When we think skincare, we think of never-ending aisles of micellar waters and chemical peels. But what if we told you that your grocery cupboard could also be a great way of feeding your skin the nutrients it needs to be supple and healthy?
Skin is the greatest alarm bell and alerts us when we are not getting enough nutrients, says Cape Town registered dietitian, Azeeza Parker. She tells Health For Mzansi, “Pay attention to what your body likes.”
According to Parker, hormones, environmental factors, and stress all have a significant impact on a woman’s skin health. “Sometimes our skin lacks what it needs, including healthy fat and proper hydration, which both affect the way it looks and feels.”
You are what you eat?
Our skin allows us to determine where we are in terms of getting enough nutrients or if we are lacking nutrients.
“I don’t believe in the ‘you are what you eat’ statement because everyone reacts differently to different types of food. Some people, for example, can consume broccoli without feeling bloated, while others are affected differently,” says Parker.
Not everything you eat is beneficial to your health. There are various factors to consider, including one’s blood type, that can help us decide what foods are right for us.
Several diets people like to follow, including detoxification, juice cleanse, banting, or a simple no-carb diet, can pose limitations as these diets cut out certain food groups which deprive you of necessary nutrients you need, Parker explains. Changing your diet frequently can also be unhealthy.
Parker says several ingredients in your kitchen can help keep your outer layering healthy and nutrient dense.
“Vitamin E is abundant in soy milk, canola oil, and olive oil. Chickpeas and lentils, which contain protein amino acids like those found in whey protein, aid in the maintenance of skin elasticity and firmness. Berries, whether frozen or fresh, are high in vitamin C, which aids the body’s healing process.”
What you need to know about your skin and diet
Dr Avumile Mankahla, medical dermatologist at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha, says that the dietary causes of acne are being actively investigated. Acne may be exacerbated by a high-glycaemic diet, skim milk, and whey protein.
However, dietary restrictions are not recommended for routine acne care and management, says Mankahla.
According to Mankahla, oil glands of the skin tend to produce excess oil. The bacteria *Propionibacterium acnes, which is a normal commensal, may release bacterial products that cause inflammation, and the process of renewal within the hair follicles is often altered in acne patients.
Approximately 12% of women and 3% of men will continue to have clinical acne well into their forties, says Mankahla.
“Occlusive or greasy cosmetics can cause acne (whiteheads or blackheads), so test what works for you. Acne can be aggravated by mechanical force or friction,” says Mankahla.
A person can develop acne much later in life. Acne is a disease of the hair follicle and the oil gland associated with it (the pilosebaceous unit). Only during puberty do the oil producing glands start working, Mankahla explains.
“You do not need a medical confirmation to know what skin type you have. In general, patients with acne-prone skin, tend to have oily skin, and patients with eczema-prone skin tend to have dry skin.
“To prevent pigmentation and photoaging, regular sunscreen application is crucial for all skin types, even darker skin types,” Makahla advises. Having darker skin makes us more susceptible to UVA-induced hyperpigmentation.”