THE SECRETS TO #NOFILTER SKIN
Without a doubt, amazing skin is definitely in and it’s here to stay! We live in an age where filters thrive; being used to perfect our appearances in photos and videos alike. Achieving the look of no pores, no acne, no rosacea – just youthful, beautiful, perfect skin to face the outside world. However, this hasn’t stopped the skincare market from being worth nearly $135 billion in 2018! Women on average spend about $3000 annually on skincare and cosmetics (CNN Business)... Goes to show how much we care about the appearance of our skin and what we are investing in the face we want to project to the world we live in. But, what goes on externally may be less important than what goes in to influence our appearance.
All the skin creams, serums and facials in the world are not worth it if you don’t take care of your inner beauty first and foremost. Both are very much interconnected! Whether your goals are to minimize rosacea, eliminate acne, or even turn back the hands of time, #nofilter skin begins with what you eat. I’ve even noticed for myself, that once I swapped out sugary pastry breakfasts for superfood packed smoothies, my skin started showing me more love in return! It was actually like some kind of wizardry. Not kidding!
As a biologist, I understand how environments affect systems. So it made sense to me that the environment that we put ourselves in, i.e. through the foods we choose; directly results in how our bodies react. For instance, if we expose ourselves to a diet high in processed foods and refined sugars, our inflammation levels in our body will increase. In turn, inflammation is the villain of a blemish-free and a glowing complexion. From the words of Dr. Robynne Chutkan (a gastroenterologist specializing in the nutritional impacts on beauty),“inflammatory triggers swirl around us our entire lives—pollution, sun exposure, smoking and drinking, stress, lack of sleep, and bad diet. Inflammation is the ultimate skin killer, and as you age the damage shows more profoundly”.
Just going to throw some science your way, cause that’s what I do, so bear with me for a second… Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants can actually offset the effects of aging. How? Well, antioxidants act to donate an electron to unstable atoms called free radicals that result from both normal metabolic processes within the body, and environmental stressors like UV rays and air pollution. In their unstable form, free radicals seek to steal an electron from structures like cell membranes, a process called oxidation, that has the undesired effect of damaging cell DNA resulting in speeding up aging. This process of oxidation also impacts the skin’s natural oils, causing or exacerbating acne. Okay, science lesson done!
"the environment that we put ourselves in, directly results in how our bodies react"
Delving into further research, I found out that our skin is especially sensitive to what is going on in our gut biome. By consuming a plant-rich, balanced, healthy diet that consists of dark-leafy greens, fatty acids and a variety of fruits, inflammation is under control. Not to mention, the many vitamins and antioxidants that present a healthy diet are also your #1 a defense against free radical and UV damage that leads to skin aging. So basically, what you eat eventually shows up on your skin!
Studies suggest that specifically, antioxidants such as carotenoids, tocophenols and flavonoids, as well as, vitamins (A, C, and E), essential omega-3-fatty acids, some proteins and probiotics (lactobacilli) have been referred as agents capable of promoting skin health and beauty. Your primary defenses for optimal inner beauty are:
1) Antioxidants in the form of vitamins
Vitamin A derivatives like β-carotene, astaxanthin, lycopene and retinol, are all highly effective antioxidants and have been documented to posses photoprotective properties thereby protecting the skin for the aging affects of UV radiation. Vitamin A can help to brighten your complexion and prevent future signs of aging by reducing UV-induced damage.Also, if your body is low in vitamin A, your cell regeneration will be poor, and the result will be dry, flaky skin. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos and papaya.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that stimulates collagen production to keep skin looking taut, young, and radiant. The human body does not naturally synthesize vitamin C; therefore, an adequate dietary intake is essential for a healthy diet. The richest natural sources are fresh fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, citrus, blackcurrant, rose hip, guava, chili pepper and parsley.
The intake of vitamin E (tocophenols) is said to help against collagen cross-linking and lipid deterioration, which are both linked to aging of the skin and the appearance of less fullness. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils like sunflower oil and safflower oil, nuts and seeds (sunflower), vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
Vitamins C and E are both strong free radical captors that strengthen the skin’s defense system; combining them is essential and symbiotic since they are able to regenerate each other. They work synergistically! Studies have shown that a combination of vitamins C and E, increase photoprotective affects against UV damage in the skin, in turn the appearance of aging.
2) Anti-inflammatory fatty acids
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are essential for the synthesis of tissue lipids, which is linked to the appearance of skin aging. EFAs are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linolenic, linoleic and oleic acids. These cannot be produced in the human body and they have to be consumed through our daily dietary intake. We have attributed aging skin to have the characteristics of having a wrinkled appearance, dryness, and loss of elasticity (sagging). Studies indicated that higher linoleic acid intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of dryness and sagging as it bumps up the lipids in the skin layers attributing to a fuller, more youthful look. Natural sources high in EFAs include flaxseed and hemp oil, seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower seeds), walnuts, avocados, and salmon.
In closing, we are what we eat and it shows in our glow! Internal health leads to external beauty, and you attain it by being conscious to what you put into and onto yourself.
By Jen Wojtaszek • April 3, 2020
Boelsma, E., Hendriks, H., Roza, L. (2001). Nutritional skin care: health effects of micronutrients and fatty acids. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 73(5), 853-864.
Silke, K., Vasiliki, A., Evgenia, M., & Christos, C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Journal Dermato-Endrocrinology, 4(3), 298-307.