Eat Right for Your Skin Type Dry Skin vs Dehydrated Skin vs Combination Skin ... and 3 more
Edited by Jasmin, Eng, Maria Quinney
A wide variety of factors can influence your skin's appearance on any given day. Stress levels, the environment, hormones, diet, and improper usage of skincare products, are just a few examples. But beneath it all, each of us has a skin type and there are ways to keep them balanced and harmonious. It's never too late to discover what skin type you have, and how you can use food to nourish it and maintain a youthful glow. Since everybody is different, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to skin care; use the following recommendations as your springboard to skin enrichment.
Method 1: Dry Skin
- 1If your skin feels irritated and itchy, looks red and flaky, and your pores are nearly invisible, you're likely dealing with a dry skin type. People with dry skin lack proper oil production and oil is vital for locking moisture in the skin. In the absence of oil, you're left with an overall feeling of tautness and an elevated occurrence of rough, patchy, inflamed skin. The best course of action is to start incorporating more fats and oils into your diet. Of course, not all of these are created equal. You'll want to steer clear of trans-fats and hydrogenated oils, and focus on essential fats and unprocessed oils.Advertisement
- 2Omega 3 fatty acids, in particular, work double duty for dry skin. Not only do they help to increase moisture levels in skin cells to reduce flakiness, their anti-inflammatory properties can also help to diminish the inflammation causing red patches. Walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocados, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, and algae oil, are a good list of foods to start getting familiar with.Advertisement
- 3Coconut oil, while not an Omega 3, is still technically a healthy fat and is especially great for its versatility. It makes a fantastic alternative to less nutritious cooking oils, but you can also use it as a body moisturizer! The best time to use coconut oil topically is immediately after a shower, when your pores are still open and ready to absorb all that coco goodness.
Method 2: Dehydrated Skin
- 1You may be surprised to learn that dehydrated skin is a completely separate issue from dry skin. In fact, dehydrated skin is not really a skin type at all; it's a skin condition. That means even if your skin is oily or acne-prone, it could still be suffering from dehydration at the same time. Many people notice a difference in their skin during weather extremes, very hot or very cold, but there are a number of factors that contribute to dehydration. Prolonged sun or wind exposure, high stress levels, poor diet, and the overuse of harsh or drying skin products are all to blame for dehydrating your skin.Advertisement
- 2It may seem obvious, but the best way to combat this condition through diet is by rehydrating your body. Drinking plenty of clean, filtered water and freshly prepared juices is a great first step. You'll also want to focus on consuming high water-content foods like fruits and vegetables.
Method 3: Combination Skin
- 1The most common skin type, typically characterized by an oily t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and dry, or relatively "normal" skin most everywhere else. You may experience different levels of oiliness and dryness depending on the weather. However, combination skin presents itself in myriad ways, so it won't always follow that exact description. It's because of these variables that treating combination skin is made so tricky. How do you nourish the dry parts of your skin without neglecting, or exacerbating, the oily parts? The answer is easy, but also a little vague; eat a balanced diet.
Method 4: Oily Skin
- 1Skin that constantly looks and feels moist, not just in an isolated area and especially around midday. Predisposed to blackheads, whiteheads, and breakouts in general. All of these symptoms characterize what's known as oily or acne-prone skin. In direct contrast to dry skin, oily skin is caused by an excess secretion of oil, which is what contributes to clogged pores and leads to breakouts. This might be the most dreaded skin type and the disdain is reasonable; no one likes dealing with pimples. But, there's also reason to believe people with oily skin may have a harder time developing wrinkles. So, it's all about perspective, you know? Oily skin is genetic so there's no miracle cure, but there are a number of ways to help balance and reduce oil production through diet.
