An Advertising Feature
Imagine taking your car to the valet every day, paying for a vacuum & wax, but always filling the tank with cooking oil. It’d be a huge waste of money, & you’d be in denial, sabotaging your pretty car on a daily basis. If you’ve switched to organic skin care products to sort out problem skin, but you still chow pizza & chocolate for lunch every day, you might have to accept that – however gentle your cleanser – your skin problems may be caused by your diet.
Your body gets rid of toxins via your stomach, liver & kidneys. When there are too many toxins for those organs to handle, the overload gets pushed out through your skin instead, causing spots, rashes, sore patches & sometimes eczema.
Some foods also stimulate sebum production, making your skin oilier, while others can feed bacteria, or trigger your immune system & give you a rash.
What to do about it
If you suspect that your diet is causing trouble on your skin, you need to find out which food is doing the damage, otherwise you might be avoiding things for no reason.
The usual way to find out is through what’s known as an “elimination diet”. Say there are two foods that might each be causing the problem. You stop eating Food 1 for a month & see if your symptoms go away. They don’t, so you start eating it again, & stop eating Food 2 instead. This time the symptoms do go away. After a month, you start eating Food 2 again, & watch closely to see if the symptoms come back. If they do, Food 2 is definitely the culprit, so you stop eating it permanently & get on with enjoying your life.
This method does take a little time, but a few months spent working out exactly what’s causing the problem can save you years of uncertainty, anxiety, problem skin & all the money you can spend trying to fix it. If the symptoms fail to go away throughout the eliminations, at least you’ve ruled out a dietary problem & can speak to your GP about what to try next.
The usual suspects
Dairy: many people’s bodies can’t tolerate milk & cheese – or one of the proteins in them – with rashes, hives, inflammation & dermatitis as the result. Eat plenty of broccoli & other green vegetables to get your calcium – they’re often a better source of it than milk is, anyway.
Sugar: feeds bacteria & can cause inflammation. Too much can lead to diabetes, which typically leads to skin problems. Snack on nuts, seeds & a little fruit instead.
Caffeine: this stimulates sebum production. Sebum is the natural oil that comes out of your pores & moisturises your skin. In balanced quantities it’s really useful – it contains Vitamin E & a natural antibacterial substance – but too much can result in acne. Drink plenty of water & herbal tea instead – always a good idea, whatever you’re up to!
Alcohol: regular consumption makes it harder for your liver & kidneys to process the bad stuff they find in your food, so your skin is more likely to suffer.
Suzie Saw is a writer who loves nature, animals, making clothes, dressing up in them & waiting like a preying mantis for “50% off!” emails from online skincare shops to land in her inbox.