Skincare isn’t solely about applying products. A holistic skincare routine is done both externally and internally. In spite of how much products you apply on your skin externally, let’s agree that a healthy and nutritious diet is the foundation for healthy-looking skin. The tricky part is that diet is pretty much a customised eating handbook; it varies from individuals, skin types and seasons.
Today we are going to decode your skin type and the foods that are best for each in the journey for clearer and healthier skin.
First things first, find out your skin type. There are four commonly found skin types, namely dry skin, oily skin, combination skin and sensitive skin. If you find yourself falling into one of these categories, it’s totally fine and normal (because we’re human after all!). Generally, what differentiates these skin types from one another is the result of water and oil balance. That’s why choosing the right food plays an important role to restore the balance, from the inside out.
Skin Type #1: Oily Skin
One can be identified as having an oily skin type when his/her face looks shiny, not just on certain facial areas, but overall. The oily skin type is likely to have large visible pores that produce excessive sebum (oil secreted by our sebaceous glands to moisturize the skin surface and hair).
If you don’t treat it accordingly, it may cause clogged, enlarged pores and piling of dead skin cells. Henceforth, the chances of getting acne issues (i.e. blackheads and pimples) are higher than other skin types.
Causes of Oily Skin
While the primary cause of oily skin is genetics, it may also be due to hormonal imbalance (during puberty period) and stress.
Not to mention, one’s living environment and lifestyle may contribute as well. For instance, aggressive and frequent face washing will strip off the natural oil which was originally meant to moisturize our skin. In turn, our skin will secrete more oil in order to compensate for the drying effect, which may lead to overproduction of sebum. The same effect will occur when one neglects to use a moisturizer.
Besides that, a greasy and high sugar diet can contribute to oily skin. This includes deep-fried foods, processed foods, dairy products, soft drinks, bubble tea…you name it.
Best Foods for Oily Skin
No doubt a clean diet is best recommended for oily skin, where little to no trans-unsaturated fats, sugars or alcohol are added. Meanwhile, nutritionists recommend to increase natural food intake, like leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts and soy products, especially those that are rich in vitamin B2, which will help to nurture oily skin.
Skin Type #2: Dry Skin
One can be identified with a dry skin type when his/her face looks dull, rough, flaky and less elastic. The dry skin type is likely to have more visible facial lines and almost invisible pores.
If you don’t treat it accordingly, your skin can crack, peel or become itchy, irritated, or inflamed.
Causes of Dry Skin
Dry skin may be simply due to genetics, or as a consequence of aging and hormonal changes. External factors that contribute to dry skin are insufficient moisturizing, drying ingredients in skincare products and intake of certain medications. For instance, medications for acne, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are known to cause dry skin.
Best Foods for Dry Skin
The best foods for dry skin are those that replenish oils and moisture. For instance, nutritionists highly recommend natural ingredients like fatty fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil, sweet potatoes and cucumbers and especially fish which contains Omega-3 fatty acids, a powerful anti-inflammatory food ingredient that can soothe dry and irritated skin.
Skin Type #3: Combination Skin
This is probably the most commonly found skin type since every individual experiences a combination of oiliness and dryness at the same time. How do you tell whether or not you have combination skin? Well you probably experience some dryness on the cheeks while your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) appears oilier compared to other facial areas.
Causes of Combination Skin
Other than genetics, other factors that may contribute to combination skin include aging, hormonal changes, medication and weather. Also do bear in mind that an inconsistent skincare routine or wrong skincare products may cause or worsen combination skin whereby dry patches or oily patches are more visible.
Best Foods for Combination Skin
Finding the balance between moisture and dryness should be core while designing the best diet for the combination skin type. First, it is crucial to maintain a healthy level of moisture throughout your body (including skin!). Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water, eating juicy fresh fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers and celery. On top of that, dietitians also recommend lean protein (like tofu and white-meat or fish), low-glycaemic carbs (like quinoa and brown rice) and healthy fats for the combination skin type.
Skin Type #4: Sensitive Skin
You might be surprised that actually many people have reported sensitivity of some kind. However, the severity of skin sensitivity varies from occasional reactions, to extreme sensitivity that occurs on a daily basis. One who has sensitive skin is most likely to be troubled by dry flaky patches, itching, redness, blotches and rashes. Their skin may turn red and dries out after a hot shower. Usually people with sensitive skin are highly reactive to common chemicals, such as perfume, hair dye and certain household cleaning products.
Causes of Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin may be caused by skin disorders or allergic skin reactions, such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea. Certain medications, hormonal changes and excessive exposure to skin-damaging environmental factors can also increase one’s skin sensitivity. Meanwhile, from another point of view, sensitive skin is the result of a broken skin barrier whereby overly dry skin can no longer protect nerve endings, leading to various skin reactions.
Best Foods for Sensitive Skin
While the sensitive skin type always suffers from redness and pain, dermatologists often recommend the anti-inflammatory diet that would soothe the discomfort while strengthening the skin barrier. Besides leafy green vegetables and healthy fats, dietitians also recommend fermented foods that will boost the immune system, like sauerkraut, kombucha and yogurt. Garlic and turmeric are two other star ingredients in the anti-inflammatory diet that should be eaten on a daily basis.
In conclusion, regardless of what skin type you are, a clean and balanced healthy diet is crucial in nurturing your overall skin condition.
It’s important to understand that our skin type may change depending on the climate you live in, season and age. So you must re-evaluate your skin periodically to make sure you are on the right track.
Feel free to consult a dermatologist to understand your skin condition better.