Your diet could be to blame
Your skin is an incredible organ. It serves a number of important functions for keeping you healthy, but not many people stop to think that their skin may need help staying healthy as well. Dry skin can be caused by cold or dry weather, harsh soaps, sun or wind exposure, frequent showers, genetics, or dermatological problems, but it can also be directly affected by our diet.
Not enough fruit and vegetables
Maybe you worry fruit has too much sugar in it, or are too busy to shop, or forget to pack your lunches. Whatever the reason, if you aren’t getting in your 2-3 serves of fruit a day and 5 serves of vegetables, your skin isn’t going to be looking its best. Fruit and vegetables not only have a high water content, they also contain antioxidants that protect against damage from the environment and ageing. Choose a wide variety of colours.
Low fat diets
Those on weight loss diets, who are conscious of avoiding fats for heart health, or who just believe it’s healthier to avoid fats in their diet can in fact have inadequate intakes of essential fatty acids, which are important for maintaining healthy skin. Omega 3 and omega 6 fats are unable to be synthesised by our bodies, and as such we need to get these though our diet. Great sources include fatty fish such as salmon, shellfish, fish oil tablets, canola and olive oil, avocado, chia seeds, and walnuts.
High sugar/high GI diets
Foods high in sugar, or made of high GI carbohydrates will cause a fast influx of sugar into your bloodstream, which stimulates the release of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows the sugar to get out of your blood and into your muscles, organs, and brain where it is used for energy. An unfortunate side effect of having insulin spikes can be acne.
Treatments for acne prone skin often involve topical treatments which can be very drying for the skin. Choosing low GI carbohydrates and avoiding processed sugary foods may help improve acne, and allow for gentler skin care products to be used.
Poor intakes of foods containing vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc can result in dry skin. It is important to ensure a regular intake of foods such as tropical and citrus fruits, sweet potato, eggs, carrots, dark green leafy veggies, fish, tomatoes, peas, berries, oysters, red meat and poultry, dairy products, and nuts. Food sources tend to be more effective than vitamin supplements due to the complex interactions of nutrients in foods.