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Eating for healthy skin

01 September, 2017
Eating for healthy skin

What can I eat for healthy skin?

Skin health is a commodity in the world of women’s health, and It’s very easy to find advice, tips and tricks on the creams and foods that are supposedly good for healthy skin. The science behind it, while harder to find, provides the simplest answers, most effective answer to the question behind healthy skin.

Essential fatty acids

We’ve known about the benefits of health fatty acids for the better part of the last century. In 1929, George and Mildred Burr manipulated the diet of rats to see how they would be affected when deprived of all fats.

What they found:

  • Development of skin abnormalities
  • Water loss through skin
  • Stunted growth
  • Impaired reproductive capabilities

Some rats were given rescue diets that reintroduced fatty acids – those given polyunsaturated fatty acids saw a reversal of skin defects, while saturated fatty acids produced no effect.

Why do we need to eat EFA?

People can’t synthesize (self-produce) essential fatty acids, meaning our only way of obtaining them is through diet.

There’s also more than skin appearance at stake when we aren’t consuming enough EFA. Skin has two layers – the dermal and epidermal. The dermis provides physical and nutritional support to the epidermis, while the epidermis functions as a barrier, protecting us from harmful microbes. This isn’t limited to bacteria – a study suggest that defects in the skin barrier may provide easier entry for allergens.

Best sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids

Healthy sources of polyunsaturated fats

Are EFA supplements effective?

Studies into supplements can be extremely tricky, as “the enthusiasm for supplements outpaces the evidence” (Harvard Health) while experimental results of certain EFA supplements remain mixed.

We always recommend you try to consume the right nutrients from a balanced, healthy diet, rather than trying to substitute with supplements.

If in doubt, see your doctor or consult with a nutritionist about what might be right for you.

What foods should I avoid?

Foods to avoid for healthy skin

In an amazing and comprehensive meta study of skin health related to acne vulgaris (acne/pimples/blackheads) – there was significant evidence to show that the consumption of cow milk products and high-glycemic-index foods had an effect on the severity of acne experienced by girls and boys.

It also mentions that civilisations not exposed to Western diet showed low or no signs of acne.

What are good substitutes for cow’s milk?

Nut milks, like almond or macadamia, might prove to be better substitutes for you. Be sure to read the nutritional information, as some of these products compensate with high sugar contents.

What are low GI food alternatives?

There are some great and tasty alternatives to high GI foods like white rice, white bread and potatoes:

Low GI food alternatives

More options

If your skin seems to be impacted on seemingly random occasions, you could try elimination dieting – taking out some parts of your regular diet to see if that helps with outbreaks. If the problem is causing you any level of stress, it’s definitely worth checking in with a doctor or a nutritionist to see what they can recommend.


All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.
All information in this article is intended for general information purposes only. Information should not be considered medical advice and is in no way intended to replace a consultation with a qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.
All information in this article is intended for general information purposes only. Information should not be considered medical advice and is in no way intended to replace a consultation with a qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.
All information in this article is intended for general information purposes only. Information should not be considered medical advice and is in no way intended to replace a consultation with a qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.
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