You’ve left home, you’re on your way to being independent and by this point in the term probably feeling fairly grown-up. But then you look in the mirror and see a scattering of spots on your face to remind you that you haven’t escaped your teenage past. Don’t worry - you’re not alone. 8 out of 10 young people have acne at some point in their lives and more often than not it’s simply because of those dreaded hormones. But knowing that doesn’t help when you have a hot date or big night out coming up. So what can we do to help our skin along a little?
Good skin starts with looking after the inside of your body, as well what’s on the outside. Although for years scientists have claimed there is no connection between eating badly and poor skin, recent reports have proven that eating a healthy, and specifically low GI diet, is an easy way of improving the condition of your skin. So what does that mean? GI stands for Glycaemic Index, which is basically a ranked order of foods based on the effects they have on blood sugar levels. Not only can foods with a low GI value keep you fuller for longer, studies have shown that foods with a high GI can also aggravate acne. High GI foods boost the body’s sugar levels too quickly and to try and counterbalance this, the pancreas makes extra insulin. Unfortunately, this extra production of insulin also tells the body to make more sebum, the oil-like substance that, while useful in small measures, directly leads to the blocking of pores. And blocked pores equals spots and blackheads- not fun. But reducing your GI intake is so easy. Simply swap white bread, sugary cereal and chips for wholemeal bread, brown rice or pasta and sweet potatoes for better skin and often, much tastier foods.
So what other foods are good for the skin? Well eating enough fruit and veg is a good start. These foods are stuffed with blemish-blocking vitamins and antioxidants to help you on the path to a clearer complexion. Grapes in particular are great for treating inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema as they contain powerful natural chemicals and antioxidants. Blueberries also have a significant impact on your skin according to Sinead Norenius, a skin care expert, as they have the most antioxidants per serving than any other fruit.
And what about the vegetables? Well, broccoli deserves the title of the best veg for your skin, as it is full of antioxidants like vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K, all of which help to add luminosity to the skin and to revive damaged tissue, while omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and folate to support the healing process and aid the proper function of skin cells. If broccoli is the king, then avocado has to be the prince of the green stuff, as it is full of vitamin C, which can be used to reduce skin inflammation, while avocado oil is thought to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin, which improves its tone and texture. If vegetables really aren’t your thing, why not buy a guacamole dip and spread it on some wholemeal toast for a delicious and skin enhancing snack?
The next part of your complexion friendly meal is the protein. Fish like salmon, which is "rich in omega fatty acids [is] also critical to the overall health of the skin," says Norenius. The omega acids help to make skin look more vibrant and bright, which is something I’m sure we all aspire to, especially after a big night in TP. The soya substitute tofu is another great skin booster- the blend of vegetable protein, calcium and healthy unsaturated fats is a killer combination for anyone suffering from a skin condition.
You’ve probably been told this time and time again but clear skin starts from within, and one of the best, cheapest and most effective ways to get there is to help your body flush out toxins by drinking plenty of water. Not only will upping your fluid levels help to keep your brain fully functional and therefore better able to cope with stress, which in turn can cause poor skin, it also replenishes water in the cells. Aim to drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day, and even more after exercise.
Try to avoid complexion killers like salt, which can cause puffiness to the skin and aggravate acne and sadly alcohol, which is fine in moderation, however overindulgence in the bottle can wreak havoc on your skin. It is "extremely dehydrating to cells within the body including your skin cells," says Norenius. It also causes "vasodilatation which can be an aggressor for rosacea," she warns.
One skin healthy meal a day should goes a long way to clearer, blemish free skin. So why not try any of these tips and see if you can rid your skin of those pesky pimples for good?
Image credits: beproudofyourskin.tumblr.com, telegraph.co.uk