Most of us are familiar with what we should be doing in our skin care routine and what we should be eating in order to maintain a healthy body and mind, however very few of us are aware as to just how much our diets impact the health of our skin health. The food we eat may matter as much to our skin as it does to our waistline.
Skin ‘aggressors’, present in many food items especially in highly processed foods that hamper skin health, may include the following;
When it comes to weight-loss and diets, we all know that sugar is the enemy, but did you know that ingesting too much sugar is not only bad for your waistline, but proves to contribute greatly to skin ageing as well. This is largely due to a process known as glycation, where excess sugar binds to the collagen and elastin fibres within our skin. This causes these fibres to become brittle and snap, thereby compromising the structural integrity within our skin and in turn leads to the formation of age lines and wrinkles are formed. Excessive sugar in your diet can further lead to insulin resistance which often manifests itself by causing excessive facial hair growth as well as forming pigmented lesions within the crease of the neck and other skin folds.
Excessive alcohol consumption most often leads to overall dehydration of both the body and the skin, leaving the skin with a lack-lustre appearance. It has further been shown to trigger inflammation which in turn leads to redness, cellular damage and contributes to skin ageing. Regular alcohol intake also contributes toward liver damage and in turn hampers detoxification of the body and may contribute towards concerns such as cellulite. Alcohol has shown to be a skin aggressor especially noticed in clients suffering with Rosacea or skin redness.
Much like alcohol, caffeine too, causes skin dehydration which in turn amplifies the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Whilst dehydration is indeed an undesirable effect of caffeine, the damage that caffeine does to our skin goes much further than surface level. Cortisol (stress hormone) production increases whenever we drink caffeine-based drinks. This rise in cortisol production has not only been linked to inflammation of the tissues, but has also been known to trigger acne flare-ups. The reason for this is that increased cortisol levels caused a rise in insulin production and in turn stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to the clogging of pores and acne lesion formation.
Excessive salt or sodium intake causes water retention which in turn may cause puffiness and swelling around the face, especially noticeable around the eyes. Iodized salt may also be a potential trigger of acne flare-ups. Always check food labels for hidden salt or sodium content.
Whilst not an absolute proven, dairy is thought to promote the formation of androgen hormones and in turn stimulate the production of sebum within the skin. This rise in sebum production may lead to blackhead congestion and acne breakouts.
One of the biggest contributors to the early onset of skin ageing is smoking. Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide, which easily displaces the oxygen levels within the skin, while nicotine decreases blood flow. This in turn leads to a deprived skin that portrays with signs of dryness, enlarged pores and wrinkles. Skin healing rates are slowed down, meaning the skin is more prone to scarring and blemishes. Smoking further depletes levels of skin-protecting nutrients like Vitamin C, an essential anti-oxidant vitamin that works to counteract the free-radical damage often associated with skin ageing.
Whilst not a skin aggressor across all skin types, it is speculated that an association between Psoriasis, latent gluten-sensitivity and possibly also celiac disease exists. Data regarding the association between psoriasis and celiac disease, however, is inconsistent. One case study of a patient with co-existent psoriasis and celiac disease had improvement of skin lesions on a gluten free diet. In latent gluten sensitivity, there is increased permeability of the small bowel when gluten is consumed, which might enhance the passage of microbes acting as a possible super antigen, and may lead to the worsening of psoriasis.
Regular overindulgence of the above-mentioned skin aggressors may quickly lead to compromised skin health, the effects of which can be counteracted by adopting good nutritional habits, alongside use of suitable skin care products. DermaFix Cosmeceutical Skin Care carries a range of products, helping to alleviate the above mentioned skin concerns. For more information on the DermaFix Cosmeceutical Skin Care range, visit www.dermafix.co.za or call us directly on 0861282323