Foods to Avoid for Healthy Skin

As with most health benefits, healthy skin comes down to lifestyle, rather than how many creams and serums you decide to slap on everyday. While the regular use of sunscreens and anti-aging creams are continuously proven to help slow down the skin’s aging process, what goes inside our bodies also plays a significant role in maintaining a youthful glow. In general, the things you can do to beautify your skin are remarkably similar to what you can do to strengthen your heart, control your weight, lift your mood and improve your overall well-being: Regular exercise, enough sleep and a balanced diet.

Your intestines are made up of approximately 25 feet of spongy tissue, which absorb nutrients into the bloodstream and transfer them to essential organs to be used for nourishment and energy. Without proper nutrition your largest and most visible organ, the skin, does not receive the essential vitamins and minerals required to fight aging and prevent skin conditions such as acne. Eliminating foods that are difficult for the body to digest, process, and eliminate is crucial for maintaining and improving our complexions.

Listed below are some of the worst foods that are likely taking a toll on your skin:

Milk

Several studies have found that milk, regardless of the fat content, is associated with increased acne. 80%-90% of milk comes from pregnant cows, and research has found that naturally occurring growth hormones found in cow’s milk is responsible for the stimulation of acne. Milk is solely intended to build the skeletal structure during development and becomes unnecessary once your body has developed enough to absorb whole foods on its own. We are the only living beings in the animal kingdom that not only drink milk past infancy, but drink another living creature’s milk as well.

By now the majority of us know that Vitamin A is like gold for our skin. Vitamin A that is derived from a plant source (like carrots) is very beneficial to the skin, however, animal sources of Vitamin A (such as milk) are far more acidic and have been linked to skeletal deterioration. Your skin’s pH is naturally on the more acidic side (5.5). Oilier, more acne prone skins are further along the acidic side of the pH scale than their dryer counterparts, and this added acidity from animal sourced Vitamin A can wreak havoc on our sebaceous glands.

For more reasons to avoid milk, check out our post on Avoiding Milk for a Clear Complexion.

Shellfish

Non-fish seafood is loaded with high levels of toxic mercury. Shellfish like shrimp and lobsters can be contaminated with parasites and resistant viruses that may not even be killed with high heat. These creatures, considered scavenger animals, consume foods that are not only detrimental to your skin, but harmful to your overall heath as well.

Crustaceans like shrimp, crab, and lobster are naturally high in iodine, and having too much of this element can lead to acne. Omega-3 rich fish, such as salmon, trout, and halibut, actually improve skin conditions like acne, so consider eating more of these sources of fish rather than shellfish.

Sugar

Sugar has been shown to be just as addictive as stimulant drugs, like cocaine. It is impossible to 100% remove all sugar from diets, however, even the sugar found in fruit need to be eaten in moderation. Processed sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, and sugar substitutes such as aspartame, should be eliminated altogether. Once its been metabolized, sugar leaves behind an acidic residue that lowers the body’s pH, which can be quite detrimental to the skin.

Research has shown that a diet high in sugars has a similar effect on the skin as a lifetime of lying in the sun. The particular process linking sugar and premature aging is called glycation, which is a chemical process that occurs when blood sugar levels spike. Sugar molecules circulate in the blood and bind to other components to form substances known as protein-sugar complexes – also called advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs. Molecules in your face that are meant to keep you looking young and taut are very vulnerable to sugar. Collagen and elastins are turned into AGEs, and their soft, supple fibres become rigid, leaving your skin saggy and wrinkled.

Salt

Salt (sodium) is a nutrient that is vital in order for your body to function normally, however, eating too much of it can lead to some pretty unpleasant side effects such as bloating and dehydration, which can be very detrimental to your skin. Salt makes us retain water, which leaves our faces looking bloated, puffy, and causes unsightly eye bags which make you look older and tired, even though you may not feel that way. Skin also becomes dry and cracked, and begins to produce overproduce sebum to make up for the lost moisture, which ultimately leads to breakouts and an uneven, blotchy complexion.

