elastic, nutrient, and hydrated skin. A lack of these will result in premature aging which shows up as wrinkles, dryness, hanging, and brittle skin. Besides the shallow results of skin aging, we are more prone to diseases or skin tears as the skin ages which obviously isn’t so great. By keeping a healthy lifestyle and especially making sure you get all the good stuff through a healthy diet you can significantly push back the aging clock. Baby face forever, baby!
Vitamin E is the skin’s love child. Our skin loves it and needs it. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects our skin against the UV damage from the sun and increase collagen production. Get your daily dose from almonds, leafy greens, avocados, bell peppers, and mangoes. Make sure you eat your vitamin E together with a fat source (avocados is a great choice since it contains both vitamin E and fat) since the vitamin is fat soluble – meaning the body absorbs it better together with fat.
If you’re a skin fanatic you have probably stumbled across the holy grail of skin care – retinol. Retinol is essentially just vitamin A. Just more concentrated and processed into an oil or cream, packaged into a fancy packaging, and extremely overpriced.
Lycopene, this amazing antioxidant found in red and orange foods such as tomatoes,carrots, sweet potatoes, watermelon, red bell peppers, mangoes, and grapefruits turns into vitamin A as it enters our body. Vitamin A promotes a healthy glow to the skin as well as protects and prevents damages and sunburns from UV rays. Almost like a self protectant sunscreen (even though you should ALWAYS slap on that SPF daily!!). Just like vitamin E, vitamin A is also a fat soluble vitamin. Make a pasta sauce with tomatoes and olive oil, roast some sweet potatoes or have some watermelon with almonds as a snack – to look like a snack.
We are all familiar with vitamin C. From oranges to multivitamins, we’ve been exposed to this guy since we were children. So, does vitamin C deserve the hype? Of course it does. Vitamin C is a vitamin our body can’t store which means that we need to get it through our diet every single day. We need this vitamin to strengthen our immune system, repair bones and skin tissue, and protect us against free radicals. Good thing about Vitamin C is that it’s water soluble which means your body absorbs it just fine by itself. Finding a good source of vitamin C isn’t that hard either. Basically every fruit and vegetable contains some amounts of Vitamin C, but keep an extra eye on red bell peppers, kiwis, leafy greens, berries, broccoli, I’m honestly not kidding when I say most fruits and veggies contains the sweet C.
If it ain’t thick we don’t want it. Thick in this instance means fat, the healthy kind. That cute fat from fatty fish, avocados, and nuts that also packs all that good omega 3 which makes our skin radiate brighter than a radiator. Omega 3s are the moisturizer that does the job form the inside out.
Bob the builder, legos, and proteins all have one thing in common. Building blocks, baby! From our DNA to our collagen levels and muscle growth, protein plays a huge part in our body and skin. Collagen is found in animal protein and gives structure to skin, bones, and joints and essential for keeping our skin smooth an youthful. I know that eating animals is a controversial topic, but the best quality collagen can only be found in animal products. Bone broth, chicken,fish, and eggs provides the highest collagen production in our body. But you can also get that good stuff by filling up on berries and dark leafy greens.
Antioxidants, meaning anti oxidation is a set of different vitamins that our skin needs to reduce inflammation and repair itself. Foods rich in phytochemicals (a type of antioxidant) makes our skin more resistant to environmental damage such as free radicals, pollution, and UV rays. A great rule of thumb when looking for antioxidant rich foods is to go for foods with dark pigments. All kinds of berries, especially blueberries and blackberries. Dark leafy greens, purple cabbage, beets (not the ones by Dre), pomegranate seeds, green tea, dark chocolate. Just think dark reds, greens, blues, and purples. Like Kendrick Lamar would say, the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice.
A diet rich in antioxidants protects your skin from cell and collagen damage and makes this vitamin one of the most affective anti aging foods. Don’t sleep on your antioxidants!
Hydration is cool and I can’t trust people who say they don’t like water. Seriously, what the hell?! Water is essential for us to literally live, and besides the keeping us alive factor it also works miracles on our skin. When we don’t drink enough water our body will prioritize keeping our inner and most vital organs hydrated such as our liver and kidneys. This means that our skin takes a big L which results in dry, lifeless skin.
Working up a sweat isn’t only good for your heart and your biceps but also for your skin. Exercising stimulates blood and oxygen flow to nourish the skin cells to give you a more elastic, glowy, and youthful face. Your daily sweat feast also helps to remove toxins and waste products from the body. Look at that, yet another good reason to start exercising! Just make sure to get a good shower after your workout and not let the sweat soak into your skin to clog your pores…
Aging. It’s a beautiful yet terrifying thing. We don’t hate the idea of growing older but we’re not that fond of looking the part. Unfortunately we can’t escape the aging process, yet. Who knows what Elon Musk cooks up in the near future… But in the time being, we can do our best to age gracefully and keeping our baby face as long as we possibly can.