How to eat for your skin type

20 April 2017 by
First published: 25 September 2016

Want beautiful, clear skin? Here’s how to eat for your skin type. As it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard it, when it comes to healthy-looking skin, the cliché: ‘you are what you eat’ has never been so true. Your choice of food can not only affect your physical and mental wellbeing, but also your skin cells too. So here’s our ultimate guide on what you should be eating.

For normal skin

If you are one of the lucky few with this skin type, it usually means your body is holding onto a good amount of water and lipids. Therefore, your skin has little or no imperfections and rarely suffers from visible pores or sensitivity. But to enhance that natural glow us Brits are always after, ginger is your skin’s new best friend. ‘Ginger is a vasodilator that stimulates circulation, resulting in the delivery of more nutrients to the skin to make it glow. Infuse fresh ginger root and lemon in hot water to make a warming tea,’ suggests Lily Soutter, a nutritionist and weight loss expert. Lily also recommends adding fresh or ground ginger to stir-fry recipes, curries and soups.

For dry skin

Plenty of nourishment and hydration is needed for people who suffer with dry skin. Consequently, adding omega fatty acids to your diet will help skin to retain its moisture for longer, keeping the surface plumped and soft without any harsh signs of dryness. ‘Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an essential role in the structure and appearance of the skin,’ says nutritionist Cassandra Barns. ‘As well as being necessary for our heart, brain and eye health, omega fatty acids are incorporated into cell membranes in the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and form a matrix around the cells, helping to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent moisture loss. They are also thought to have a role in the dermis (the lower layer of skin) by controlling inflammation and minimising collagen damage from UV rays.’

For combination skin

Combination skin means having to deal with both oily and dry patches. Luckily you can fill two needs with one deed.  ‘Eat a good serving of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines three times a week,’ Cassandra advises. As lean protein and omega fatty acids play a huge part in balancing areas of combination skin. The antioxidant carotenoid, astaxanthin, which is found in salmon can also greatly reduce the effects of free-radical damage – meaning clearer, younger-looking skin.

For oily skin

If you have oily skin, you’ll probably find that starchy carbs, sugary foods and dairy products worsen the problem. With that in mind, it’s best to swap chocolate bars and biscuits for naturally sweet alternatives that are high in antioxidants, such as berries. When it comes to preventing oily skin, brightly- coloured foods are your best friends – so consume a rainbow of fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach and broccoli. These are all packed with the antioxidants that will help to prevent free radical damage.