Some people are willing to spend a fortune for skin creams that promise to rejuvenate aging skin, but give little thought to the role that diet plays. Just as there are foods that enhance skin health, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, there are ones that can harm skin and increase the risk of skin laxity and wrinkling. Isn’t it time to take a closer look at the foods you’re eating? Here are some dietary habits that can harm skin health.
Eating High Carb, Processed Foods
High carb, processed foods such as white bread, white potatoes, white rice, and sugary desserts not only destroy the waistline, but also harm the skin. A carb rich diet causes rapid elevation of blood sugars which promotes glycation where sugar molecules bind to a protein such as skin collagen and damage it. When skin collagen is damaged, it leads to skin wrinkles and sagging. How to prevent this undesirable sequence of events? Substitute processed carbs with whole grains whenever possible.
Alcohol harms skin in a variety of ways. By dilating blood vessels, it aggravates the condition known as rosacea, causing worsening of thecharacteristic redness and flushing. Alcohol is also associated with the formation of telangiectasias – those ugly, red spider veins that form on the face and body. Alcohol is dehydrating to the skin, leading to excess moisture loss which can increase skin dryness. It also increases inflammation which can damage collagen and elastin leading to skin wrinkling and sagging.
Too much salt in the diet harms skin appearance in the short term by causing undereye puffiness and swelling, as fluid collects in the tissues around the eyes and face. Reducing sodium in the diet and getting more potassium rich foods can help to reduce puffy eyes. Drinking more water also helps to flush out excess sodium.
Not Choosing Protein Wisely
A diet rich in red meat induces inflammation which can be damaging to skin collagen. Eating fatty fish high in omega-3’s has the opposite effect. Omega-3’s are believed to be anti-inflammatory and healthy for the skin. Wild Alaskan salmon is a good choice since it’s high in DMAE, a compound that some studies show can reduce the signs of skin aging.
Not Getting Enough Fat
Too much of the wrong kinds of fat in the diet can clog the arteries, but too little can lead to skin that appears older. A study showed that animals that were given a diet without essential fatty acids developed skin dryness and signs of aging skin. The key is to add the right kinds of fats – polyunsaturated ones – particularly the omega-3’s.
The Bottom Line
Processed foods, a diet high in red meat and processed carbs, excessive salt and alcohol use, are all dietary habits that can lead to skin problems and premature aging. Avoid these dietary demons as much as possible for more beautiful skin.