General Health

Does eating cautiously assure everlasting superior skin health?

Hectic routine, unbalanced habits and poor lifestyle patterns are putting lots of stress on the body and badly affecting appearance causing wrinkles, dark circles and blemishes over time. In contrast, the current social media-driven digital society demands stunning personality, outer beautification and unblemished body image. These play a key role to boost self-esteem and gain others’ applause. Hence evolving an impractical dream to look the best and have flawless skin. There is a huge requirement for being viewed as a youthful and super energetic person throughout life. All these are leading to the expansion of the beauty business and the launching of new beauty products around the year. Consumers are willing to spend a great deal of money to look great and stay youthful. Products like creams, lotions and potions can never guarantee good skin. Slowly the inter-link between beauty and youthfulness with inner health is gaining interest among a few health enthusiasts. They are curious to enhance their appearance through proper diet, physical activity, and other healthful habits. In this new world, being aware of how to stay healthy, choosing dietary choices wisely and simultaneously looking best is a genuine necessity.

What is skin and what are its functions?

It is the largest organ in the body. Healthy skin is slightly moist, soft and flexible, smooth and fine-grained, possesses a slightly acid reaction and reacts quickly to touch.

Functions of skin

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  1. It acts as a barrier to protect internal organs and cells from external elements

  2. It also helps regulate body temperature, mediate sensations of touch, and produce vitamin D, a key regulator of bone, immune, and vascular health

What is skin ageing?

Intrinsic skin ageing 

⦁ This is unpreventable and time-dependent

⦁ Occurs as a result of chronological ageing

⦁ Clinically expressed as smooth, dry, and thinned skin

Extrinsic skin ageing 

⦁ Occurs as a result of sun exposure, smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation and inadequate nutrition

⦁ Includes signs like photodamage, wrinkles, pigmented lesions, actinic keratosis and patchy hyperpigmentation

How nutrition is linked with healthy skin

Nutritional status has a basic function in the maintenance of healthy skin. Nutrition is closely associated with skin health and is required for all biological processes of skin throughout its lifecycle. Nutrition levels and eating habits repair damaged skin and can also cause damage to the skin.

How do anti-ageing nutrients work?

  1. Nutrients enter the skin as a precursor after digestion and absorption and participate in the synthesis and metabolism of skin components

  2. They relieve skin oxidative damage by removing cellular free radicals and enhancing antioxidant enzyme activity

  3. Also acts as an enzymatic factor, regulates the expression of enzymes, inhibits the degradation of skin components and maintains the integrity of the skin structure

Nutrients that improve skin health 

Antioxidant Protection

Vitamin E

  • Acts as an effective antioxidant against free radicals
  • Helps reduce age spots, wrinkles and stretch marks
  • Rich sources are olives, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, wheat germ and leafy greens

Selenium

  • Sometimes prevent and reverse photoaging
  • Rich sources are garlic, grains and brown rice

Photo-protection

Probiotic 

  • Helps preserve skin balance by modulating the skin immune system
  • Rich sources are curd, lassi and buttermilk

Green tea and grape seed extract

  • Increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the skin
  • Shields the skin from UV radiation
  • Intake should be under experts guidance

Collagen synthesis optimization

Vitamin C

  • It is an essential part of skin health
  • Critical for collagen synthesis, a key structural protein in the skin
  • Rich sources are broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, sprouts, amla, oranges, drumsticks and cucumber

Copper

  • Plays critical biochemical roles essential to the maturation and structural integrity of both collagen and elastin
  • Good sources are cashew, almond, potato, beans and nuts

Skin cell turnover

Vitamin A

  • It is critical for the normal life cycle of skin cells
  • Deficiency makes skin dry, fragile and prone to wrinkles
  • Modulates skin properties and protects the skin against sunburn and offers defence against UV-mediated damage
  • Rich sources are mango, peach, papaya, plum, watermelon, apricot and grapefruit

Zinc

  • Prevents free radical generation and reduces oxidative stress
  • Improves hyperpigmentation and wrinkling
  • Rich sources are nuts, walnuts, dals and whole grains

Anti-inflammatory effect

Curcumin and fresh ginger

⦁ Protects the skin from cutaneous signs of photoaging

Other useful skin nutrients

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)

