Submitted by Doug Leone, MD, and Adrienne Schupbach, MD, Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute
You’ve heard the old adage “you are what you eat” in regards to how foods you consume are directly related to how you feel. But, did you know that the same connection exists between food and the appearance of the skin? Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it makes sense that eating healthy foods will benefit the skin. Too often, people turn to lotions, creams, shampoos, or other topical products to solve a skin condition. When in fact, the answer to healing and improving the appearance of your skin may be as simple as examining your eating habits.
A common thread among everyone is our consumption of water. Since the skin is an organ, the cells require water to perform. Proper hydration can go a long way towards a radiant, healthy, younger-looking complexion, and the end of dry, flaky skin. If you are experiencing dry skin, begin tracking how much water you drink on a daily basis. The amount of water you will need varies by person and activity level. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women consume about 96 ounces water per day, and men consume 124 ounces per day. This is slightly over the “consume eight, 8 ounce glasses of water per day / 64 ounces” suggestion that is commonplace.
Dislike the taste of water alone? Try adding a slice of lemon or orange for a refreshing burst of flavor. Shy away from artificial sweeteners. In addition, remember that water from fruits, veggies, and milk will also count towards your daily intake goals.
Antioxidants such as Vitamin A and C are beneficial because they fight the effects of cell oxidation and combat free radicals that can cause signs of aging, dry skin, and tissue damage. Colorful berries, tomatoes, beets, squash, beans, tangerines, sweet potatoes, oranges, carrots, and cantaloupe as well as leafy greens, eggs, and low-fat dairy foods are bursting with Vitamin A. Your intake of Vitamin A may alleviate dry, flaky skin and help to clear up brown spots and acne. Omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flax, and fish oil are important for skin health because they support healthy cell membranes.
In addition to boosting your intake of fruits and veggies, you might also consider a vitamin supplement. A multivitamin may help deal with certain skin conditions. Always check with your health care provider before taking supplements, and if you have specific skin concerns, your dermatologist may have suggestions as well.
The relationship between healthy, glowing skin and proper nutrition and balance is often overlooked as a remedy to some of the most common skin care concerns.
For more information, you may contact the Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute at 309-451-DERM (3376) or visit
www.dermatologistbloomington.com. Dr. Leone and Dr. Schupbach, both residents of Bloomington, are board-certified dermatologists, specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology, including the treatment of skin cancer, moles, acne, rashes, warts, and all skin disorders. Dr. Leone is one of the few Mohs-trained surgeons in the area. Their practice is located at 3024 E. Empire St. 2nd floor, in the Advocate BroMenn outpatient center.