Combat dull skin from the inside out this summerLisa Kilgour, Nutritionist
July 8, 2022
If you’re dealing with dull skin, then I’ve got a little nutritionist secret to tell you… I can tell a bit about your diet just by looking at your skin.
I don’t want you thinking that I’m judging you while we’re having a nice conversation. Instead, I want to tip you in on an easy way to brighten up your skin and make it positively glow. And it’s not about the latest cream or serums, but the food and liquid you put into your body.
Long before I became a nutritionist, I ate A LOT of sugar. Like tons and tons, it was pretty much all I ate. And, at 25, I had a dull, grey complexion, dark circles under my eyes, and my skin was very dry. My skin had the tone and texture of a newspaper. Not exactly ideal.
Today, if my skin tone and brightness start to fade, I adjust my diet to make my skin bright and glowing again. I’m going to share with you my favourite skin-brightening foods and stay tuned to the end where I’ll tell you about the #1 food that my skin loves.
Is your skin happy?
First, let’s look at some signs in your skin that your body might not be happy with what you’re eating:
Are you dealing with:
- A red, inflamed complexion
- Dull skin or a grey skin tone
- Dry, flaking skin
- Pimples, acne, and inflammation
There are many underlying causes of these symptoms, and what you eat and drink is just one of them. Sleep (or lack thereof), hormones, stress, and pollution can also affect your skin. Your diet is something that you have the most control over, so let’s dive into that! Be sure to book an appointment with your dermatologist if your skin troubles are severe.
Before we talk about food, you’ve got to think about what you’re drinking. Dehydration quickly affects skin tone, so be sure to drink enough water each day. But, stay away from sugary drinks, they can spike your blood sugar and that may contribute to more blemishes.
Keep in mind that you are what you eat, literally. The food currently in your belly will provide the building blocks for all of your cells, including your skin cells. And your skin is a wonderful glimpse into that world since they’re cells that you can see.
Antioxidants for sun protection
It’s summertime and I love that colourful fruits and vegetables are abundant because they’re my favourite way to combat sun damage!
While they don’t replace a natural sunscreen, the antioxidants found in all of the summer’s colourful produce help the body to recover (and possibly) prevent a sunburn .
I’ve got very pale skin and during those years of my high sugar diet, I would easily burn to a crisp. For years I thought it was just the luck of the draw, my skin was sunburn prone. But, as I increased the antioxidants in my diet, my skin began to tolerate the sun more and more. Plus, any mild sunburns I might get are gone by the next day. It’s like magic.
Simply put, a sunburn is a sign of free radical damage and the antidote for free radical damage is antioxidants. So, on top of any physical barriers I add to protect my skin (hat, long sleeves, my favourite organic sunscreen), I also up my antioxidant intake before heading outside.
Every brightly coloured whole food is full of antioxidants (even white vegetables, like cauliflower and potatoes), and I’m sure to enjoy lots of these throughout the summer (blueberries, yum!). But, if I want a big boost of antioxidants, a grab a scoop of Botanica’s Perfect Greens.
You’ll always find a bottle of Perfect Greens in my fridge. Green food supplements have been a staple in my diet for 20 years and have played a major role in helping me reduce the refined sugar in my diet and develop a taste for veggies. It’s a must-have in the summer.
On a hot, sun-filled day I will whip up an antioxidant smoothie filled with berries, a banana, a dollop of healthy fat, water, and a scoop of Perfect Greens. It’s easy and delicious! If I’m feeling extra fancy, I’ll make this vegan greens smoothie bowl for breakfast. It kicks off my day with a generous serving of antioxidants.
Healthy fats for glowing skin
Until recently, many healthy eaters gravitated to a lower-fat diet. It wasn’t intentional, it was a leftover from the low-fat ’80 and ‘90s. Most healthy foods were low fat.
This meant that many people who came to see me were fat deficient and I could see it in their dry, dull skin. Just like I used to have.
Adding healthy, whole food fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and coconut oil help moisturize the skin from the inside out. It’s amazing how quickly the skin develops a radiant glow once your diet is full of antioxidants and some healthy, moisturizing fat. It’s a killer combo!
Unprocessed fats are also anti-inflammatory, so they can help to reduce blemishes, rashes, and other types of inflammation in the skin. Sometimes, the body needs some extra help if you’re dealing with a lot of skin inflammation. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids can keep the skin in an inflammatory cycle, leading to blemishes and red skin.
Botanica’s Perfect Omegas work to combat inflammation in the skin. They’re emulsified, which may help with digestion and absorption. They’re also delicious on their own with no fishy flavour. I take mine after meals as a sweet dessert, or I just add a dash to my antioxidant smoothie.
Micronutrients to reduce blemishes
Vitamins and minerals can play a big role in helping to calm down blemishes and brighten up dull skin.
Zinc is an important mineral for the skin, especially if you’re dealing with blemishes. It can help to reduce oil production and inflammation. Beans, nuts, and shellfish are foods that will give you a nice dose of zinc.
Selenium is both a mineral and antioxidant and can help to reduce inflammation and boost glutathione levels, which is a very important antioxidant in the body. Brazil nuts are very high in selenium and just 2 nuts per day can give you almost 200mcg of selenium!
Listen to your skin
The key point I want to leave you with is this – listen to your skin if it’s unhappy, it’s a good sign that your diet could use some tweaks. You can make your skin happier just by incorporating some Perfect Greens, Perfect Omegas, and some antioxidant-rich whole foods and watch your dull skin brighten up and your blemishes calm down.