Ever wondered if what you eat could actually make your skin look better and help fight off the signs of ageing? Well, it turns out that the foods we eat play a big role in how our skin looks and how it ages. The foods we consume act as more than just fuel for our bodies; they serve as building blocks for the very foundation of our skin’s resilience and radiance. From antioxidant-rich options to essential fatty acids, our diet functions as a shield against the oxidative stress that contributes to premature ageing. That’s why we spoke to Dr Wafaa El-Mouhebb, advanced aesthetics practitioner at Dr Wafaa Clinic, who shares the 7 foods that can help with the appearance of skin and anti-ageing.
When we think of anti-oxidants, we often think of brightly coloured veggies and fruit. However, the powerful carotenoid astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant predominantly found in seafood, such as salmon, lobster, krill, crayfish, brown crab meat and prawns. It’s naturally bright pink or red, which is what gives these foods their colour. Astaxanthin is an incredible naturally occurring nutrient that should get more attention for the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties are great for protecting fatty membranes found deep within our skin, which helps to keep it hydrated, bouncy and dewy. Helping to keep skin hydrated is essential for
preventing premature signs of ageing, and discouraging wrinkle formation. Astaxanthin has even been found to be up to 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C for its antioxidant properties! As well as this, studies have found that it can help with UV induced skin deterioration or sun damage, possibly because of its powerful anti-oxidant activity.
The skin is a hungry organ, needing a wide variety of nutrients to stay healthy. When it comes to collagen production, we need Vitamin C first and foremost, as it is an integral nutrient for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to neutralise free radicals that can damage skin cells and contribute to premature ageing. To ensure we are getting enough Vitamin C in our diet, eat citrus fruits and plenty of leafy greens, such as spinach and kale. For better skin health, we should be aiming for 7-10 portions per day. Whilst Vitamin C can help promote collagen synthesis, it’s important to note oral collagen does not stimulate dermal collagen. This means that consuming collagen through food doesn’t directly increase the production of collagen within your skin’s dermis. The dermis is the deeper layer of skin where most of the collagen responsible for its structure and elasticity resides. The best way to boost collagen production in your skins is via collagen stimulating injections like Hyper-diluted radiesse or Sculptra. Make sure to see a reputable aesthetics practitioner for safe treatment, and book in for a skin consultation beforehand to get a detailed assessment of your skin and your skin’s health.
Immune booster, energiser, mood elevator, you name it; zinc tends to be involved with anything important in the body. The skin is no exception and uniquely, zinc seems to work to discourage spots coming by helping to balance hormones and normalise testosterone levels. Zinc is also essential for the production of collagen, which ultimately is what heals the skin after we have had spots. To get zinc from your diet, eat poultry varieties such as chicken, turkey, duck, or goose. If you’re a vegetarian, eating sunflower or pumpkin seeds can also be a good source of zinc. Often people complain that spots and small scars heal slowly, or leave discolouration or pigmentation and zinc can really help with this. However, healing scarring can take an incredibly long time, so I would recommend opting for a medium-depth medical-grade chemical peel that is suitable for all skin types. Look for ingredients such as kojic acid, glutathione and retinoic acid in your peel which can help neutralise melanin, reducing the visibility of sunspots, post acne hyperpigmentation, freckles, and melasma.
Biotin is a B vitamin, also known as vitamin B7. B vitamins are an important player in the production of energy molecules and the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they dissolve in water and are not stored for long-term use. Once your body has enough water-soluble vitamins, any excess is excreted through
urine. This characteristic makes it less likely for biotin toxicity to occur from dietary sources. Therefore, increasing biotin in your diet is generally considered safe. Biotin deficiency can lead to brittle nails and hair, scaly skin, dry eyes and more. To increase biotin through your diet, opt for eggs. Though eggs can be eaten in several different ways, one whole, cooked egg provides approximately 27 percent of the AI of biotin. Raw egg whites have an enzyme called avidin, which blocks the absorption of biotin. Eggs are also a good source of protein and provide a complete range of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, which help to moisturise and protect the skin by preventing water loss. By maintaining the skins natural moisture balance, this contributes to a smoother and softer skin. Vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant, helping to defend the skin against oxidative stress which occurs when our bodies produce high levels of potentially harmful molecules. Oxidative stress can lead to premature ageing, chronic inflammation and in worst cases, skin diseases such as cancer. By helping to neutralise free radicals in the skin, antioxidants like vitamin E found in avocados help protect the skin from these harmful effects.
Redness, soreness, and itching skin is caused by inflammatory reactions in the skin, and prolonged problems can be a sign of systemic inflammation. Certain foods can make this worse with sugar, fatty and processed meats, dairy and white carbs being major culprits. Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, contain essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. As well as regulating the skins oil production, improving hydration, and minimising the appearance of fine lines, these healthy fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and skin. Omega-3s can also help soften rough, dry skin, and have a soothing effect on irritation and dermatitis to support a healthy complexion. Consider adding nuts to salads, yogurt, smoothies, or consuming them as snacks to get more healthy fatty acids into your diet. Other food sources for these include salmon, chia seeds, soya beans and flaxseeds. If your skin is in need of a hydration boost, try Exosome Facial Rejuvenation which can significantly enhance your skin’s quality, making it look healthier and more youthful. It can immediately reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve skin texture, instead of having to rely on food sources, like nuts, for a long period of time.
Water is like fertiliser for your skin. When you drink enough, it’s like giving your skin cells a regular drink, keeping them plump and healthy. Hydrated skin prevents your skin from looking tired, dull, and grey. When skin lacks moisture, fine lines and wrinkles may appear more noticeable and dehydrated skin can develop rough, flaky patches. Drinking plenty of water helps the skin appear more supple and smooth, as well as support the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is a structural protein that provides support to the skin, helping it maintain its elasticity and firmness. As well as this, drinking enough water helps maintain blood circulation, ensuring that nutrients and oxygen reach the skin cells efficiently. To stay hydrated, I would recommend drinking between 8-10 glasses of water a day.