Truth be known – I wasn’t crazy about the fashion I saw this year at the Oscars.  However, one thing I did admire was the gorgeous, dewy, luminous skin I saw on several of those celebs.  Let’s be real – I am sure there was some BOTOX going on there as well as alternative cosmetic procedures.  We all want to look vibrant and healthy.  BUT we are learning now more than ever how your DIET plays the biggest role in the health of your skin.  And many celebrities aren’t shy when it comes to what they are eating or NOT eating to stay looking good.

Correlation Between Diet and Skin

According to Dermatologist Jessica Wu M.D…  “I tell my patients that what they put in their mouths is as important as the products they apply on their skin.  Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. If you crash diet or eat highly processed foods, your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be.”

I couldn’t agree with this more.  Those of you that know me hear me say constantly – “you are what you eat”.  And this couldn’t be more true when it comes to your skin. 

Why You Should Avoid Sugar

I have heard several dermatologists say that “low glycemic diets” or diets with limited sugar content have been shown to be beneficial to acne-prone skin.  I am not sure if there are scientific studies proving that sugar causes acne BUT, I see consistently positive results personally and in my clients with a reduction of refined sugars. In my practice, I recommend reducing sugar as much as possible. I replace refined, sugary foods with nutrient-dense foods- like fruit, vegetables and healthy sources of Omega-3s.

Protein bars are the worst offender.  Read your labels!  Many protein bars are essentially “candy bars” with tricky marketing geared towards making you think you are buying “health food”. NOT.   If you need a quick snack in the middle of the day or after a workout, it’s better to have a handful of almonds and a piece of whole fruit. You’ll be eating better for your skin, and you’ll feel more satisfied.

Is Dairy Causing Your Breakouts?

This is a controversial topic but generally speaking, I don’t recommend dairy.  There are some studies that show associations between dairy and acne, but not necessarily cause and effect. Either way, just like sugar, I see great results when I completely remove dairy from the diet.  It is a fact that the majority of milk in the US comes from pregnant cows.  Because of this the hormone levels in milk may play a role in excess sebum production, which promotes acne. Sebum production is influenced by androgens and hormonal mediators, such as insulin-like growth factors found in milk and other animal products. If people must have milk or yogurt, I recommend non-dairy alternatives or goat’s milk.

What To Eat For Skin That Glows

“I find that the best skin diet is one that involves eating vegetables of different colors for every meal and a green juice every day,” says celebrity esthetician (and founder of the eponymous salon) Joanna Vargas. Her client Rachel Weisz follows this routine, but Vargas says it works on everyone.

My favorite skin care tip would be avocados.  Start by eating a bit of avocado everyday as part of your salad, or even throwing a half of an avocado into your morning smoothie.  Avocado supplies the skin with healthy fats and phytonutrients which your skin needs to glow.  

If I have a client who doesn’t eat salad or drink green juices, I tell them to go to Whole Foods and buy liquid chlorophyll. It tastes like mint, oxygenates the skin and works from the inside-out to keep the skin healthy and refreshed.

For true skin health, you want to focus on “eating the rainbow” every single day.  Red tomatoes are high in lycopene which helps fight free radicals.  This antioxidant is more easily absorbed when the tomatoes have been blanched or cooked.  The darker the greens, the more nutrients you are getting.  Try going for kale and spinach.  Dandelion greens and arugula are also known for fighting free radicals.  Carrots and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A which is important for healthy skin.  

Let’s not forget about powerful, antioxidant rich herbs and spices. Turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, parsley, basil, cilantro are just a few examples of ingredients that you can add to soups, salads, stews, sauces. These are a fabulous way to get a powerful pack of nutrients that will nourish your skin from the inside out.

Lastly, make sure you’re not neglecting the rest of your diet. You also need to make sure you’re getting enough COMPLEX carbohydrates and protein.  Healthy carbs will give you fuel you need during workouts, and protein will help repair and build muscle. It’s all about a healthy balance. 

And of course – DRINK ENOUGH WATER!  Water helps flush out toxins, deliver the nutrients to where they need to be AND will help reduce food cravings.