You’re never too young to ensure a glowing complexion.
Even in your 20s, fine lines—the harbinger of wrinkles—may start to appear. But a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that what you eat can combat the photoaging that leads to wrinkles.
Using both food questionnaires and scientific analyses of ultraviolet damage in 2,000 people in Australia, Greece, and Sweden, researchers found that those eating healthy monounsaturated fats from olive oil—along with antioxidant vegetables, especially leafy greens—had the least wrinkling or photoaging. And flavonoids, found in apples and other fruits, were particularly protective.
To keep your skin glowing, it helps to avoid most dairy—but not yogurt. Also steer clear of saturated fats and sugar, researchers add.
Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:
Beauty is clearly more than skin deep. Eating a beauty-full diet, like the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests, is definitely a recipe for beauty from within. As a nutritionist for over three decades, I’ve seen ample evidence that you can eat your way to beauty.
Perhaps the most obvious food/beauty connection is the essential fatty acid link. Essential fatty acids (especially from GLA) are absolutely critical to how you look. GLA-90 is vital in keeping cells moist and enhancing the barrier function of the skin, which in turn reduces water loss and inflammation.
Not only do the right fats give you dewy skin, but all healthy fats contribute to shiny hair and attractive nails. That’s because they assist in the absorption of beautifying vitamins A, D, E, and K. They also help transport oxygen throughout the body and act as precursors for hormones.
The Right Balance
The right mix of the hormones estrogen and progesterone is another key component of firm and well-hydrated skin. Besides negating the unbecoming effects of estrogen dominance from xenoestrogens (plastics, pesticides, and preservatives), the hormone progesterone lubricates your skin. If you notice facial hair, thinning hair, broken capillaries, irregular periods, irritability or mood swings, acne, liver or age spots, and/or yeast infections—along with dry, aging skin—you may need progesterone to balance out excess estrogen in your body.
Interestingly, a lack of vitamin B6 and zinc can contribute to progesterone deficiency—a deficiency I find in women from 18 to 80. These nutrients are notoriously absent in today’s diets due to food processing, too many sugary foods, and fast-food consumption.
Instead of man-made hormones, I recommend ProgestaKey, an all-natural progesterone cream that I formulated for my personal use when going through perimenopause. Since 75% of women experience some form of hormone imbalance, using this bio-identical hormone will help you balance both mental and physical symptoms.
Beauty Tips for All Ages
Every age seems to bring its own unique challenges, so pay attention to nutrition—whatever your life stage.
Teens & 20s: To fight acne, eat plenty of zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, and take a copper-free multivitamin like Female Multiple with zinc. Copper is an antagonist to zinc, leading to excess copper, which can go hand in hand with estrogen dominance. Also, cut out sugar and all of its relatives (artificial and even natural sweeteners). But every day you can enjoy at least two whole low-glycemic fruits as snacks and treats (1/2 grapefruit, 1 apple or pear, ½ cup berries).
30s & 40s: To smooth out fine lines, make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin E, which is deficient in even well-balanced diets. I recommend up to 800 IUs daily. You can even break open a 400 IU capsule of natural vitamin E to smooth gently onto any lines or scars on your face.
50s, 60s & Beyond: To combat aging skin and wrinkles, I personally take 25,000 IUs of vitamin A daily. Or if you would prefer, open and mix 4 capsules of vitamin A (25,000 IUs each) and 10 capsules of vitamin E (100 IUs each), combining in your favorite moisturizer for super-antioxidant skin protection.
Bonus Tip: HCl+2, a source of hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and ox bile, is my secret weapon for flawless skin. In my consulting practice, I find this potent digestive aid and source of acid (which decreases with age and stress) can heal rosacea, severe eczema, and boils within one to three months—regardless of age or stage of life.