Have you ever woken up after a night of boozing and wondered from where that pimple in the middle of your forehead came or of the bags under the bags under your eyes moved in permanently or even if that puffy rosy face was there all along? Have you ever had a niggling feeling that your diet may have something to do with that less than radiant skin with which you feel like you battle every day?
In my practice I use skin as a major diagnostic tool and an indication of how my clients’ diet (including what they are drinking) might be affecting the health of not only their skin but their entire body.
Would it shock you to know that there are four main “faces” that indicate the style of diet you might follow?
Ready to hear more?
Characteristics: Persistent spots all over the face, lines and wrinkles on the forehead, and a pasty complexion.
Caused by: A diet which is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
If you are eating a reasonable amount of fruit, under 6 (maximum 10) teaspoons of other types of sugar and not loading up on starch, your skin will actually have a nice glow from the humectant properties of appropriate amounts of glucose in the body.
When you eat a diet high in sugar (processed sugar, especially HFCS laden fake foods combined with grains and PUFA rich oils) We’ve all heard about the skin ruining affects of glycation where sugar attaches itself to collagen cells making them rigid and ineffectual rather than active and springy. This is only a very small part of the problem as what is really happening is that the sugar molecules are glomming onto a fat molecule (general an oxidized one) or a protein before it attaches to collagen fibers. It is the combination these molecules (the oxidized PUFA and rogue proteins being the bigger problem), however, if there are too many molecules, be they fructose or glucose, then that is a lot of fat molecules that are either oxidized or easily oxidized by the free radicals that are created by the perfect storm of blood sugar/insulin cascades, sun overexposure, hormonal imbalances causing a lot of damage.
Avoiding excess sugar in the forms of processed foods, sodas and other fizzy drinks, can help.
Characteristics: Swollen eyelids, dark circles under eyes, small spots and bumps on the chin.
Caused by: Lactose intolerance
If your body is struggling to digest dairy products, it will trigger an inflammatory response in your immune system, which can cause puffiness around delicate areas such as the eyelids, making you appear tired and drawn. If you are hypothyroid (very common in those with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) you will have a problem digesting dairy because the thyroid helps manufacture the enzyme lactase.
Raw dairy from grass or green-fed cattle, sheep’s cheese and goat’s dairy, are often easier to digest.
Characteristics: Red cheeks, blotchy skin around the chin and forehead.
Caused by: Gluten intolerance or allergy
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat and some other cereal grains. If you have an allergy or intolerance to it, your immune system will go into ‘attack’ mode, leaving your skin cells inflamed and irritated. Even if you don’t have an overt intolerance, grains can be incredibly difficult to digest and will cause inflammation, especially when eaten regularly. Chronic inflammation has a very definitive negative affect on the skin.
If you suffer from rosacea or persistent redness, try cutting out gluten for a few weeks. The difference could bring that elusive glow back to your face!
Characteristics: Red cheeks and nose with enlarged pores. ( Nose can “swell” if the drinking is copious or prolonged enough.) Broken blood vessels around nose and on cheek and/or chin. Dry skin, droopy eyelids and lines or redness between the eyes.
Caused by: Drinking one or more glasses of wine per evening.
Drinking dilates blood vessels leading to flushing which can exacerbate any tendency towards rosacea and causes a laxity in the vessels which can cause permanent thread veins. Drinking dehydrates skin which can make fine lines and wrinkles more visible. If you drink daily more than a glass you are more prone to Vitamin A deficiency. This powerhouse nutrient is integral in collagen and elastin formation.
If you have any liver dysfunction, wine can be difficult to metabolize which can trigger inflammation however, because the liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol including wine. Also understanding that wine can lead to a puffy look the next day for many reasons but a big reason is wine is metabolized as a carbohydrate by NAD (nicotinamide adeninedinucleotide) and while you are drinking, NAD is only metabolizing the alcohol (breaking down the wine as fructose and glucose which can be hard on the level raising trigylcerides) not any other carbohydrate you are eating. This makes it easier for you to overdo the “sugar” storing the rest as fat or in the liver as glycogen which helps contribute to fatty liver.
Each of these factors can be compounded by each other and there are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions, however, if you are struggling with skin issues that don’t resolve, eliminating these foods can point you in the right direction to a more permanent solution.
If you have tried everything and you still can’t find a solution, I invite you to book an appointment to let me help investigate the causes of your skin issues and help you devise a plan to get your glow on again!
Wishing you health, beauty + balance,