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Eating a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods such as leafy greens and berries and foods high in essential fatty acids (salmon, avocado, almonds) shows on your face as well as internally. Eating healthy can also reduce pollution effects on the skin and the body.

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What to look out for ?

Steer clear of foods that encourage and cause Glycation. The Glycation process, which is basically, sugars (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin and therefore speeding up the aging process. Glycation equals loss of elasticity and collagen, which equals sagging skin. Foods that feed Glycation and cause inflammation in the body and the skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, fatty meats and alcohol.

So where to start?

  • Say goodbye to sugar, it is NOT your friend. Sugar is addictive and in almost everything! Pay attention to your daily sugar intake. Even that ‘healthy’ green juice you’re drinking has sugar.
  • Read labels thoroughly- Salad dressings, cooking marinades, pastas, breads, cocktail mixers and coffee creamers (even the nondairy types) are loaded with sugar.
  • Remember you are always one meal away from being healthy. It is not the end of the world if you have a cheat day or even a cheat week (realistic during the holidays). Just remember you are always one meal away from getting back on track.
  • Watch the hors d’oeuvres at the holiday festivities
  • Watch alcohol intake. This is particularly relevant during the holiday season. Alcohol has dreadful and hazardous effects on the body and skin. Alcohol dehydrates eyes, skin and inside of the body. Alcohol has a bad effect on Vitamin A, B3 and Vitamin C, which are all imperative antioxidants for healthy skin and organ function. Alcohol also affects blood sugar levels and can raise blood pressure.

Signs you’re over drinking:

  1. Frequent urination during the night
  2. Dry eyes upon waking in the AM
  3. Stomach issues + bloating
  4. Facial puffiness
  5. Breakouts
  6. Fuzzy mind
  7. Overall dehydration

How to reverse Glycation?

  • Limit the intake of the ‘bad’ foods
  • Exercise daily
  • Eat a healthy diet of vegetables and antioxidant rich foods
  • Use topical skincare products that encourage collagen reproduction
  • Stay out of the Sun/wear SPF

Healthy foods to replenish hydration

  • Leafy greens
  • All berries
  • Lettuce
  • Raw spinach
  • Tomato sauce
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Pineapple

It is true, we are what we eat. Our diet can greatly affect how our skin appears and eating the wrong foods can certainly cause damage to your skin. There are easy ways substitute these foods with healthier skin friendly alternatives so we’ve outlined the key foods to stay clear of and healthy alternatives to look for.

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Photo via VP Fashion

  1. Alcohol: All in moderation and if possible try to stick to red wine. Alcohol contains a ton of sugar which can cause glycation (the breakdown of the proteins in skin(collagen and elastin), ultimately causing skin to sag and age. Glucose also causes cells to be malformed and irregular thus creating free radicals.
  2. White Sugar: Also causes glycation due to the high sugar content found in alcohol. Try adding non-processed sugars or fruits into your diet. Honey or Cacao are great alternatives to actual sugar and they are both super foods. Cinnamon can also be substituted and it helps with inflammation!
  3. White bread: Foods that have a high glycemic level raise blood sugar and can cause inflammation. This can cause a puffy look to the skin and face. Look for breads listed as low glycemic.
  4. Fried foods: Tthese foods also have high glycemic levels and can be full of preservatives which can cause bloating. If you are cooking with oil, try and use olive oil or coconut.
  5. Soda: Arguably the worst health-leading drink that you can ingest. whether it is the sugar or the artificial sweetener, stay away from drinking soda. Soda causes bloating and can dehydrate the skin.
  6. Preservatives: Leading cause of inflammation. Inflammation inside the body is a very bad thing and looks pretty bad our your skin too. Preservatives are in many foods. Stay clear of deli meats, pre-packaged snack foods and try cooking from scratch instead of reaching for the chines food. When cooking at home use natural ingredients buying processed food. Use ingredients to season food like garlic, tumeric and ginger. All three are extremely healthy and aid with inflammation.
  7. Meat: All meat if not organic will contain hormones that the animal has been fed. Hormones can need to eat organic in order to not ingest hormones the animal has been fed. Aim for fish instead. Salmon is the best because of omegas.
  8. Iodized salt: Leads to dehydration. Substitute with celtic salt or sea salt.
  9. Dairy: Leads to pore-clogging breakouts and added skin congestion. Primary function in the cause of inflammation. If you must eat dairy, eat plain yogurt without added sugar.

On our HOT list?

Water, oily fish such as salmon and sardines, avocado, berries, citrus fruit, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, red wine in moderation, green tea, rooibos tea, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and plain yogurt.

 

Alcohol is ruining your skin. We realize this is a grandiose statement but it happens to be true. Ever notice how clear non drinker’s skin and eyes are? Take a look next time and you’ll wonder if that happy hour cocktail is really a happy choice after all. While everything in moderation is considered ‘heathy’ (note- Dr. G does not drink) we want to call out all the ways that alcohol is ultimately damaging your skin.

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Let’s start with what is going on inside your cells when you drink alcohol. Alcohol contains sugar whether you add it in a mixer or not. When our bodies break down  alcohol it turns to sugar. When we ingest too much sugar, our protein molecules can cross-link with sugar molecules which causes the formation of new sugar-protein molecules. The body does not recognize these molecules and produce antibodies against them. These antibodies cause inflammation and the onset of Glycation. Glycation is responsible for the breakdown of collagen which causes, sagging skin, wrinkles, fine lines and overall dullness of the complexion.

Alcohol inhibits the production of vasopressin — an anti-diuretic hormone which has the two main jobs to restrict blood vessels and retain water. Your kidneys have to work extra hard to remove excess water which means you’ll be heading to the bathroom more frequently. When your body is deprived of fluids and electrolytes it will start to pull water from other places. This can cause skin to bloat and swell.

Alcohol also depletes your body’s Vitamin A, which is essential for cell renewal and turnover, so it is not uncommon for heavy drinkers to have a dull gray appearance to their skin. Heavy drinkers along with many people who only drink socially, see redness as a common side effect. Alcohol causes blood vessels to enlarge in the face, chest and arms, which makes people flushed and red. If you suffer for Rosace or skin flushing in general, this can make it worse overtime and even bring it to the surface. Someone with a severe alcohol allergy will become extremely red and flushed from even a small amount of alcohol. This can be also hereditary and very common in the Asian culture.

Yes, some alcohol in moderation,like red wine, can have health benefits. But the main issue seems to be people’s definition of “moderation”. Most people over drink and that is where the lines get blurred, no pun intended. If you think you may be suffering from the side effects of alcohol try stopping drinking for a few weeks and see how your skin clears up!