Let’s face it — winter can be tough on your skin. The dry, cold air can leave you with dry skin that shows every little fine line and wrinkle. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can fight back against the chill of winter, from injectable fillers, such as Juvederm, that smooth lines and wrinkles, to laser skin resurfacing, which can improve the texture and tone of your skin.
Along with working with a facial plastic surgeon and anti-aging face specialist to keep your visage looking youthful and glowing, a few small changes to what you eat can also help keep you looking young. Try adding foods that contain the following to your diet and see if you notice any results.
Fat is no longer feared the way it once was. While certain types of fats, such as trans fats, should always be avoided, other types, such as omega-3 fatty acids and mono-unsaturated fats, are worth consuming. Take a look at mono-unsaturated fat, for example. It’s found in foods such as avocado and olive oil. Mono-unsaturated fats help keep the skin moisturized from the inside and help protect your skin against damage from free radicals.
Omega 3s, as well as omega 6 and 9, are another type of fat worth looking into if you want to improve the look of your skin. The fatty acids strengthen the cell walls of your skin, helping it to look softer and helping to lock in moisture from the inside. Foods that are a great source of omega 3s include salmon and other types of fish, as well as walnuts. Hemp seeds are a surprising source of omega 6 fatty acids, and are the only food source for gamma-linoleic acid, which plays an important role in the structure of your cells’ walls.
Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body. A number of factors lead to the creation of the those free radicals, which can damage the skin, including sun exposure and eating a lot of junk food or foods that don’t contain much in the way of nutrition.
A number of good-for-you foods do contain antioxidants, though, and it is relatively easy to add those foods to your diet. For example, berries are a great source of them. Try drinking a smoothie made from frozen blueberries and strawberries on a regular basis to boost your intake of antioxidants.
Leafy green vegetables are also a great source of antioxidants. If you really don’t like to eat your greens, try juicing them or adding a handful to your next smoothie. You won’t even taste them! If you juice greens, you’ll lose their beneficial fiber but will still get all the vitamins and minerals.
Chlorophyll isn’t just good news for plants — it can be good news for your skin, too. It’s the pigment that makes plants green. It also acts as an antioxidant in the human body, fighting free radicals. While you can find the pigment in liquid form, it’s also easily found in a number of different foods. Just look for plant-based foods that are green, such as broccoli, lettuce or kale. Again, if you don’t like eating your greens, you can try juicing them or enjoying them in a smoothie.
As you get older, your body starts to produce less and less of the things that help keep skin firm and smooth. Collagen production slows, for example, as does the production of ceramides, which are lipids that play a part in keeping your skin soft and moisturized as well as in keeping it firm. The fewer ceramides your body produces, the more sensitive your skin becomes to outside factors, such as sun exposure, dry air and pollutants in the air.
Phytoceramides are found in certain types of plant foods, particularly wheat. While you shouldn’t expect a miracle, boosting your intake of foods that contain phytoceramides might help your skin look a bit more youthful and a lot less dry.
Foods to Avoid: Sugar
While you definitely want to focus on adding healthy foods to your diet to help keep your skin looking younger, there are also some foods that you want to drastically cut back on or even eliminate from your diet. Foods that contain a lot of added sugar can be particularly bad for the youth of your skin.
Sugar triggers something called glycation in the body. When glycation occurs, sugar latches on to collagen, producing advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. The AGEs contribute to the destruction of collagen, making the protein weak and brittle. When the collagen is weakened, the skin begins to look older, as it loses the support structure that keeps it from sagging or wrinkling.
Cutting back on or cutting out sugar isn’t just good for your skin. It can also have a number of benefits all over, from helping you drop a few pounds to lowering your risk for developing diabetes.
Dr. Jessica Kulak, an anti-aging specialist at the Naderi Center in Maryland and Virginia, is happy to go into more detail about the impact diet has on your skin. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak, call 703-481-0002 to reach the Virginia office or 301-222-2020 to reach the office in Maryland.