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Eat Your Way to A Gorgeous Glow

Apr 17, 2024

4 min read

Say goodbye to skincare hoarding and hello to a nourishing routine for radiant skin. Dermatologists reveal how to achieve that 'I woke up like this' look, revealing that the real magic happens on your plate, not just on your face.

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A group of girls with glowing skin eating healthy foods that help with nutrition for their skin.
A portrait of the author, Ishani Chatterji

ISHANI

CHATTERJI

My 13-year-old cousin was standing at the mall counter of a reputed skincare brand, chatting with the sales lady; she wanted a CTM routine that would clear her acne. I had to drag her away and tell her she could wait for a while before she jumped into the hoopla of skincare routines. She wasn’t amused, “I counted the tiny bottles on your table; you have more than 10 for that 10-step routine!”

Guilty as charged.

While I have been adding more products to my skincare wishlist, ranging from night creams to sheet masks and snail mucin, the real deal with skincare, I learnt pretty late in life, is not so much about what I put on my face as much as what I put on my plate.

Meet your largest organ

Your skin is the largest organ in the body, and it does a lot for you, from functioning as a resilient yet flexible outer layer that acts as a barrier to safeguarding the body from external elements, which include moisture, cold temperatures, sunlight, as well as germs and harmful substances. Your skin is your outer hero and deserves some special care.

Dr Mihika Noronha, consultant dermatologist at Ruby Hall, Adventist Hospital and Planet Skin, Pune, says that the basics of skincare are taught in primary school—bathe, wash your face, eat well, and focus on your lifestyle.

A New York Times article titled ‘How Your Diet Affects Your Skin’ brought in the perspectives of multiple dermatologists on the same matter. Dr Lauren Ploch, a dermatologist in Aiken, SC, said, “Our diet absolutely affects our skin” and recommended a Mediterranean diet for good skin, which provides beneficial nutrients like antioxidants and protective plant-based compounds.

Plate up for healthy skin

Dr Noronha advises focusing on what one puts on their plate rather than what goes on the face; her recommendations for healthy skin are straightforward.

“While your diet plays a massive role in the quality of your skin health, it is also the most neglected portion of it,” she said, going on to suggest the four things that should be part of our healthy diet for glowing skin.

  1. Vitamin C: This antioxidant is among the best vitamins for health skin. Include two portions of vitamin C-rich foods in a day in the form of whole fruits and not juice.
  2. Colourful and leafy vegetables: Eat the rainbow by incorporating 4-5 portions of vegetables spanning reds, purples, yellows, oranges, and greens. Think carrots, pumpkins, beets, and spinach. This is an effective way to introduce your system to several nourishing minerals and vitamins for health skin.
  3. Water: An adequate amount prevents your skin from drying up; drink at least three litres daily. 
  4. Omega fatty acids: While vegetarians can derive their nutrients from peanuts, walnuts, almonds, seeds, and local avocados (only if available), non-vegetarians can eat fish like mackerel and rohu. 
Blog quote

While your diet plays a massive role in the quality of your skin health, it is also the most neglected portion of it.

Dr Mihika Noronha, Consultant Dermatologist at Ruby Hall, Adventist Hospital and Planet Skin, Pune

She isn’t the only one who strongly advises having whole foods. In October 2023, The Guardian did a piece where they had dermatologists reveal their daily routines for their skin. While the larger conversation was about skipping soap, there was a lot of talk about what went into their system, namely from Dr Anjali Mahto, cosmetic and medical dermatologist and the author of The Skincare Bible. She said, “My take on supplements—apart from vitamin D—is that it’s better to get the nutrients you need from whole foods than to pop a pill.”

Skincare is your love language

If you are on a mission to have clear skin, besides keeping your plate colourful and hydrated, you must stop believing everything you read in the wild world of social media and give your skin the love it deserves, depending on your age. As tempting as it may seem, some pretty pastel packaging you saw on your feed is not the answer. “The problem with Instagram remedies is that there is no one size fits all for skincare,” believes Dr Noronha.  

Dr Noronha suggests a few tips for men and women of different ages.

For teenagers and young adults

  1. If you have acne, cut down on junk food and avoid milk. Focus on correcting nutritional deficiencies, such as Iron and B12, that are common among teenagers.
  2. Do not experiment with different products; keep it to a minimum and apply sunscreen no matter what.
  3. Females experiencing menstrual problems and issues such as weight gain or unwanted hair growth must address them early on—they might point to underlying hormonal changes.
  4. Males must be careful when they shave; shave in the direction of hair growth to avoid rashes.

For the 30-somethings

  1. You will notice early signs of ageing in the form of wrinkles and pigmentation. If you are insulin-resistant, you will notice changes like thickening around the nape of your neck and pigmentation. People in their teens and 20s, too, may experience this. To tackle this, your diet for good skin must include whole grains and less refined carbohydrates. 
  2. Incorporate a 30-minute exercise routine daily. This will help reduce stress hormones, help with circulation, and increase the nutrient supply to your skin.
  3. Skip the exfoliating face wash because, with age, your skin begins to dry up. 

Beyond 30s

  1. If you are starting on or are medically advised to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, remember to give your skin that extra boost of hydration. Maintain hydration through products with ingredients such as natural butters, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and peptides.
  2. Let go of all drying products. Avoid products with AHA and BHA acids. Use these ingredients only after consulting with your dermatologist.
  3. Consume foods that are rich in omega fatty acids.

It’s never too late to start skincare

In The Skincare Bible, Dr Mahto says, “Quality skincare does not have to be complicated or expensive, and it is never too late to start or mix up your skincare routine.” Your skin is unique, so your routine and diet for good skin must be tailor-made with products that suit your skin type. 

So, if you genuinely want to embrace healthy and glowing skin in 2024, plate up healthy, skip the self-diagnosis, and visit a dermatologist who can help identify your problems and give you tailor-made solutions. After all, healthy skin is always in.

Medically reviewed by:

Dr Apoorva Raghavan- Dermatologist & Aesthetician


A portrait of the author, Ishani Chatterji

Ishani Chatterji, a journalist-turned-copywriter, has a rich portfolio featuring publications like The National Herald, The Times of India and The National Geographic Traveller Magazine. She has crafted compelling content and strategies for renowned brands such as United Colors of Benetton, Safari Bags, Policybazaar, Covifind, and Aditya Birla Capital. With a book in one hand and a robust cup of coffee in the other, Ishani lives in two worlds, the former being populated by words and characters, and she loves every minute of it. 


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