- 2There are three key things to remember in combating oil and acne: choose foods that increase circulation, flush out toxins, and remove inflammation. Spices like cayenne pepper and cinnamon, as well as ginger and garlic can improve circulation, so toxins aren't just hanging around and clogging up pores. High fibrous foods, like raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, will then help to speed up the removal of those toxins. Finally, anti-inflammatory foods will reduce, well, inflammation. That includes everything already mentioned but, and this may seem counterintuitive, healthy fats should not be overlooked. While the wrong kinds of fat are absolutely the cause of inflammation, healthful fats, like Omega 3, are actually anti-inflammatory. So don't skip on walnuts, flaxseeds, or avocados, but don't overdo it, either.
- 3You'll also definitely want to avoid dairy products as they contribute to oil production, and even small amounts of alcohol can be breakout triggers for some people because of its high sugar content.
Method 5: Aging Skin
- 1Technically, everyone has aging skin. However, the older we get, the harder it is for our cells to perform their regenerative processes. Collagen production starts to slow down, oxidative damage is more difficult to prevent, and wrinkles start becoming more prominent. It's a bummer, but at least it's universal. No matter what life stage you're in, there are steps you can take to ease this process and make it as manageable as possible.
- 2First up, load yourself with antioxidants. They do the miracle work of neutralizing free radicals, molecules that attacks healthy cells and produce oxidation, which lead to premature aging. You may find it useful to memorize the acronym ACES, which stands for vitamins A, C, and E, and the mineral selenium, as those are the most powerful antioxidant nutrients. Berries, especially blueberries and blackberries, and dark leafy greens should be on your plate at least once a day, if not more. Due to their vitamin C content, they pack a double-dose of anti-aging in each serving.
- 3In addition to fighting oxidative damage, Vitamin C also helps boost collagen production. Collagen is a connective tissue, which helps give our skin its structure. The slower our collagen production is, the more at risk we are for developing fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen is a protein, so it also needs plenty of amino acids for its proper maintenance. "Clean burning" proteins are most beneficial because they're so easy on the digestive system. Lentils and organic soy are great options as they also contain lysine, which is maybe the most essential amino acid for collagen production.
- 4As much as possible, try to avoid prolonged sun exposure, highly processed foods, and trans-fats.
Method 6: All Skin Types
- 1Water. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's surprising to learn that many people still underestimate the importance of life's most vital liquid. Water is the primary ingredient in every cell and our skin, like all other organs, is made from cells. So, you can see why water deserves our attention. It hydrates and replenishes skin tissue, allows nutrients to flow through the bloodstream, and ensures toxins are regularly flushed out. The standard recommendation is to consume 2 liters per day. However, during warmer temperatures and periods of physical activity, you'll need more to counteract the loss of fluid through sweat.
- 2Digestive Stimulants. If your digestive system isn't functioning at an optimal level, many of the above recommendations won't truly be able to aid in skin enhancement. Without proper digestion, our bodies are unable to fully assimilate and distribute the nutrients necessary for healthy skin. So, if you've tried to use diet to improve your skin before but never gained the desired results, you may want to consider paying attention to your gut. Fermented foods and drinks, like kimchi and kombucha, provide a wealth of good bacteria for a healthy belly. Warm lemon-water in the morning will kick start the digestive process for the day. And both pineapple and papaya contain natural digestive enzymes, which can help to ease the workload on your stomach and intestines.
- 3Alcohol & Caffeine. While excessive amounts of these substances can be damaging to the skin, it's not very reasonable to expect people to just give them up altogether. It's all about moderation, right? For the sake of knowledge, though, here are a few things to be aware of. Alcohol and caffeine do interrupt proper sleep cycles, especially when consumed too close to bedtime, and they may be the underlying cause of dark under-eye circles. They can also contribute to dry and dehydrated skin because of their diuretic nature. They also wreak havoc on our hormones, which may be particularly harmful for those of us with acne-prone skin. The bottom line: don't overdo it with these substances, but don't deprive yourself of the small pleasures they can bring, either.
We can apply that line of thinking to skin care in general. It's important to put our best face forward but it's not about depriving ourselves; it's about discovering just how delicious eating right for your skin type can be.