Skin: The inside story

Don't trust your skin to keep your secrets—what you eat, how you feel... the skin tells it all

How we glow when we are happy or in love, and get red in the face when we are angry—our skin actually reflects our emotions. It also reflects our food habits. So, for the perfect skin, eat what the skin loves and stay happy.

Food for your skin

Your skin projects the overall health of your body and hence, any disturbance inside the body affects the skin. Therefore, eating right is of utmost importance. It sends the right nutrition to your blood, purifying it, which in turn helps the body. So, do not cut fat completely from your diet; it is the lubricating factor and also gives glow to your skin. And if you exercise often, you lose toxins from your body, which should be substituted by right balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Water your skin loves

Our skin comprises of 60 per cent water. Thus, it is imperative to drink enough water to keep that level to avoid unhealthy and dry skin.

Vitamins your skin loves

Vitamin A repairs body tissue, prevents skin dryness and ageing. Sources: Yellow and orange vegetables, carrots, and apricots.

carrotsVitamin B improves circulation and skin colour. Sources: Vitamin B5-rich foods like raw milk, cheese, natural plain yogurt and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin C provides support and elasticity to your skin thus delaying the onset of wrinkles. Sources: Citrus fruits, lemon, amla, berries.

Vitamin D is widely used to treat psoriasis. It plays a role in skin cell metabolism and growth and hence relieves itching and flaking of the skin. Sources: It is produced inside our body when the skin comes in contact with sunlight. Other sources include egg yolk, butter and cheese.

Vitamin E avoids cellular damage by preventing the formation of free radicals. It also enhances healing and tissue repair process. It slows down cellular ageing and prevents formation of wrinkles. Sources: Almonds, asparagus, avocados, fish, corn, soy bean oil, spinach, and walnuts.

Vitamin K promotes healing of skin discolourations, improves the healing and appearance of scars and corrects skin imperfections. Sources: Green vegetables, lettuce, spinach, lentils, egg yolk, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage.

Minerals your skin loves

MilkZinc acts as an astringent and may help in the treatment of acne among other benefits. It also helps heal wounds, Sources: Almonds, avocado, banana, cashew, cucumber, kiwi, lettuce, onion, milk, peas, tomatoes.

Selenium aids in preventing cancer and prevents inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. It increases the rate of skin burn wound healing and is anti-ageing. Sources: Oats, wheat, meat such as poultry and beef, seafood such as tuna, eggs, and cheese.

Sulphur keeps the skin smooth and youthful. Sources: Garlic, onions, eggs, and asparagus.

Herbs your skin loves

Turmeric has antiseptic properties and therefore is useful in treating pimples and minor skin infections, irritations, or burns.

Aloe vera has a soothing, healing, and moisturising effect on the skin. When applied externally [for exfoliation], it also helps remove dead skin cells.

Ginger is used in skin care products to combat cellulite and in massage oil products to warm, soothe and relax skin. It restores youthful radiance of the skin, and smoothes out rough skin.

Calendula prevents skin from over-drying, inhibiting the formation of sun-caused wrinkles. Due to the high content of carotenes, phytosterols and polyphenols, it also delays premature ageing of the skin.

Tea tree oil is effective to treat acne, abscess, athlete's foot, blisters, burns, cold sores, insect bites, oily skin, rashes, spots, warts and wounds. It can also be used to cure sunburn, diaper rash, toe nail infections and problems of smelly feet.

Other foods your skin loves

Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid [GLA], an essential fatty acid reputed to strengthen skin cells and boost their moisture content. It helps in rejuvenating your skin, lightens dark circles, acts as an anti-ageing agent, improves firmness and reduces skin blemishes and redness.

Carotenoids helps protect the skin against harmful ultraviolet [UV] radiation from the sun. These are a highly coloured group of plant pigments that are known to be potent antioxidants found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and tomatoes.

Biotin is essential for maintaining healthy skin and prevents hair loss and premature greying of hair. It is present in common foods such as nuts, fruit, oats egg yolk, milk, and brewer's yeast.

Flaxseed has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces skin irritation and redness, fastens healing of skin bruises and skin wounds, helps prevent or slow the development of skin cancer. It also assists in the maintenance of younger looking skin, and plays a role in treating and reducing skin problems and dandruff.

Olive oil prevents dry skin and stretch marks and acts as a good moisturiser.

Sleep and glow

Sleeping time is when our skin undertakes its maintenance and damage repair activities. To aid in its work, the body too produces more proteins during this time. The enhanced protein production ensures proper rejuvenation and revamping of the tissues and cells. So, not sleeping well or enough deprives the skin of its repair time, which is bound to show up on the face—dark under-eye circles, swollen eyes, sagging, dull and sallow skin, and early onset of wrinkles, crow's feet and laugh lines.

Sleep experts say that we need 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. However, with the current hectic schedules that men and women follow, it becomes difficult to get the required amount of sleep. So manage your work effectively and find ways to get your quota of sleep.

— Team CW

pH protection

By Satish T Bhatia

The skin wields a very effective weapon—a slightly acidic layer known appropriately as 'the Acid Mantle', a fine film that prevents the growth of bacteria that might enter through the skin and cause harm. It is measured by pH. The pH of healthy human skin ranges between 4.5 and 6 [in adults], especially in our 20s.

As we hurtle towards our 30s and 40s, the pH starts to increase causing bacterial growth and infections. Due to this, the skin begins to lose its elasticity and firmness, tends to become more dry and as a result starts sagging.

The pH also increases due to problems unrelated with age like repetitive washing, and using alkaline cleansing agents. In dealing with skin problems, therefore it is important that the pH of the skin be kept within the normal range [the ideal is a pH of 5.5].

To help do that, use cleansing agents made from natural ingredients with minimum allergenic potential, devoid of harsh chemicals, conforming to highest quality standards.

Satish T Bhatia holds a post-graduate degree in dermatology with honours. He is the first Indian to get a diploma in Dermabrasion from MEDICAMAT, France and is based in Mumbai.

Reverse effect

Skin diseases are just another example of organ dysfunction like heart disease or diabetes. But, because skin is plays an important role in social interactions, diseases of the skin create a major impact on the psyche of the person.

The effects of disorders like acne, eczema, vitiligo and psoriasis are so visible that they cause tremendous shame and isolation. For instance, in a vitiligo study 40 per cent of patients reported depression. And vitiligo is purely a cosmetic condition.

— Team CW

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