With the wedding coming up, we know you’re doing all that you can to prepare for it, including making sure that your skin looks fantastic!
Planning the makeup artist is only half the story, though; it first begins with your skin being healthy from the inside – because that makes all the difference to how it looks on the outside.
Here’s how our skin cycle works: as old dead skin sheds off, the cells and proteins of skin are constantly restored from within.
Because of this, the skin’s texture, radiance, hydration and overall quality are always dependent on the nutrients it receives through the body.
The Skin Cycle
If the body isn’t receiving enough nutrition, it prioritises where its supply of nutrients should go, based on how important that part of the body is to our survival – leaving our skin way down in this priority list.
That’s why it’s imperative to load up on healthy food and help give your skin all the nutrients it needs.
Skin and Nutrition
Let’s take a look at the kind of food that can help your skin get wedding-ready!
1] Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radical damage, which is responsible for skin ageing, dullness and many other problems that we face. We can help our body fight this damage by eating foods that are known for their antioxidant properties!
Fruits and vegetables that are yellow, red and orange are in all likelihood loaded with a pigment called carotenoids.
A study has actually found that people who were perceived as healthier and more attractive (than others) had higher levels of carotenoids in their skin! That’s probably because our skin tone is determined by both carotenoids and melanin, and loading up on carotenoids can help reduce dullness.1
Carotenoids are pigments found in orange, red, yellow and some green fruits and vegetables
In addition to acting as antioxidants, these pigments have a load of other benefits.
Our body converts beta-carotene (a type of carotenoid) to a form of vitamin A, which is required for skin cells to grow and multiply. It also affects oil glands, which means it enhances the protection our skin gives our body and even fights dry skin. If you’re concerned about patchy skin, vitamin A has been shown to reduce pigmentation as well.2-4
Carotenoids are also excellent at giving your skin internal protection from the sun! Lycopene is a type of carotenoid found in tomatoes (which is, incidentally, what gives them their red colour). A study looked into the effects of beta-carotene and lycopene in the body, and found that lycopene has a tendency to line itself up against the inside of our skin. When the harmful rays of the sun create free radicals in our body, they are first met by lycopene, which absorbs them. This leaves beta-carotene (and the body’s natural antioxidants) free to carry out their other benefits, keeping our skin healthy.5
Tomato extract has also been shown to decrease an enzyme that breaks down the skin’s framework. It then goes on to increase our skin’s quantity of procollagen I, which can be thought of as collagen (our skin’s main protein) in its pre-made form. All of this would mean that it even contributes to the structure of our skin.6
Don’t forget to load up on nuts and spices either! For example, curcumin from turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant, while pepperine from black pepper increases the absorption of beta-carotene from food.
2] Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin C is very effective at offering protection from the sun’s effects, and is even required to help build new collagen.7 Citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon), non-citrus fruits (papaya, strawberries, pineapple, and kiwi) and green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin E, also great at fighting the harmful effects of the sun, is found in almonds, tofu, seeds, spinach, avocados and broccoli.8
Mushrooms are a great vegetarian source of vitamin D, which helps our skin heal wounds and aids in its repair.9
Eat plenty of leafy greens and dairy – they increase our calcium levels (which helps regulate the salt content in the skin’s water), for soft and hydrated skin!10
3] Healthy oils
Suffer from dry skin? The “good” fats that lock in the skin’s moisture can be obtained from food like nuts, avocados, flaxseed, fish, tofu and olives. Eating these also increases your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.10
For those suffering from oily skin, supplementation with an omega-6 fatty acid (specifically GLA, from Evening Primrose Oil) can help with the proper functioning of the oil glands.11,12
4] Healthy Lifestyle
Our skin tone is also affected by the amount of blood that’s circulating in the blood vessels close to our skin’s surface. Exercise on a regular basis can increase blood circulation, which gives our tone a pink, healthy-looking hue!
Exercise and sufficient sleep, both, can balance our hormones, which contribute to almost all the skin problems that we face. For example, sleep disorders are related to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which causes skin problems and weight gain.13
Skin Care Tips
Now that you’ve seen how the right nutrition can lead to healthy-looking skin, here’s some advice for your everday skincare regimen:
– Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects the skin from both the sunburn-causing UV-B rays, and the deeper-penetrating UV-A rays.14
– Look for non-cosmetic moisturisers (emollients) that are available over-the-counter, with ingredients like plant extracts and fats, which relieve dry skin.
– You can also try Nutrova Collagen + Antioxidants, a nutritional drink that packs skin-healthy nutrients (collage peptides, which are the building clocks of collagen, natural antioxidants, and vitamins), for healthy skin that looks great.
– Avoid exfoliating skin too much, since that too can cause inflammation. Signs of distress include redness and rashes.
– Soaps and synthetic detergents don’t just remove dirt; they also disturb the acidic/alkaline balance (pH) of skin, which then takes about three hours to return to normal.15 This can cause skin inflammation, so make sure you aren’t getting any of these in your face wash!
Now go ahead and prepare for skin that radiates health along with happiness on your big day!
1. Stephen ID, et al. Evolution and Human Behavior 2011, 32(3): 216-227.
2. Litwack G. Vitamin A; Vitamins and Hormones, vol. 75. Elsevier: London, UK, 2007.
3. Briganti S, et al. Pigment Cell Res 2003, 16(2): 101-110.
4. Lin JY, Fisher DE. Nature 2007, 445(7130): 843-850.
5. Ribaya-Mercado JD, et al. J Nutr 1995, 125(7): 1854-1859.
6. Rizwan M, et al. Br J Dermatol 2011, 164(1): 154-162.
7. Pinnell SR. Yale J Biol Med 1985, 58(6): 553-559.
8. Stahl W, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2000, 71(3): 795-798.
9. Cheung PCK. Nutrition Bulletin 2010, 35(4): 292-299.
10. Harding CR, et al. Int J Cosmet Sci 2000, 22(1): 21-52.
11. Fan YY, Chapkin RS. J Nutr 1998, 128(9): 1411-1414.
12. Muggli R. International Journal of Cosmetic Science 2005, 27(4): 243-249.
13. Van Cauter E. Diabet Med 2011, 28(12): 1455-1462.
14. Moyal DD, Fourtanier AM. J Am Acad Dermatol 2008, 58(5 Suppl 2): S149-154.
15. Athanassiou AE. British Journal of Dermatology 1964, 76(3): 122-125.