  • Reduces oxidative stress, insulin resistance and inflammatory processes, thereby protecting the skin from extrinsic ageing
  • Prevents severe photoaging
  • Good sources are olive, avocado, walnut, flaxseeds and sesame

Adequate water and healthy fluids

  • Ensures proper hydration of the body
  • Helps in reducing skin dryness
  • Avoid 2-3 h before going to bed as this may cause puffiness and excessively stretchy skin

Eat a sufficient amount of energy

  • Low and inadequate calorie intake leads to skin damage and reduces skin repair
  • Choose good quality protein
  • It helps construct, repair and renew skin tissues
  • Avoid inadequate and excess intake of protein
  • Include protein sources like low-fat milk, meat, fish and eggs, pulses, seeds and nuts

Vitamin B1

  • Boosts circulation in the body and gives the skin a certain glow
  • Helps the skin to receive plenty of oxygen
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation and redness
  • Rich sources are egg yolks, nuts, raisins, tomatoes, broccoli and carrots

Iron

  • The toxicity of Iron increases the progression of photoaging
  • Iron intake should be as per age, physiological condition and gender

Bad diet for skin

  • High Sugar – promotes inflammation risk and rapid skin ageing
  • Spicy hot food –causes face redness with obvious capillary
  • Too much caffeine intake– causes dehydration but also has anti-inflammatory effects
  • Regular chocolate and fatty foods intake – increases sugar and saturated trans fats levels in the body
  • Frequent alcohol consumption -increases free radicals level and are diuretics in nature
  • Processed foods – lack essential micronutrients and contain excess preservatives
  • Fatty and fast foods and hydrogenised oils -are low in vitamins and minerals, and high levels of preservatives
  • High salt intake– enhances water retention and bloating
  • Starch and white flour products– reduce immunity
  • Stress -also hurt the skin, increases oil production, and blocks and inflames skin pores, which are the base for bacteria development
  • Habitual smoking –destroys the skin by depriving the cells of necessary oxygen

Basic skin types & appropriate care

1. Normal skin -smooth, consistent complexion, without obvious lipid traces, does not demand special care

Suggestions– drink adequate water and avoid high fat and deep-fried products

  1. Oily skin – mostly occurs due to malnutrition, hereditary factors, hormones, stress, wrong care

Suggestions- follow the right hygiene practices, eat a balanced diet and avoid simple carbohydrates and sweets

3. Dry skin- is due to genetics, weather conditions, inappropriate care and hygiene. There is not enough sebum or moisture produced by the skin

Suggestions– eat a diet rich in essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. Avoid high caffeine, fizzy drinks, deep-fried and processed foods

4. Mixed skin – characterized by the presence of fat in certain areas

Suggestions- in case of skin-related complications consult a specialist and offer a special care to the skin

  1. Sensitive skin –easily irritated, prone to redness and inflammation

 Suggestions– determine the cause of sensitivity and treat it immediately

Conclusion 

Skin ageing is a complex and long biological process. Although famous stem cell transplantation, injection of hyaluronic acid, and retinoic acid have certain therapeutic effects, all have corresponding disadvantages.

With the improvement of requirements for the effectiveness, safety, and durability of treatment methods, prevention, and relief from skin ageing through dietary management have become a popular trend.

Current understanding of diet to improve skin ageing is still insufficient and mostly ignored topic. It is difficult to accurately quantify the relationship between diet and skin ageing that convinces the mass population. It is tough to change the original lifestyle and diet, even if one has sufficient knowledge.

With the right awareness and continuous motivation, anti-ageing nutrients and healthy habits can be incorporated into the routine. Simultaneously negative lifestyle patterns can be avoided. Enhancement in skin ageing through diet should not be rushed, because it is a long-term process which requires calmness and patience. With a positive mindset, self-love and a disciplined lifestyle, good health, healthy skin and inner beauty can always be radiated and flaunted.

References

  1. J Dermat Cosmetol. 2018;2(6):122‒125

  2. Journal Of The Academy Of Nutrition And Dietitics,2022;122 (3):614-629

  3. Iran J Dermatol 2015; 18: 20-24

  4. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009;1(5):271–274

  5. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2011;10: 1–2

  6. Nutrients 2020, 12, 870

Author

Aparna Das Parmar

Aparna Parmar has over 8.5 years of rich experience in the field of nutrition and healthcare and is currently a corporate nutritionist.

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