A healthy, nutritious diet is the
foundation of healthy skin, but diet isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
Everyone has a distinct skin type, determined in part by genetics and in part
by environment, and there are different foods that support and nurture each
type of skin. The following are four of the most common skin types and the
foods that are best for each.
The 4 Skin Types
You may be wondering, “ What is my skin type?” While there are many different ways of classifying skin and many possible categories, most experts talk about four major types: dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, and sensitive skin. All of these skin types are normal, but most people struggle to balance dryness and moisture. Choosing the right foods can help to restore balance.
Type 1: Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, chances are
your skin feels tight and you notice flaking. At times, dry skin can also
become itchy and irritated, and most people notice this especially in the
winter. The tendency to have dry skin may simply be genetic or a consequence of
aging, but it can also be caused by a number of environmental factors.
Causes Of Dry Skin
Many people notice that their
skin gets drier in the winter, and central heating is often the culprit. As the
air inside the home heats up, moisture condenses out, making the air less humid
and less friendly to dry skin. Other factors that contribute to dry skin can
include hot showers, soap, sanitizers, insufficient moisturizing, and certain
medications. For example, acne medications are known to cause dry skin, along
with some drugs for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Best Foods For Dry Skin
The best foods for dry skin are those that replenish oils and moisture. Thus, foods that contain healthy fats or have high water content are especially beneficial. Healthy fats are mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats that remain liquid at room temperature. Sources of healthy fats include nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon and fresh tuna. Fish also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are powerful anti-inflammatories that can soothe dry and irritated skin.
Type 2: Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, your skin
may look shiny, especially in the T zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Chances
are you also have large, visible pores that produce a lot of sebum, the oil
secreted by the sebaceous glands to moisturize the skin and hair. As with all
skin types, the primary cause of oily skin is genetics, but environment and
lifestyle can contribute.
Causes Of Oily Skin
Oily skin is more common in hot,
humid climates. Too-frequent washing can cause the skin to over-produce oil, in
order to compensate for the drying effects of soap. Neglecting to use
moisturizer can have the same kind of boomerang effect. In addition, a poor
diet that is heavy in greasy or sugary food can contribute to oily skin.
Best Foods For Oily Skin
The best diet for oily skin is a clean diet with little to no trans fats, added sugars, or alcohol. Foods that nurture oily skin include leafy green vegetables, berries, orange vegetables like butternut squash and carrots, and whole grains, in particular, those that are rich in vitamin B2. Nutritionists also recommend brewer’s yeast, nuts, and beans as healthy sources of this essential vitamin.
Type 3: Combination Skin
Combination skin is the most
common skin type, and almost everyone experiences a combination of oiliness and
dryness at times. If you have combination skin, you probably have some dryness
in the cheeks and around the eyes, while your T zone produces more oil.
Causes Of Combination Skin
As with all skin types, the
number one cause of combination skin is genetics. Other factors that can
contribute to a lack of balance in moisture include aging, hormonal changes,
medications, and fluctuating temperatures. Using the wrong skincare products or
an inconsistent skincare routine can also cause dry patches or oily patches to
Best Foods For Combination Skin
The best diet for combination
skin includes foods that balance moisture and dryness. To maintain a healthy
level of moisture throughout the skin, it’s important to stay hydrated by
drinking plenty of water (at least 8 cups per day) and eating fresh fruits and
vegetables with high water content, like tomatoes, cucumbers, and celery. Lean
protein, low-glycemic carbs (like quinoa and brown rice), and healthy fats are
the other key components of a healthy diet for combination skin.
Type 4: Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, your
skin is easily irritated, and you probably experience frequent itching,
redness, blotches, and rashes. You may find that your skin is highly reactive
to common chemicals, such as perfumes and dyes in personal care and cleaning
products. Your skin may burn easily in the sun or turn red quickly in the cold.
Sensitive skin can be hard to deal with, but the key to soothing irritated skin
is gentle care and a healthy diet.
Causes Of Sensitive Skin
Most people with this skin type
suffer from an underlying condition like allergies, eczema, psoriasis, or
rosacea. Some medications, hormonal changes, and exposure to environmental
contaminants can also increase skin sensitivity.
Best Foods For Sensitive Skin
Dermatologists often recommend
the anti-inflammatory diet for people who have highly sensitive skin. Leafy
green vegetables and healthy fats (especially salmon and walnuts) are the
foundation of this diet, followed by fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee,
kombucha, and coconut yogurt. Garlic and turmeric are two other ingredients
that feature prominently in the anti-inflammatory diet and should be eaten on a
A clean, healthy diet is crucial
to maintaining youthful and healthy-looking skin, and no matter what skin type
you have, it’s important to avoid junk food, fast food, alcohol, and of course,
cigarettes. In addition to eating the right diet for your skin type, it’s
important to keep your skin clean and moisturized and to protect it from UV
radiation with sunscreen.