As an aesthetics practitioner, you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with the question, “How do I achieve glowing skin?” Although the plethora of creams, peels and procedures that work by sloughing away dead skin and kick-starting the cycle of new cells are fantastic, a radiant, natural glow from within that comes from a healthy, balanced diet is inimitable. The food that we eat gets digested, enters the bloodstream, and is subsequently circulated to your skinso everything we eat can affect our skin. Many foods can help enhance your glow, and a few can do the exact opposite.
We’ve rounded up the best foods to help your clients achieve a healthy glow and foods to avoid.
THE BEST BEAUTY FOODS
Sulphur Sulphur, AKA the ‘beauty mineral’, is a nonmetallic element found in a number of foods that can benefit the skin, hair and nails. It has detoxifying properties and can help boost immunity and counteract diseases such as arthritis. Sulphur exists within all our connective tissue, supporting and connecting our organs. It can continuously build and rebuild collagen and keratin, essential for shiny hair, plump skin and strong nails.
Sulphur rich foods include eggs, freerange meats, shellfish, garlic, lettuce, onions, raspberries, cabbage, turnips, kale and Brussel sprouts.
Zinc is an essential mineral-meaning the body cannot produce it. Instead, we need to include zinc in our daily diet. The good news is that we only need a tiny amount of zinc in our diet each day, and once ingested, it plays a crucial part in over 300 enzymatic processes .1 These processes include protein synthesis and wound healing (ideal for helping to treat acne). It also helps in the metabolism of omega 3s and is needed to build keratin, which helps form the skin’s structural protein – collagen.
Therefore, not only will zinc promote cell division and repair, giving the look of ‘dewy skin’, it is also great for eczema sufferers. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, grass-fed beef, organic milk, liver, lamb, cheese, eggs, shellfish and certain cereals and nuts. Highquality supplements might also be a good choice if not enough zinc is being received through diet.
Not only are sardines full of vitamin B-12 which supplies the body with energy, but they are also full of omega-3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 can help the skin to become smoother, more supple and clearer.
As well as whole sardines, boneless, skinless, and headless varieties are available and are delicious spread on some sourdough bread with a squeeze of lemon. They go great in salads, with avocado, or in pasta too. Alternatively, supplements offer a great boost of omega 3 in the form of a capsule.
“Aloe vera is a gorgeous succulent plant-treasured for its health and beauty properties since ancient times”
Aloe vera is a gorgeous succulent planttreasured for its health and beauty properties since ancient times. The antiinflammatory effects of aloe vera are one of its best-known uses, often used as a soothing skin gel or ingested to calm symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Targeting any digestive issues the client may have will help improve the way the body absorbs vitamins and minerals, which will give a youthful glow and more energy. Try recommending two tablespoons of aloe vera juice twice a day. Aloe juice can be found in most health food shops.
Fresh, ideally organic, leafy green produce is fantastic for the skin and body. Spinach, for example, is a super-food rich in iron, folate, chlorophyll, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin A, fibre, plant protein and vitamin C.
Equally as beneficially as spinach is kale – one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet – as it’s high in vitamin K, which protects our bones and supports a healthy circulatory system by strengthening capillary walls. Capillaries (tiny blood vessels) are essential for a healthy complexion as they deliver freshly oxygenated blood and nutrients to skin cells.
An easy and accessible snack on the go, almonds are rich in magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin E, phosphorus and protein. Just a handful a day not only staves off hunger but can lower cholesterol, support strong bones and teeth and boost the metabolism.
Almonds are also loaded with antioxidants, making them a significant help in fighting against inflammation, acne, psoriasis and rashes.
Chia seeds are packed with fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and are rich in vitamin A and C. Consequently, they can boost skin radiance and elasticity, helping the skin achieve a glowing look.
Chia seeds can also help stabilise blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of diabetes, and keep hunger levels (and weight gain) under control. Plus, pound for pound, they’ve got more calcium than milk, meaning stronger bones, teeth and nails.
Cucumbers are rich in water, meaning they’re great for hydration, which, when ingested, can help plump out fine lines and wrinkles. They also contain a good amount of dietary fibre, which can help in feeling fuller for longer and less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.
Cucumbers contain calcium, magnesium, potassium and folate – which are all great for the skin, as well as vitamins A, B1, B6, C and D.
Silica –a trace mineral found in high levels in cucumbers – contributes to the growth and maintenance of connective tissue throughout our bodies. As it’s found in the skin of cucumbers, organic is best to avoid potentially harmful pesticides.
People have been using turmeric for its health properties for thousands of years. This golden spice (which gives curries their yellow colour) is beloved in ancient ayurvedic tradition, not only for its earthy, slightly bitter taste but also for its multitude of culinary and beauty properties. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, so it helps to target conditions including eczema, rosacea and acne. In addition, turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids which hold medicinal properties. The most critical curcuminoid – curcumin – is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it can help preserve the skin’s cellular structure and fight off the ageing process.
Jennifer Irvine is a food entrepreneur, author and spokesperson. She is the founder of the award-winning The Pure Package and Balance Box, helping busy people source and prepare nutritionally balanced food. Jennifer is also the creator and chair of The Wellness Awards, which celebrate the stars of the British health and wellness industry.
Coconut can be used on the skin or ingested to help reduce inflammation, keep the skin hydrated, and be beneficial in treating acne. Look for high-quality coconut oil-it should be food grade, chemical-free and ideally organic. You can then add it to smoothies, use it in cooking, eat it straight from the jar, or massage it into hands, face, body and hair. Not only will it raise your good cholesterol to help ward off heart disease, but it’s also a great source of energy and contains a lot of antioxidants.
FOODS TO BE AWARE OF
Clients suffering from acne may find that dairy could be contributing to their skin troubles. Although milk, cheese and eggs are great sources of calcium and protein, some studies 2 suggest that dairy products – especially milk – may contribute to acne. Try almond or oat milk as dairy-free alternatives.
Consumed in large quantities, caffeine can have a diuretic effect, causing dehydration. In addition, if you drink coffee later in the day, it can negatively affect the sleep cycle, which in turn can leave the skin looking tired and dull the next day. Caffeine also leads to heightened stress response in the body, increasing cortisol which can increase the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands and leave the skin prone to breakouts. Cutting back on caffeine and making sure a glass of water is consumed with morning coffee can help solve this issue.
Foods fried in fat such as take-away breaded chicken, French fries and doughnuts can be awful for general skin and body health. These foods contain trans fats, which create many negative effects through the body, which will ultimately show on the face – through inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and eczema, as well as through poor gut health and fatigue.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, so as the body tries to protect its vital organs, the skin is often the first thing to suffer in terms of water loss. This skin dehydration can be seen through dry, cracked lips, sunken and dark eye circles, fine lines, itchiness and dullness. Alcohol is also an inflammatory substance, so it can cause puffy skin and eyes-another reason to try to drink less for the skin’s benefit.
Excess sugar will spike blood sugar levels and, later, energy levels crashing, causing increased sugar cravings. The stress of this energy change may show on the face as inflammation, and the sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins which may produce harmful free radicals called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As AGEs accumulate (the more sugar is consumed, the more they develop), they damage the proteins around them, including the collagen reserves, which are vital for soft, supple and youthful skin.
1. https://academic.oup.com/jn/ article/130/5/1437S/4686409
2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/ dairy-and-acne