Alcohol

Aside from robbing your body of the nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that specifically help it to produce collagen and regenerate new skin cells, drinking too much alcohol also causes your facial blood vessels to dilate, causing uneven tone, rosacea and spider veins to appear. Because alcohol is a diuretic, it causes dehydration and limits your body’s supply of the oxygenated blood that keeps your skin glowing and moist. Drinking can affects hormone levels, which can stimulate excess oil secretion and make you break out more.

Alcohol can increase psoriasis flares, especially in women, and the dry skin patches associated with psoriasis worsen, due to alcohol’s dehydrating effect. Additionally, alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of certain psoriasis drugs.

White Bread

Certain carbohydrates, like the ones with no nutrients in white bread, can cause acne and break down collagen. These types of carbs can spike insulin levels, leading to inflammation. When sugar enters the bloodstream, it attaches to proteins and forms molecules called advanced glycation end products (or AGEs) which damage collagen and elastin and also deactivate protective antioxidants.

Some loaves marketed as “wheat bread” can be just as bad. Oftentimes products will say they’re made from wheat bread, but will contain enriched flour, which is loaded with sugar and not good for skin health. Stick to bread that is 100% whole wheat.

Spring Towards Healthy Skin!

With the season changing, so should your skin care regimen. As we head into the warmer weather, your skin care routine needs to be adjusted in order to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

Lighten Up

The heavy moisturizing cream that you used in the wintertime may be a little too heavy during spring and summer months. Instead, switch to a sheer, lightweight moisturizing sunscreen, such as EltaMD’s UV Daily SPF 40. Formulated with Hyaluronic Acid, it increases skin’s smoothness and significantly decreases wrinkles over time, while the 9% transparent zinc oxide offers some serious broad-spectrum UV protection without the pasty white, chalky residue – it’s so light, it’s almost invisible! For those of you on the more sensitive side, this moisturizer is also fragrance-free, paraben-free, and noncomedogenic.

Makeup palettes should lighten up as well. Set aside your dark lipsticks and shadows and opt lighter neutrals and soft pinks. For daytime use a lip gloss rather than a lipstick, and replace your heavy liquid foundation with a mineral powder or tinted sunscreen (EltaMD’s Tinted UV Physical SPF 41).

Scrub Down

Sloughing off dead skin is a must in any skin care routine, regardless of the season. Regular exfoliation helps you get a closer shave, prevents in-growns, and allows your serums and moisturizers to penetrate deeper. Stay away from products with large, jagged granules, which are quite harsh on facial skin and cause little microscopic scratches on the epidermis, which can lead to a multitude of issues such as broken capillaries, scarring, and hyperpigmentation.

Professional microdermabrasion devices use fine crystals, which pass over the skin with a vacuum or air pulsating wand. This process gently “sandblasts” dead skin cells and rough patches left behind from the dry, winter air, leaving you with a noticeably refreshed complexion immediately after your treatment.

Chemical peels are ideal for eliminating surface-level blemishes and imperfections. A peeling agent (aHA or bHA) is applied to the skin and as a result, the uppermost layer of dead skin slowly peels off. In just a matter of days, dull, rough skin is replaced by a smoother, more radiant complexion. There are a number of at home products that can be used to maintain the results of your chemical peel in between sessions that contain aHAs or bHAs, depending on your skin’s needs. Drier skins, for example, may want to opt for products containing lactic acid (a hydrating aHA derived from milk), like the PCA Nutrient Toner, while those prone to break outs should look for ingredients like salicylic acid (a bHA derived from willow bark that works against P. acne bacterias) such as Circadia’s Cleansing Gel with Salicylic Acid.

Rehydrate From the Inside Out

Those of us with dry skin know all too well how miserable of a feeling it is to have skin that feels less like a baby’s bottom and more like a sheet of sandpaper. Dry/dehydrated skin can cause all sorts of discomfort, such as peeling, flaking, cracking, redness and itching. The good news is you can avoid that all-over itchy feeling by taking time to keep your body well hydrated from the inside out.

The obvious solution to dry skin is to slather on a good moisturizer or hydrating cream, but we often forget that what we put into our bodies is just as important (if not more) as what we put on. By consuming at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day (or more, for people who are highly active and sweat a lot), not only are you flushing out toxins and other impurities from your body, but you are also maintaining your skin’s hydration levels and elasticity — remember: dry skin ages a lot faster!

