Skin Health and Nutrition

Does what you eat relate to skin health? Many anti-aging face creams contain vitamins and minerals that are thought to delay signs of aging or improve skin health. It is tempting to think that a person can eat specific foods to keep skin healthy or improve skin problems, but with one exception, experts have not proven that. The exception is if a person has food allergies that result in a skin rash; their food choices could affect the appearance of the skin.

Food allergies and intolerances

Your skin is not necessarily affected if you have food allergies or intolerances. In some cases, atopic dermatitis, or minor skin breakouts that are considered a form of eczema, are caused by food allergies or food intolerances. If you notice that you are breaking out after eating certain foods, try to avoid them to see if your skin clears up. If you have more severe problems related to eating those foods, you should see your doctor for allergy testing.

Fried foods

The reasons to eat fewer fried foods are many, especially because they can contribute to unwanted weight gain. However, skin experts have not proven a connection between food and acne. Acne is caused when skin pores and/or hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil that occurs naturally on the skin. If a person is prone to acne, their diet does not seem to make a difference in how often breakouts occur or how severe they are.

This does not mean teens should not watch their diet. Eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and regular exercise can keep their entire body, including their skin, looking the best it can.

Eczema

Eczema covers many inflamed skin conditions. Although it can look different from one person to another, it is usually seen as dry, red, itchy patches on the skin. Experts have not found a connection between diet and eczema. However, if you think that certain foods are affecting your skin, by all means try avoiding them to see if you notice any improvements.

Younger-looking skin

Some experts think a connection exists between the types of foods you eat and the appearance of aging skin. At this time this is unclear, but we will probably learn more about the relationship between aging skin and food in the future.

References:

American Academy of Dermatology. Acne myths. Available at: www.skincarephysicians.com/acnenet/myths.html. Accessed January 2, 2009.

American Academy of Dermatology. What is eczema? Available at: www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/whatis.html. Accessed January 2, 2009.

Boeslma E, Hendriks HF, Roza L. Nutritional skin care: health effects of micronutrients and fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr [serial online]. 2001;73:853-864. Available at: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/73/5/853?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Boelsma&fulltext=Nutritional+skin+care&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&volume=73&firstpage=853&resourcetype=HWCIT. Accessed January 2, 2009.

Magin P, Pond D, Smith W, Watson A. A systematic review of the evidence for ‘myths and misconceptions’ in acne management: diet, face-washing, and sunlight. Fam Pract [serial online]. 2005;22:62-70. Available at: http://fampra.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/22/1/62. Accessed January 2, 2009