At ELSI, a commitment to sharing the science is behind everything we do - from the care we take in our product development to what goes into each and every blog post. Our goal is to source the most credible information from scientific research journals and filter it through our in-house experts, so you can feel empowered and confident in every decision you make on behalf of your skin, body and mind.
To eat or not to eat: how your diet affects your skin health
As the famous saying goes, “you are what you eat.” Diet is a top contributor to overall skin health, so paying attention to what you eat really will reflect through your skin. At ELSI, while we don’t promote diet culture or support restricting ourselves from indulgence (our founder is French, after-all), we do encourage being mindful of what and how we’re eating, especially in relation to how it affects our skin.
For healthy glowing skin, always consider both what you apply onto your body, and what you put into your body. The main foods to begin incorporating are those that are anti-inflammatory, while avoiding foods that cause inflammation, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Anti Inflammatory Foods
As explained by Harvard Health, an anti-inflammatory diet should include foods like green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges, and spices such as turmeric. Additionally, organic, extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil has a lot of anti-inflammatory polyphenols that can calm sensitive skin.
High in Vitamin-C
Foods with vitamin C such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, papayas, kiwis, broccoli and bell peppers should also be prioritized. Vitamin C not only helps protect the skin from sun damage but also repairs damaged cells. Overall, higher Vitamin C intakes along with lower fat and carb intakes are associated with improved skin longevity.
Antioxidants are important for slowing and preventing free-radical damage and maintaining healthy cells. Colorful foods of bright red, yellow and orange hues like squash, carrots, grapefruit, oranges, apricots are high in antioxidants.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids help your skin and hair glow. They are found in oily fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil, and help to replenish the skin’s natural barrier. Cold-water fish, such as wild salmon, sardines and herring also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated as sensitive skin leads to a lot of water loss. Drinking water also helps with flushing your body to get rid of toxins that could build up and cause skin sensitivity.
NOT TO EAT:
High Glycemic Foods
If you’re looking to avoid breakouts, eliminating foods with a high glycemic index is a good place to start. These foods include starchy breads, white rice or pasta, high sugar beverages, candy, etc. Chocolate and oily or fatty foods are also commonly linked to acne.
Too much sugar
Sugar causes your insulin levels to spike which activates inflammation and also binds to collagen through a process called glycation, which makes the skin stiff. This can lead to premature ageing, sensitive skin, rosacea and acne.
Really spicy foods
Hot, spicy foods are stimulants that generally stimulate the circulation and raise body temperature. The increased heat in the skin may cause it to become more sensitive.
processed foods often contain high levels of salt which dehydrates your skin, along with sugars and additives which commonly cause allergies and hypersensitivity.
NOT TO DRINK:
Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate your body. Instead, opt for a cup of tea and consider trying gentle, less caffeinated varieties such as white, green and oolong.
Remember that the best strategy towards having healthy, glowing skin is a mindful, intentional lifestyle. It’s not about restricting cravings, indulgence, and flavor but instead, developing habits that include physical exercise for the body, low stress environments and a balanced nutritional diet focused on high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods.
- By Lakshika Ruwanpathirana, Chemical Engineering graduate (UC Berkeley).
What is next?
Try our Let's Start Over moisturizing serum designed to nourish and respect your skin without irritating.
 Harvard Health Publishing. “Foods That Fight Inflammation.” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
 Cosgrove, et al. “Dietary Nutrient Intakes and Skin-Aging Appearance among Middle-Aged American Women.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Oct. 2007, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/86/4/1225/4649573
 Schagen, Silke K, et al., “Discovering the Link between Nutrition and Skin Aging.” Dermato-Endocrinology, Landes Bioscience, 1 July 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/
 Katta, Rajani, and Samir P Desai. “Diet and Dermatology: the Role of Dietary Intervention in Skin Disease.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, Matrix Medical Communications, July 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106357/
 Spencer, Elsa H., et al. “Diet and Acne: a Review of the Evidence.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 19 Mar. 2009, www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04002.x