Does anyone else hate acne as much as I do? As a teenager, I’m pretty sure I thought acne was the bane of my existence. I was 100% convinced I had the worst acne of any teenager ever. Looking back, I now know that was FAR from the truth. However, I had the normal pimply face here and there and was plagued by self-consciousness & self-criticism, to the point where I wouldn’t want to leave the house if I had a big zit that popped up over night. But life happens, right? Hah, try telling that to 15 year old me. My sister never had problems with acne, so I was in constant comparison, wishing I had her baby soft complexion. After high school, my skin definitely cleared up a bit, but I still never had perfect skin. I tried all the creams, ointments, prescriptions, and lotions that I could get my hands on.
Never once during those years did I ever think that the FOOD I was eating contributed to my skin. Not only my complexion and my facial health, but my entire body’s skin (which is your largest organ, by the way!) is affected by the foods we eat. However, once I began my journey into the health food world and changing my lifestyle to one that was dedicated to taking care of myself, I began to notice a correlation between the food I ate, and the complexion of my skin. Now, I am finally finding my face clearing up. I hardly ever have skin issues or deal with acne. And I owe it all to the foods I am putting into my body. There is no cream or facewash that can counteract a bad diet. What you put in your body effects every part of your body, including your skin!
After going plant-based and cutting out almost all animal products, I have seen a significant improvement in my skin. Now, I am not advocating veganism or even becoming vegetarian, but for me this is what has worked. And worked mightily. The animal products I was putting into my body were not processing well and led to a host of different issues, acne being one. Along this journey, I have found many different foods that have helped increase healthy skin/complexion and have reversed my skin issues that I have dealt with most of my life! As promised, I have compiled a list of the best foods/tips that I have found for healthy, glowing skin. I honestly do not use hardly ANY supplements or facial products anymore. The food we eat frees us up to stop relying on the expensive products we are all so willing and ready to shell out big dollars for!
Not only are avocados one of my favorite foods, but they are rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and important phytochemicals (source). They are rich in vitamins K, A, E, and C, as well as antioxidants and have many anti-aging properties. All these things contribute to healthier skin! Additionally, if applied topically, you can gain even more of its incredible properties. No wonder it has been affectionately coined “natures butter!” Oh, I believe it! I eat avocado DAILY, sometimes with every single meal. No such thing as too much avocado in my book.
If you read my last post on my newfound love of collagen, you are not surprised that it made the top of my list. I fell in love with Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides which have not only strengthened and lengthened my hair, but its been amazing for my skin. As we age, we develop more wrinkles as we lose the elasticity and firmness in our skin. This is due to the lack of collagen production as we age, which is why supplementing with collagen is so beneficial! My skin has never felt so amazing. I also just got to try Vital Proteins new Beauty Water, “which works from the inside out to restore and revitalize overall wellness and natural beauty. Rich in natural hyaluronic acid and probiotics, Collagen Beauty Water, are blended with non-GMO Project Verified Marine Collagen to improve skin elasticity and moisture, nurture good gut health, and strengthen hair and nails.” I am a big believer in healing and health through whole foods and nutrition, and this product has worked WONDERS, which is why I have fallen in love with it! You can add the beauty water into a glass of water by itself, into smoothies, oatmeal, your matcha, etc!
My current obsession! I have been drinking matcha on the daily for the past couple months, and I have been absolutely loving it. I finally made the switch from coffee to green tea after dealing with some serious digestive issues from my crazy caffeine consumption. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2011, people who drank green tea, which contains polyphenols, daily for 12 weeks had skin that was more elastic and smooth, and had one-quarter less sun damage when exposed to UV light compared to a control group. This is great for me for so many reasons, especially since I get so much sun exposure in Hawaii! The polyphenols also make it an antioxidant and and anti-inflammatory. Need I go on?
Salmon is one of the only animal products that I eat, mainly because of its amazing health benefits. Salmon is rich in antioxidants that calm inflammation. The free fatty acids in salmon serve as building blocks for healthy skin cells by reinforcing the skin cells and keeping moisture in and irritants out!
Almonds are another food that I absolutely eat on the daily. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent signs of aging caused by free radicals. The vitamin E also helps nourish your skin and help protect it from the damaging effects of UV. If you’re seeing a pattern, YES, most of these foods are fatty foods. Healthy fats are huge in maintaining healthy skin. Other nuts and seeds such as walnuts and pumpkin seeds are excellent “skin food” as well! I used to be so afraid of eating fats because they are so calorie rich, but now a huge proportion of my diet consists of healthy fats, and I have never felt better. Don’t fear the fat!
First of all, can I just say how in love I am with papaya?! I never ever tasted something so delicious than when I first tried a fresh from the tree Hawaiian papaya. Life changing. I was stoked to hear about the amazing benefits papayas can have on your skin as well! Papayas and other tropical fruits are rich in Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C also helps your body produce collagen (back to collagen, I know)!
I know, water is not a food, per se. But water is honestly one of the MOST important things you can consume to keep your skin looking healthy and fresh. Our bodies are made up of 50-60% water, so it is incredibly important to keep fueling that system. Water helps to keep our cells plump and full, which will give your skin a firmer and clearer complexion. It also flushes toxins out of your body, delivers nutrients to your cells, and keeps your organs functioning optimally. I am constantly drinking water throughout the day, and have my hydro flask on me wherever I go. Remember, a lot of fruits and veggies are made up of almost 75% water, so adding those into your diet is another great way to stay hydrated!
Okay, again, not a food. BUT, I cannot stress the importance of getting a good night’s sleep on the health of your skin (and your overall health in general). I aim for 7-9 hours every single night, and make it an absolute priority. Your body repairs and replenishes while you snooze. Skin produces new collagen while you sleep as well as boosting blood flow, so skimping on sleep can cost you the benefits of both these processes. Plus, who wants those dark bags under your eyes after a night of little sleep? Your body cannot function optimally if you are not giving it enough time to rest and recover. So remind yourself you are actually being productive while you lay down to sleep each night! Make it a priority!
These are just some of the many things I do/eat to keep my skin feeling healthy and clear. Like I said, it has been quite the journey to figure out what works for me. Obviously, there are foods that I avoid eating that contribute to unhealthy skin. I stay away from excess sugar, processed foods, and foods with inflammatory oils in them. I actually see a considerable difference in my skin when I eat a little too much extra sugar one week, which really makes me consider the cost each time I grab for that extra cookie! For me, the break outs and flares are not worth it! But my body, and yours too, is individual and unique and can react differently than other people to certain things. I would love to hear what some of you eat for your skin, and what you do to keep your skin healthy and thriving!
XOXO, tessa jean.