This month, our blog series is called Love, Your Skin and will focus on different ways to show your skin some love, from head to toe!
Did you know that diet can affect skin? Sometimes a skin condition can be improved or cleared just by changing what we eat. This is very apparent in a condition such as rosacea, because certain types of foods or drinks (such as alcohol or spicy foods) can trigger an outbreak, so avoiding your personal triggers can help prevent a reaction. Two questions emerge on the tie between diet and skin: Is a given condition or reaction being caused or influenced by something you are eating or drinking? If so, what specific food or drink could be causing a reaction for you individually? As always, see a board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Roland Beverly, or a certified P.A., such as Alisa Wang, to help you determine what may be occurring with your skin, but here are a few suggestions and tips.
As you may know, foods and beverages are a primary cause of rosacea breakouts. The most common of these triggers include spicy foods, hot beverages and alcohol, but triggers are not the same for everybody. One rosacea patient may eat a spicy curry without an issue while another may turn beet-red within a few minutes. Your dermatologist may recommend that you cut out common food triggers to see if there is any improvement, but he or she may also recommend that you keep a “Rosacea Diary” to keep track of when you have flares to better identify what may be triggering rosacea for you. [How to Keep a Rosacea Diary: http://rosacea.org/patients/materials/diary/index.phpc]
Certain foods have certainly been blamed for causing acne breakouts, including dairy, greasy food and chocolate. As with rosacea, these foods may or may not have any effect on individual acne patients. One patient may experience very clear skin after giving up dairy, whereas another may not. There have not been any conclusive studies that directly link diet with acne, but some researchers and doctors believe that these foods may increase inflammation in the body for some people. In other words these foods do not appear to cause acne, but perhaps if you actually have a mild allergy or sensitivity to certain food(s), that eliminating that ingredient may reduce inflammation in the body in general, including the skin. With your general physician’s OK, you may wish to try an elimination diet just to see what food(s) may be leading to this type of inflammation.
Just like rosacea, eczema may be triggered by foods, especially in children. In this case, it is a reaction to a food allergy that may or may not manifest itself in other, more obvious symptoms such as throat irritation and/or breathing difficulty. According to the National Eczema Association, common food triggers include eggs, nuts & seeds, dairy products, soy products and wheat. As with these other conditions, with your doctor’s OK, you may wish to try an elimination diet and/or keep a trigger diary to see if there is any correlation with what you had been eating or doing when you had a flare-up.
All Skin Types
No matter what skin condition you may or may not currently have, a healthy diet has been shown to improve the look, feel and appearance of skin. The body is, after all, one unit that works together. Your skin is your largest organ, only it is one you can actually see unlike your heart or liver, so sometimes a breakout on the skin can indicate something happening internally (which is why it is always recommended to see a dermatologist or other physician for any persistent or unusual skin issues). As such, the same recommendations given by the healthy eating experts for internal organs apply to the skin.