Skin, although it feels delicate and sensitive, has a very responsible function in our body. Its main tasks include, first of all, protection from external factors - mechanical, biological and chemical. It is also the first barrier for bacteria trying to reach us from the outside and the secretory properties - it helps to remove toxins from the body. For us, skin is also an aesthetic element and a kind of informant - what happens to the skin is usually reflected in other areas of our body.
Healthy skin - what does it mean actually?
What is healthy skin characterised by? First of all, it is smooth, firm, moisturized and radiant, devoid of imperfections in the form of pimples, scratches, blackheads. When there are unwanted changes, stains, discolorations, pustules, when it becomes less elastic, dry, itchy, then it signals to us that the skin lacks the various compounds necessary for proper functioning.
What factors can adversely affect the condition of the skin?
- Above all, an inadequate diet that lacks vitamins and minerals;
- Abuse of detergents - some of them contain very strong and harmful to the skin substances, so choose either natural products (if available) or use them during dishwashing and cleaning with special gloves
- Abuse of alcohol, smoking, use of other stimulants
- Hormonal determinants and genetic predisposition - there is no reason to talk of certain areas of the body where deterioration of the skin condition may be indicative of certain disorders of the endocrine system
- Stress and fatigue, lack of sleep
- Inadequate hygiene, poorly selected cosmetic products
- Diseases and inflammation
What vitamins and minerals have a particularly beneficial effect on the condition of the skin?
Vitamin A - present in animal products and some vegetables and fruits (mainly red, green and yellow), affects the skin's nice colour and healthy appearance. It also helps remove discolorations, and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the skin layer, which makes the skin firmer. Because of its regenerative properties, it supports healing of epidermal wounds, acne treatment and psoriasis.
Vitamin E - which is found in vegetable oils, fatty fish and nuts, protects the skin from free radicals, promotes regeneration and slows down the aging process.
Vitamin C - has similar properties to vitamin E – it’s a potent antioxidant, promotes skin regeneration. We supply it with many vegetables and fruits - the best source will be seasonal, which are exposed to natural sunlight and fresh air.
Also important minerals for the skin are things like zinc, selenium, calcium, potassium, iron, copper and silicon. Each of them has properties to support the main functions of the skin, maintain flexibility, moisturize, and support regeneration. Therefore, the diet cannot be missing wholegrains, eggs, fish and meat in the broad sense (avoid monotony and, as far as possible, enrich the diet with meat of different origins and different parts). It’s also good to eat legumes nuts, pits, as well as oils from different plants.
Polyphenols are another antioxidant, strengthening our skin and its protective functions. Thanks to them, aging processes are slowed down, cells regenerate faster and skin is able to perform its basic functions longer. An excellent source of polyphenols is green and black tea, as well as vegetables and fruits of intense colour. These are, among other things, peppers, beets, cherries, blackcurrants, and chokeberries - the darker ones, more rich in polyphenols.
Which foods have negative effects on the skin?
We already know what to do to enrich the diet so that the skin is nourished, regenerated faster and function properly. What, however, can block these processes? There are products that can have opposite effects to the ones described above - more tendencies to dry or grease the skin, acne, slow wound healing, etc.
For many people, these products are processed food, in the broad sense. Processed food is devoid of many nutrients and can be enriched by artificial additives to improve the taste or appearance of the product or to prolong its artificial freshness. Excess of such ingredients, and deficiency of those proper, in the long run will contribute to deterioration of the skin.
If, in turn, we care for quality diets and the skin continues to malfunction, it is important to be concerned about food intolerances that may be manifested by skin reactions such as urticaria, eczema, redness, itching and others. Sometimes such a reaction can be a one-off, for example after eating fruit or vegetable sprouts, or appear regularly - then it is interesting to know which factor is repeated every time the skin reactions occur.
If not a diet, what else has a negative impact on the skin?
As already mentioned, there are many factors that can negatively affect the skin and need not be related to food. One of those factors could be e.g. stress. Its excess affects our immune system, which affects the appearance of dermatological diseases such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, alopecia, vitiligo and other inflammatory conditions. Of course, stress is not the only factor causing the disease, but it is responsible for their development and aggravation, as well as hindering treatment.
If in turn most of the skin lesions are observed around the face, it’s worth looking at your hormonal economy. There are sex hormone receptors in the skin and most of them are in the face. When the hormones are affected, the appearance of dry and reddened skin can often be noticed, and later on, with the dilation of the disorder - also the "aging" of the skin. The hormone theme is very broad and the causes of the disorder can be various sources, such as insulin sensitivity problems, excess toxic compounds supplied to the body through the use of drugs or contaminated environment, vitamins and minerals deficiency, inadequate hygiene and lifestyle.
It is certainly worth doing some tests and after interpreting the results, contacting a specialist to find out the cause of the disorder together.
Skin condition - summarization
The skin is very important for us, so it’s worth taking care of it both from the outside and from the inside, to eat and wash it properly. Avoid stimulants and also take care of environmental factors that can cause more stress.