How many times have you heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? Although it’s a cliché, it is actually true in the case of skin and lip health. Did you know that you can improve the appearance of your skin by improving your diet? It’s easy to forget that what we eat also impacts our skin, such as our complexion and our lips. You can help your skin and lips look their best by being intentional about what you eat.
The next question is, do you know what it takes to have a good diet? There are many suggestions available about how to care for your skin and lips. Keep reading to learn the basics and dive deeper into foods that are healthy for your skin and lips.
What are signs and causes of unhealthy skin and lips
If you feel like your skin and/or lips are not healthy, you may be wondering the cause. The skin is actually the largest organ in our bodies. Healthy skin generally has good coloring and a smooth, unblemished appearance. If you have discolored, wrinkled, thin, and even “ragged” skin, then you may have unhealthy skin. The top causes of unhealthy skin are:
- Poor diet choices
- Poor hygiene habits
- Lack of sun safety/use of indoor tanning beds
Dry skin is not necessarily unhealthy skin, but it can lead to skin cracking and other problems. Environmental factors such as cold or dry weather, sun damage, and use of harsh soaps are common causes of dry skin.
Additionally, some medical conditions cause skin problems such as itching, dryness, and flaking. While diet changes cannot completely solve skin dryness that is caused by environmental or medical factors, certain nutrients and eating habits can strengthen your skin and help it heal more quickly.
General skin health guidelines
General skin health guidelines include being well-hydrated, making good dietary choices, and not smoking. Smoking is a habit that causes damage to the collagen and elastin fibers in your skin, which are designed to keep your skin strong and supple. Quitting smoking, along with the dietary suggestions mentioned below, is a strong lifestyle choice you can make to help improve your skin and lip health.
Did you know that your lips are an indicator of your hydration status? If you notice that your lips are frequently dry, then you may want to consider using a moisturizing lip balm. This will help prevent cracks and discomfort. Using one of our moisturizing lip glosses during the day will also help improve hydration.
One of the easiest ways to hydrate your body is from the inside out. If your lips and skin are dry and easily damaged, that generally means that your body needs to take in more fluids. Water helps maintain your skin’s elasticity. Sufficient hydration helps prevent scars and wrinkles. People who drink enough water show less signs of aging! The amount of water you need to consume depends on your activity level. Make sure that you make an effort to drink water throughout the day, and add electrolytes when exercising or sweating.
Nutrient-rich foods and vitamins
If you want healthier looking lips and skin, you want to make sure that you eat enough nutrient-rich food. Nutrient-rich foods have both macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are the nutrients your body needs in larger amounts: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that our body uses in smaller amounts; however, they are still essential for survival. Here are the top vitamins and minerals that help improve skin and lip health:
- Vitamin A:
- Helps repair skin and lip damage, helps skin retain moisture
- Found in eggs, milk, carrots, spinach, apricots, dairy products, fish, and fortified cereals
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Helps prevent skin disorders
- Found in protein-rich foods such as fish, poultry, beans, and peanut butter
- Vitamin C:
- Helps boost the immune system, helps skin retain collagen, and restores lips after sun or wind damage.
- Found in citrus fruits, orange juice, strawberries, green peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin E:
- An anti-inflammatory agent in the skin that helps keep your skin smooth, and reduces skin swelling and skin thickness.
- Found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, avocados, and fortified cereals.
- This mineral helps your skin and lips maintain moisture, and helps your immune system function optimally.
- Found in whole grains, fortified milk products, oysters, beef, crab, lobster, and red meat.
Also, look to incorporate nitrate-rich veggies into your diet to improve circulation & microcirculation. When your circulation is not optimal, skin cells can not receive oxygen, glucose & the nutrients needed to stay healthy. Think beets, carrots, and leafy greens like spinach and arugula.
If you cannot incorporate enough nutrient-rich foods in your diet, you may want to consider supplementing your diet with a multivitamin. Since lip and skin health is closely associated with your immune health, a healthy diet will help make your lips healthier and prevent breakouts on the skin like acne and cold sores.
Foods to avoid
No single food is to blame for causing unhealthy skin. However, if you are not eating enough high-quality, nutrient-rich foods, you may see that your skin and lips are beginning to show more signs of aging. Examples of low-nutrient foods include:
- White bread
- Salty/high-fat chips
- High-fat baked goods
- Fried foods such as french fries
- Sodas/sugar-sweetened beverages
Unfortunately, eating too many low-nutrient foods does not allow enough space in your diet to provide your body with the building blocks needed for optimal health. What you choose to drink is also a part of your diet. Consuming too many caffeinated and/or alcoholic beverages can be dehydrating to your body. Your skin may begin to show signs of dehydration, such as dullness, under-eye circles, and more noticeable fine lines.
If you find your skin and lips looking dull and worn out, consider revamping your diet! As the skin is the largest organ in your body, it often reflects your overall health. Drinking enough water each day and eating meals with nutrient-rich foods such as whole, non-processed foods are great ways to help your body look and feel its best.