Diet, Supplements and Your Skin

Now that we have entered a new year, many people may be thinking about the ways in which they can take better care of their skin, and by association, themselves in 2020. Two great ways to boost your skin care routine are to consider making dietary changes as well as adding supplements to your diet. You may be asking yourself; which nutrients help my skin and which supplements will work best for me? Which foods should I avoid with acne-prone skin or eczema? It’s true, there are many types of supplements available ranging in price, quality and form so knowing which ones to take can really help. In addition, new research surfaces yearly about which foods may promote healthy, youthful looking skin and foods that are linked to conditions such as acne. We are here to help you sort through some of the information.

Knowing which supplements to take

We can’t always get all of our vitamins and nutrients from the foods that we eat. It is important to make up for what we are missing with supplements that contain some of the following:

  • Omega 3s – These are essential fats that the body is unable to create on its own but are integral to cell repair and the reduction of inflammation. Omega 3s can be found in some seeds and nuts, fish and fish oil supplements. They may help promote healthy glowing skin and prevent eczema and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Vitamin A – One form of vitamin A, retinoids, have a well-documented effect on the reduction of photoaging, and certain skin conditions such as acne as well as the stimulation of collagen production. Most multivitamins contain a recommended daily dose of Vitamin A.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C contains antioxidants that fight free radicals and is a key factor in collagen production, which helps your skin repair itself. Some studies suggest that Vitamin C can also help repair and even prevent photoaging. Vitamin C can be found in leafy greens and most multivitamins.
  • Vitamin E – Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means that it can be stored in the body’s fatty tissues. It plays a role in protection from UV rays and free radicals as well as possessing anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Protein – Unlike some other nutrients, the body does not store protein. It is a key building block of hair as well as skin and important for cell repair. Lean meats, beans and some nuts are all good sources of protein.

Which foods should I avoid?

It is widely believed that greasy foods or foods that are high in sugar are connected to break outs or worsening acne. Studies are proving that foods that are high in sugar and grease such as pastries, milkshakes, fast food, soda, french fries, potato chips (to name a few) tend to cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, which could trigger a break out in your skin. Studies also suggest that consuming foods with a lower glycemic index such as steel cut oats, beans, fresh vegetables and some fresh fruits can actually reduce break outs.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), blood sugar spikes associated with consumption of starchy, greasy, or high sugar foods may cause inflammation throughout the body and an increase in sebum production, both which contribute to break outs and exacerbate acne issues.

Researchers are also finding that cow’s milk (all types: skim, 2%, whole) may trigger skin issues like acne and rosacea to flare-up. One such study showed that women who drank 2 or more glasses of cow’s milk on a daily basis were 44% more likely to have issues with acne than those who did not drink cow’s milk. Some scientists believe that hormones or certain proteins in the milk may lead to inflammation in the body. Alternatively, researchers found no connection between yogurt or cheese products and skin conditions such as acne despite the fact that they are made from milk.

While there is still much research to be done for more definitive answers regarding supplements, diet and our skin, dermatologists recommend that you make note of any healthy changes in your skin when you decide to begin a supplement routine or make dietary changes. Do certain foods seem to cause break outs? Keeping a food journal can help you keep track of the types of foods to avoid and help you take control of what works best for you!

If you are interested in learning more about skin care or struggle with acne, eczema or rosacea, don’t wait to book a consultation with one of our skilled providers and get the skin you deserve this year!



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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD

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