Chances are you came out of the COVID-19 lockdown in one of two ways: either your skin was glowing from all the self-care you were giving it, or you got a terrifying case of ‘maskne.’
If you’ve been constantly striving for clearer and more dewy skin, you’re not alone. Like you, we’ve invested plenty of time and money on searching for the best new products to put on our faces, only to realise the answer to good skin also lies in the pantry.
It’s true when they say that beauty begins on the inside. The foods we eat have plenty of impact on our complexion, and just like how a sugar binge can lead to depression-inducing breakouts, the right superfoods can speed up the recovery of many skin woes. Besides, eating right really is a more sustainable strategy than frequent trips to the dermatologist or expensive topical solutions.
To give you a head start on practising the very first step of skincare, here are some superfoods to factor into your diet to achieve clearer, glowing skin.
[Featured Image Credit: Image Credit: Oriol Portell/Unsplash; Hero Image Credit: Dani Rendina/Unsplash]
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore in July 2020.
With nicknames like the ‘miracle tree’ and ‘tree of life’, it’s easy to see why moringa has become one of the key ingredients in anti-ageing beauty products. The plant is native to India, but is also prevalent in Asia, Africa, and South America, and can be included in smoothies in its powdered form, or eaten fresh in a salad.
Your skin will thank you whichever way you have it. Moringa has seven times more vitamin C than oranges, which helps boost collagen production and neutralise free radicals that lead to premature ageing (read: fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin). Its nutrient-dense oil also has bioactive compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for acne breakouts while keeping the skin hydrated.
With its high levels of selenium — four nuts provide more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake — the Brazil nut is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, preventing wrinkles while giving it healthy glow.
This Amazonian export is also an excellent emollient that prevents dryness from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and decreases inflammation that causes acne.
As if you needed another excuse to get your hands on these prized molluscs. Oysters are one of the highest sources of zinc, a mineral important for maintaining the skin’s structural integrity and boosting collagen, especially as you age. As a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral selenium, oysters can also lessen free radical damage while protecting lipids in the skin.
It’s no secret that high-glycemic foods such as refined carbs and processed foods have been linked with inflammation and acne. Making a conscious effort to only consume whole grains such as quinoa, steel-cut oatmeal, sweet potato, and brown rice can help prevent insulin spikes, which in turn limits the production of androgen, a zit-causing hormone.
We’ve raved plenty about this superfood’s immune-boosting abilities during these pandemic times, but turmeric is also an amazing elixir for skin woes. Besides restoring your natural glow and treating uneven skin tone, the pantry staple reduces inflammation, and has anti-bacterial properties to stave off potential inflammatory acne flare-ups.
Its antioxidant-rich properties also keeps free radicals from destroying healthy skin cells, preventing the onset of hypergmentation and premature ageing.
Besides being rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and anthocyanins, pomegranates have polyphenols that also fight free radicals and help to regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it a nice healthy glow. Instead of taking the short cut and turning to sugar-loaded processed juices, eating the actual fruit instead — yes, with the seeds — will make a world of a difference for your skin.
We talked about how eating dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli can help revive your tresses from the dead, but their benefits extend to the skin too. Thanks to its high beta-carotene count, spinach helps repair skin cells to prevent ageing while restoring a healthy glow. Folate also aids DNA repair, while vitamin A — a big ingredient found in Retin-A, an acne medication — is also found generously in this vegetable.