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Scientific research makes it abundantly clear that a healthy diet wards off disease and helps maintain a healthy body. What is not so well known is that a diet rich in beneficial foods can help keep our skin younger looking, longer. Combined with a well-formulated skin care routine and being sun-smart, eating a "skin-friendly" diet can be a significant part of achieving and keeping younger, healthier skin as you age!
If you use Paula's Choice products or those we recommend on Beautypedia and diligent daily use of SPF 15+, you're already avoiding sun damage and irritating ingredients that generate inflammation in skin, both of which damage collagen and elastin. In much the same way irritants and sun damage causes inflammation, eating unhealthy, processed foods can cause inflammation in the body—and you'll eventually see this on your skin!
When we say "inflammation" in connection with your diet, we don't mean how upsetting the bill can be after a trip to Whole Foods, we're talking about the type of inflammation that occurs within our bodies. Chronic inflammation whether from your diet or other sources, floods the body with stress hormones, stimulates pain receptors (so you feel worn down), destroys healthy collagen, limits cell renewal, slows your body's ability to heal itself, and may increase acne breakouts.
Many of the foods people eat on a regular basis worsen chronic inflammation, especially when paired with other unhealthy lifestyle choices like unprotected sun exposure and/or smoking. Because of this, it's easy to see why using great skin-care products is only part of the plan to keep your skin smooth, younger-looking, and healthy regardless of your age.
Perhaps the most tempting yet pro-aging and possibly pro-acne food to avoid is sugar. Here's why sugar isn't as sweet as you think!
Sugar in the body creates glycation, and that's not good news. Glycation refers to a chemical reaction that occurs when the sugar you eat interacts with your body's important lipids and proteins. This reaction forms advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are destructive inflammation producing molecules that contribute to disease, increased free radical damage, wrinkles, sagging, and theoretically acne (after all acne is an inflammatory skin disorder).
When sugary sweets make a regular appearance in your diet, the rate of glycation increases, and that adds to the "AGEing" process.
Eating the right foods and minimizing those that are the worst for triggering inflammation and AGEs is an anti-aging MUST. Not to mention a nutrient-rich diet helps cut your risk of multiple diseases and other health issues. Research has demonstrated the following foods as the worst of inflammation-promoting and AGEing offenders:
Theoretically, an anti-inflammation diet can indeed be a benefit for potentially reducing breakouts, but there isn't definitive research pinpointing that to any specific foods as "acne causing." Here's what we know about the foods most often blamed for breakouts:
While there is no definitive association for any dietary aspect of acne it doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment to see what works for you! For example, fish and dairy may possibly combine with other factors to promote breakouts for some. If you suspect that dairy or other foods triggering acne, try leaving it out of your diet for a few months and see what happens.
These foods are far from flavorless or boring, and they have been shown to reduce inflammation, and reduce the glycation process. The next time you're jotting down your grocery list, be sure to add these anti-inflammatory, appearance-boosting foods (and leave the Cheetos and sugared drinks on the shelf):
Start eating an anti-aging/anti-acne diet now! It's never too late. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the more beautiful things you can do for yourself and your skin. Routinely eating the right foods can lead to healthier skin cell production, reduced dry skin, a more radiant complexion, fewer breakouts, less wrinkles, and greater skin resiliency so you look younger, longer. This dietary approach complements using the right skin-care products (from Paula's Choice or those we recommend from Beautypedia,) and of course, daily sun protection is an absolute must!
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international TV including:
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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective.
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