It might sound a bit overwhelming, but there are some easy steps to take that can make a world of difference before your very eyes. Here, we offer a foolproof guide to unearthing naturally beautiful skin. (Psst: It starts from the inside out.)
- Fill up on leafy greens
Focus on eating plenty of whole, nutrient-dense vegetables, prioritizing leafy greens.
They'll give you the most bang for your buck in the skin department, as they're loaded with antioxidants (which fight free radicals) and also contain high levels of vitamin A (which repairs damaged skin), along with a slew of other beauty vitamins and minerals (folate, beta-carotene, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, calcium, magnesium). Think spinach, kale, and nettles for spring!
- Healthy Fats hydrate the skin
Don't forget to consume skin-friendly healthy fats (also known as EFAs, essential fatty acids). These 'good fats' are critical to helping your body produce healthy cells, including skin cells. They're also important elements in the production of sebum, which is responsible for keeping the skin hydrated and youthful-looking. Find them in avocado, eggs, walnuts, and wild salmon.
- Drink More Water
There's an ongoing debate in the wellness community about just how much water we should be consuming. Ignore the details and just drink more, period. Cancer patients are told to drink up to a gallon a day– a gallon!–to flush the chemotherapy toxins out of their system. This is a pretty extreme example, but it illustrates just how powerful drinking water can be in detoxifying.
- Eat fermented foods
People with healthy bacteria on their skin break out less! Seriously. One study shows that people with clear skin have 20 percent more bacteria production than those with acne. Researchers are actually working on a topical bacterial product to apply to the skin to clean it. People get really freaked out by bacteria and fermented foods, largely because we've become such a pasteurization-happy culture. Yet, our bodies rely on thriving bacterial ecosystems–particularly within our gut–to support healthy functioning of our digestive tract and immune systems. Some good sources include sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchee, miso, kefir, and unsweetened yogurt.
- Avoid things that come in a wrapper
Processed sugar, processed fat, synthetic flavor (often masquerading as 'natural' flavor), fake coloring, and preservatives are just some of the many common no-nos you'll find here in wrapper land. I call them dead ingredients; they do nothing for your skin except aggravate it, since your body is working so hard to figure out how the heck you're going to process them. Rule of thumb? If you can't understand what the ingredient is, don't eat it.