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19 Jan

Foods that fight common skin conditions

Are you trying to get rid of wrinkles or dandruff? Perhaps you’re doing everything you can to alleviate your eczema, cellulite, psoriasis, acne or dermatitis? If yes, try including the following foods in your diet instead. Bonus: they’re all natural and way cheaper!

 

1. Skin condition: Wrinkles

Food solution: Tomato paste and olive oil

A British study found that women who were given 5 tablespoons of standard tomato paste with 10g of olive oil daily for 12 weeks experienced an increase in skin levels of pro-collagen. This compound helps maintain the skin’s structure and makes wrinkles and fine lines less noticeable. The ‘wonder’ ingredient in tomato is the potent antioxidant lycopene which is more easily transported in the bloodstream after being exposed to heat.

The mitochondrial DNA in the skin of these women also appeared to be less damaged compared to the other subjects who were given only olive oil. Prof Birch-Machin, dermatology scientist and study author commented that “The protective effect of eating tomatoes on our mitochondria is important as they are the energy producers in all our body cells including skin. Therefore, being kind to our mitochondria is likely to contribute to improved skin health, which in turn may have an anti-ageing effect.” Recently I came across a new product named Crystal Tomato, which has all the benefits of tomato in a single tablet.

Tip: Make your own sundried tomato pesto and eat it as a dip or with your main meals.

 

2. Skin conditions: Psoriasis and dandruff

Food solution: Green tea (not to drink)

Red, dry and flaky skin that characterise inflammatory skin ailments like psoriasis and dandruff are caused by inflammation and over-growth of skin cells. Green tea has long been used to naturally exfoliate dry flaky skin without drying it out – this is now scientifically proven to be an effective treatment.

A lab study found that skin treated with green tea became progressively less inflamed – green tea appeared to regulate the expression of Caspase-14, a protein in genes that controls the lifespan of a skin cell. The antioxidants in green tea also slowed down the growth of skin cells that multiply too quickly, leading to flaky skin that itches.

Tip: Allow two bags of green tea to infuse in 1/3 cup of hot water (keep it covered) for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Once the tea has cooled, massage it into the affected skin area, then rinse. Of course, you can continue to drink green tea for all its benefits.

 

3. Skin condition: Cellulite

Food solution: Fatty fish (think wild salmon, tuna or sardines)

Fish is not a magical food which will make your cellulite vanish but it can help make the unsightly fat lumps slightly less visible. As mentioned in a previous article, fatty fish are rich in omega 3s, a structural component of cell membranes. These membranes act as the skin’s barrier and the stronger they are, the more efficient they will be at preventing moisture loss. Properly hydrated cells look plumper hence giving your skin a smoother appearance.

Here are a few suggestions to help you incorporate fish into any of your three main meals:

Breakfast idea: 100% whole grain pita bread, mashed avocado, cucumber cubes and flaked tuna.

Lunch idea: Grilled salmon with a side of baby spinach.

Dinner idea: Veggie couscous with some chopped sardines.

 

4. Skin conditions: Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and acne

Food solution: Probiotics

Researchers state that inflammation in the gut can also lead to inflammation in the skin which can manifest as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and even acne. As such, by restoring the natural gut flora, probiotics can help alleviate these skin disorders by reducing inflammation and skin sensitivity.

Tip: Get your probiotics from food such as kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass and curtido. If you don’t eat dairy try coconut milk yogurt or coconut milk kefir.

 

These foods are certainly not miracle workers nor are they recommended as the only treatment for all of the skin conditions listed above. They do offer a natural alternative to try out and if they work well for you, than great! However if you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for, please consult your doctor.

 

Has this article been helpful? I would love to hear your thoughts, please let me know in the comment section below.

 

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Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.