Your skin is a reflection of how healthy you are on the inside. Just think about how dull and lacklustre it can look when you’re stressed out, unwell or after a miserable night's sleep.
An unhealthy diet, hormone imbalance, poor gut health and inflammation, and sluggish detoxification can all contribute to problematic skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.
What you eat has a massive impact on your health and wellbeing. So while you might have a beauty serum you swear by, and what you apply to your skin is important, a healthy glow really does stem from the inside.
If you want to look and feel good, what you feed your body counts; eating the right foods and taking a few well-chosen supplements can build sturdy foundations and provide unparalleled long-term benefits for your skin.
If you want healthy, glowing skin and a clear complexion, make sure you drink enough water.
Adequate hydration is essential for good health. Every cell, tissue and organ need and use it, and without it, we can’t function.
Water hydrates all your tissues, flushes out toxins and aids digestion which all helps to keep your skin looking fresh.
There’s no fixed daily amount as we are all different, but aim for roughly two litres a day – more if you are pregnant or exercising. Listen to your body and drink when you’re thirsty.
Alkaline, hydrogen-rich, filtered water is a cut above normal tap water. It’s rich in beneficial minerals, free from chlorine and heavy metals, well-structured and has antioxidant properties.
You can also apply it directly to your skin with Biocera Hydrogen Water Mist which generates mineral-rich, natural antioxidant hydrogen water with a long-lasting moisturising effect.
If your skin could do with a pick-me-up, breathe deeply, close your eyes and spray this over your face and neck. It’s refreshing and provides a rejuvenating lift to tired, dehydrated skin.
2) Healthy omega-3 fats and fish oils
The typical Western diet promotes an unhealthy balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Too much omega-6 increases inflammation, affecting your overall and skin health.
Eating plenty of healthy omega-3 fats can help to improve your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, providing anti-inflammatory benefits to encourage healthy skin.
Research shows that the fatty acids found in oily fish have the potential to improve skin barrier function and inhibit UV-induced inflammation and hyperpigmentation. They can relieve dry skin and pruritus brought on by dermatitis, accelerate skin wound healing, and help prevent skin cancer development.
The EPA and DHA in fish oils have anti-ageing effects which improve your skin tone, keep it hydrated, plumper and radiant. EPA has the power to protect collagen from UV damage, preventing premature ageing.
Fish oils aid cell wall flexibility so that you can receive nutrients and expel toxins more effectively. Healthy cells mean you’re more vital on every level with increased immunity, energy and longevity.
This will undoubtedly be reflected in your skin as well. They improve hair and nail quality too.
Ideally, you should eat oily fish three times a week, but if this is difficult, you might prefer to take a good quality fish oil supplement.
Not a fish eater? Eat walnuts, the king of nuts when it comes to omega-3 fats. They also provide other beneficial nutrients for your skin like zinc, and trace amounts of antioxidants including selenium and vitamins C and E.
Generally adding nuts and seeds to your diet will also up your omega-3 intake and feed your skin with goodies. For the most easily absorbed vegan source of EPA and DHA, consider taking a good quality marine algae supplement.
3) Omega-7 (palmitoleic acid)
Though it’s not classed as an ‘essential’ fatty acid, omega-7 is a monounsaturated fat that helps to make up the structure of your skin and mucous membranes.
There is growing research to suggest that it benefits skin health, and it may also protect against cardiovascular disease and insulin sensitivity.
Avocados, macadamia nuts, anchovies, salmon and olive oil contain small amounts of omega-7, but one of the most abundant and concentrated sources is sea buckthorn berries.
Studies so far have shown that omega-7 may improve skin hydration and elasticity and reduce wrinkles. It may also decrease skin and mucous membrane inflammation and relieve dry eye symptoms.
When applied topically, omega-7 can speed wound healing and soothe burns.
WHC O’Hisa (Omega Hair Immunity Skin Anti-ageing) is a specially formulated beauty complex. It contains concentrated organic sea buckthorn oil to calm and hydrate your skin, and protect it from free radical damage.
Zinc and B vitamins support the immune system, while Hyabest® 100% hyaluronic acid replenishes moisture and encourages a more youthful complexion.