If you’re looking for an instant fix, oxygen facials are the way to go. Popular amongst A-list celebrities (some self-confessed fans include Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow), oxygen facials use fine mists of oxygen infused with medical grade hyperbaric oxygen and vitamin serums to instantly plump, hydrate, and smooth skin. The germicidal action also makes it extremely beneficial for acne sufferers, and the lightening and vaso-constricting capabilities give instant results for rosacea. The procedure is a quick 30 minute procedure that is beneficial for all skin types and can be repeated as often as once a week.

Spring Clean Your Makeup Bag

When was the last time you looked at your makeup bag (and I mean really looked at it)? Some important factors to consider while debating whether or not it’s time to toss and replace a beauty product are the type of makeup, how it’s been stored, and whether or not you’ve had any cold sores, skin rashes or eye infections. Some cosmetics shouldn’t be kept longer than 3 months, while others (such as nail polishes) can be stored for a couple of years. The following is a general guideline for how long your makeup should be kept:

  • Mascara: Three months
  • Lipstick: One year (some people say longer, so do what’s comfortable)
  • Powder: Up to two years (but wash your applicator regularly)
  • Foundation: 12 to 18 months (oil-based products last longer)
  • Eye and lip pencils: Up to three years (sharpen regularly)
  • Brushes: Wash every 2 to 3 weeks
  • Sponges: Wash weekly, discard monthly

Shave Smart

Let’s be honest here — how many of us actually took the time to shave our legs in the winter as often as we do in the summer? After all, if you’re covered up all day or snowed in from a polar vortex, why bother?

Before you grab the razor, take a few extra minutes to exfoliate your entire body to remove any dead skin from your neck all the way down to your toes. Once you’ve finished shaving, apply your moisturizer while your skin is still a little damp, which helps to lock in moisture and greatly reduces your chance of getting razor bumps.

For those of you who are tired of shaving everyday to avoid that cactus-like feel, laser hair removal is a permanent solution for unwanted hair. Modern, high tech laser treatments can painlessly reduce hair growth on any area of the face or body is as little as 4 to 6 sessions. Designed to be the most outstanding laser hair removal system of modern cosmetic laser technology, the Cutera CoolGlide Nd:YAG at NewDermaMed is the only laser technology that is safe and effective for all skin types. Staying true to its name, the CoolGlide handpiece cools and soothes as it glides along your skin, greatly reducing any feelings of discomfort during the treatment.

Avocado & Honey Face Mask – Get moisturized, youthful skin with this simple homemade recipe!

Looking for a simple homemade facemask that works? Try the avocado & honey face mask. It’s perfect for dry skin, wrinkled skin, acne prone skin and mature skin!

Avocados have an excellent source of healthy fats. They possess extraordinary moisturizing benefits and exfoliating properties. Filled with Vitamin A, avocados help get rid of any dead skin cells. Glutamine amino acids, which are also found in avocados, cleanse your skin and offer protection against harsh environmental factors. Packed with antioxidants that help detoxify your body, avocados help remove toxins that tend to cause your skin to age prematurely, while eliminating wrinkles to give your skin a youthful, rejuvenated look.

Honey does wonders for the skin as well. It absorbs and retains moisture, keeping the skin looking and feeling hydrated. In addition to being a great moisturizer, it acts as an anti-aging agent, contains anti-microbial properties and natural anti-oxidants, is a natural anti-septic (a bonus for acne prone individuals!), protects the skin from sun rays, and aids the skin’s rejuvenating ability – leaving your skin looking refreshed, soft and smooth.

Recipe:

  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cream (Optional – as an extra moisturizer)

Directions:

  • Mash avocado in a bowl, then stir in the honey or use a blender to blend all ingredients until you have a smooth consistency.
  • Apply to your face and leave it on for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Rinse your face with some water or a cool washcloth, and then pat dry.

You will be steps closer to having smoother, moisturized, hydrated and youthful skin. Try this mask out, you will not be disappointed!