6 Solutions for the Most Common Skin Issues
- Written By:Bobbi Brown
- Photography:Ben Ritter and Sarah Elliot
People are often surprised to learn that what they eat can affect their skin. But common issues from acne to eczema can actually be triggered by different foods. When you are having a skin issue, the answer could be as simple as eating or avoiding certain foods, or it might need a prescription- strength solution. Here, nutritionist and founder of Foodtrainers Lauren Slayton and dermatologist Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton share their advice on six common skin issues.
NUTRITIONIST’S ADVICE: Major acne triggers are dairy and sugary foods that cause blood sugar to spike. For clients with acne issues, I recommend ingesting maca, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar daily. Maca is a hormone balancer, and cinnamon and apple cider vinegar have blood sugar benefits. Mix one large spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink before breakfast or dinner. To work cinnamon or maca into your diet, try adding a dash of Ceylon cinnamon and one small spoonful of organic maca powder into a smoothie.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: If you have a flare-up of acne, it’s important to switch your moisturizer and cleansers to oil-free and non- comedogenic versions. Then add in products that will target the bacteria that causes acne. Start with over-the-counter versions that contain salicylic acid and apply to affected areas. If those don’t clear up your skin, your dermatologist can give you a prescription based on exactly what kind of acne you have. Depending on your skin, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, isotretinoin, or sulfur-based products are common solutions.
Eczema and Rosacea
NUTRITIONIST’S ADVICE: Vegetarian sources of protein such as beans and lentils, along with oolong tea, have been proven to help eczema sufferers. A dairy-free diet is helpful for both eczema and rosacea. Probiotics found in yogurt and supplements can also help both skin issues. With supplements, look for one with multiple types of probiotics (such as bifido, acidophilus, and rhamnosus) at a dose of 30 billion CFUs or more. Fermented veggies such as kimchi and fermented carrots are another powerful source of probiotics.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: For eczema, avoid body washes, soaps, and lotions with fragrance, as they can aggravate it. Use rich moisturizers that have ceramides for intense hydration and soothing. For serious cases, add prescription topical steroids, and the situation should resolve in 10 to 14 days.
With rosacea, flare-ups generally occur after triggers like spicy foods, red wine, too much sun, or cold temperatures. Rosacea is a lifelong condition that can be managed by using a gentle cleanser, applying sunscreen, and avoiding known triggers.
NUTRITIONIST’S ADVICE: Oftentimes dark circles or puffiness are caused by allergies. There are natural antihistamines such as quercetin, a flavonoid, that can help with these symptoms. Good sources of quercetin include dark berries such as blackberries and blueberries and green tea, and you can also buy quercetin supplements. For best results, ingest berries, green tea, or the supplements one or two times a day.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: Dark circles are caused by many different factors, including allergies, congestion, genetics, and aging. Depending on the source, a cosmetic dermatologist can help with the right treatment, which could include lasers, antihistamines, fillers, and creams with green tea and vitamin K.
NUTRITIONIST’S ADVICE: Some foods can actually boost collagen and therefore minimize wrinkles. I love bone broth and gelatin for a dietary collagen boost. In terms of non-animal products, vitamin C is also an anti-aging winner, both taken as a supplement and applied to the skin as a serum.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: The sun is the biggest wrinkle culprit, so use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) daily and wear hats in strong sun. Avoid tanning and sunbathing. Products that contain retinoids and fruit acids help promote skin renewal and soften lines; apply these topical antioxidants daily to help heal and correct environmental aging.
NUTRITIONIST’S ADVICE: Dry skin can be a sign that more vitamin A is needed. Sweet potatoes and leafy greens such as spinach and kale are great dietary sources of vitamin A. Zinc helps enhance the effects of vitamin A. Shellfish, carrots, and pumpkin seeds are also excellent sources of the nutrient.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: To combat dry skin, you have to hydrate inside and out. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. With topical products, make sure everything you use—cleanser, soap, serums, and lotions—are all formulated to be extra hydrating. Look for formulas with glycerin. Oils are also extremely moisturizing. The best ones for dry skin are sesame oil, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, and almond oil; you can apply them directly to the skin daily.
This story originally appeared in Beauty From the Inside Out by Bobbi Brown.