4) Vitamin C
There are high concentrations of Vitamin C in the skin. It plays a pivotal role in collagen synthesis, a fibrous protein that gives structure and elasticity to your skin, preventing wrinkles (vitamin C also aids collagen production in your hair). Its potent antioxidant status prevents cell damage and oxidative stress, and it can improve and prevent UV photodamage.
If you want to stock up on your vitamin C, consume plenty of broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, kale, spinach and other leafy greens, Brussel’s sprouts, winter squash and sweet potatoes. Also eat fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and other berries, kiwis, guava, papaya, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits, pineapple and mango.
Collagen is a protein that is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue. It holds our bodies together, providing a stable structure, promoting tissue elasticity and mobility.
As we age, our collagen levels decrease, and we start to see more wrinkles and looser, saggy skin.
Some promising research suggests that collagen supplements can reduce the signs of ageing and aid wound healing. Supplements have the potential to increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.
In one small study, women between 35 and 55 years of age were randomised to take either 2.5g or 5g of collagen hydrolysate per day or a placebo. After just eight weeks, both groups taking the supplements showed significant improvements in skin elasticity versus the placebo group.
Four weeks after stopping the supplements, the older women still showed a statistically higher skin elasticity level.
Another trial gave post-menopausal women a nutritional supplement consisting of hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, and essential vitamins and minerals. The result was a marked improvement in wrinkle depth, skin elasticity and hydration.
If you would like to try a collagen supplement, ensure it comes from sustainable and clean sources, e.g. free-range or organic, grass-fed cows or sustainably sourced, non-toxic fish. Look for hydrolyzed collagen which is broken down into more easily absorbed particles. Bovine (collagen types 1 and 2) and fish collagen (type1) are the best forms to take for the skin.
Research shows that healthy skin is associated with a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating a generous and diverse mixture every day will supply you with a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help fight free radical damage and prevent premature ageing.
If you’re worried you’re not getting enough, make it your mission to up your intake. You can also boost it with a food supplement like Green Vibrance Powder.
Aside from containing a preponderance of fruits and vegetables, it also includes a selection of organic grasses and algae which are highly nutritious with anti-ageing and skin rejuvenating properties.
pHresh Greens is another alternative: a 100% organic, green raw food supplement that helps to neutralise acids in your blood and tissues, detoxify your body and energise your cells.
One teaspoon supplies you with the equivalent of 3-4 servings of raw vegetables. A natural source of antioxidants, B vitamins, carotenoids, phytonutrients, enzymes, dietary fibre and essential fatty acids, this is packed full of skin-feeding nutrients.
It contains grasses and algae including spirulina which calms inflammation, encourages a faster turnover of skin cells, and releases oxidative stress and toxins leading to a glowing complexion.
7) Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is relatively common, and many of us could do with regular supplementation unless we are getting ample sun exposure.
Research shows that Vitamin D may protect against some skin diseases and conditions. There also appears to be an association with low vitamin D status and psoriasis.
Due to its significant role in keratin production (a valuable protein that forms a protective layer over the skin), vitamin D is a promising treatment option for managing this condition.
Vitamin D may also help to improve acne, although there is currently minimal research to support this. According to a small study involving 43 patients with newly diagnosed nodulocystic acne, there appears to be a connection with low vitamin D status, so supplementing may help in those who are deficient.
Another trial with 80 acne patients found that vitamin D deficiency is more frequent in those with acne. Patients who took an oral supplement showed a significant improvement in their symptoms.
If you are concerned that your levels are low, get tested by your GP. Otherwise, Public Health England recommends adults and children over the age of one take over 10mcg of vitamin D daily during the winter months while the Vitamin D Council recommends a supplement of 5,000 i.u. daily.
When it comes to having glowing and healthy skin, feeding your body right is the way forward.
If you drink plenty of water and eat a balanced, whole, real food diet packed full of brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, you should get all the nutrients you need to nurture your skin from the inside out.
Regularly including pre and probiotic-rich foods alongside a nourishing diet will help to keep your gut healthy, protecting you from inflammatory skin conditions.
Exercise, good sleep, effective stress management, love and laughter all contribute to good health and great skin too.
Taking some strategically well-chosen supplements alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle may also help to improve inflammatory skin conditions and hydration and promote plumper, more toned skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.
Written by Rebecca Rychlik-Cunning, Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
Fish oils aid cell wall flexibility so that you can receive nutrients and expel toxins more effectively. #FishOil #Omega3