Anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, anti-acne; cleansers, toners, moisturisers; day cream, night cream, eye cream – you name it, we’re willing to buy it. In 2019, here in Australia we spent $4.2 billion on skin care products. Face creams account for the largest share of the global skin care product market.
Do we really need to splash all that cash? Not according to CBHS wellness consultant Jasmine Wolfe.
‘Skin care products can be beneficial, but if you don’t look after your skin from the inside, you could be wasting your money. The best way to achieve a healthy, glowing complexion is to eat a varied diet. Focus on plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein, dairy, healthy fats and drink lots of water,’ says Jasmine.
And don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun. Tanning and sunburn damages and dehydrates the skin, leading to premature wrinkles.
You are what you eat
There’s a clear relationship between nutrition and our physical, emotional and mental health. Everything we consume has an impact on our bodies, including on our organs, and our skin is the largest organ of all.
Skin cells are constantly being renewed and they need nourishment from vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to reduce the effect of damaging free radicals. Free radicals can accelerate the signs of ageing. Vitamins E, C and beta-carotene are among some of the most important antioxidants and our main source is food. These vitamins can’t be produced by our bodies.
When we consume healthy, nutritious food, our skin is more likely to glow with health and vitality. A diet of junk food, sugary drinks and too much alcohol can have the opposite effect.
‘You really can get all of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need for healthy, glowing skin from the food you eat,’ says Jasmine.
It comes down to being consistent with your daily food and drink choices and eating whole foods as often as possible.
Variety is the key
The ideal diet for healthy, glowing skin contains a variety of plant-based whole foods, with healthy fats, lean protein from both fish and meat, and plenty of colour from fruit and veg. If that sounds a lot like current guidelines on healthy eating, you’d be right.
‘Upping your intake of plant-based food is one of the best things you can do to help the health of your skin,’ says Jasmine.
Only five percent of us eat the recommended daily amount of fruit and veg. So, there’s another good reason to eat your five and two every day!
Top tips for healthier looking skin
Should you eat superfoods or take supplements?
There’s nothing magical about so-called superfoods. They’re marketed as being better for you, but they are simply more nutritionally dense than most other foods. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to nutritional health.
And the only reason to take supplements is if you’re deficient in some way. For example, vegetarians might need iron or vitamin B12, or people with osteoporosis might need extra calcium and vitamin D. If you already eat a healthy balanced diet, and you have no vitamin deficiencies, adding supplements is unlikely to make any difference to the health of your skin. In fact, some can be toxic in large doses so it’s best to get your nutritional needs from food.
The message from Jasmine is simple.
‘Eat a variety of unprocessed food, avoid excess and don’t get caught up into thinking supplements and superfoods are the only way to achieve healthy, glowing skin.’
Can we help?
Consult an accredited practicing dietitian if you’re considering making any radical changes to your diet. Some crash diets can limit the intake of certain food groups which won’t help your overall nutrition or health.
Your CBHS health cover may qualify you for a discount on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, a healthy way of losing weight that will benefit your body and your skin. If you have a BMI of 25+ and/or diabetes, joint pain, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you might be eligible to enrol in a fully funded program. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Disclaimer: 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 healthcare professional.