Anyone that has had the pleasure of knowing me through my last few years at school (or my first year at college) can tell you just how much I’ve struggled with my skin. I’ve always had a very complicated relationship with it and have had to deal with low confidence and esteem issues. From avoiding going out or going out buried underneath layers of makeup to trying every product on every shelf, nothing seemed to help (and I’d tried everything except making dietary changes). When you’re 17 or 18 and supposed to be having the best time of your life, this can be a real downer.
The only thing that ultimately helped me was making strict and regimental dietary changes. Hear me out. I know this sounds daunting and almost authoritarian, but it is the only thing, aside from following a dermatologist prescribed routine, that will help you. Take it from someone that’s grown from being uncomfortable in her skin to loving, embracing, and glowing in it. The snacks and meals you choose to binge on today will most definitely affect your skin tomorrow.
Here are all the dietary changes I swore by that completely changed how I look:
1. Hot water + lemon
If there was a potion to fix your skin, it would be this! A glass of moderately hot water mixed with the pulp of lemon on an empty stomach every morning is the first step of this extensive plan. Initially, it’ll seem forced and useless, but eventually, you’ll get used to it and it’ll become a habit. Not only does it promote hydration, but is also a source of Vitamin C which helps reduce wrinkling and dry, dull skin. The effects of this will show up in the long run, and I promise you they’ll be great.
2. Cucumber + capsicum
Right after my daily morning glass of hot water and lemon, I make sure to eat a bowl of cucumber and capsicum chopped into tiny pieces mixed together. Yes, I know how gross that sounds, but it helps, I promise! Green capsicums are rich in vitamin C which helps in the production of collagen. Collagen keeps the skin firm and protects the cells from further damage. The mix of the two greens helps diminish acne, rash, and redness. Make sure to eat a bowl daily, before breakfast.
3. No dairy
Yet another seemingly impossible step is to cut the dairy. It’s much easier than it sounds, and there are definitely a few tricks to cope. Try and stick to vegan cheese, chocolate, curd, and milk if needed. Dairy products are generally rich in whey protein, which is pro-inflammatory and can lead to inflammation, which can manifest as acne and rosacea. Other than an occasional cup of curd, you’ll need to get rid of the coffees, the teas and the chocolates too. While this one may take some time to show results, when it does, it’ll be worth it.
4. Eliminating sugar
If you’ve reached all the way here, just know that I have faith in you, and you can do it! These changes seem scary, but you’re going to be thanking yourself soon. Another change that I made is cut out all processed sugar from my diet. Sugar in any form influences the two major causes of acne: hormones and inflammation. As you eat refined sugar, your blood sugar levels increase at a faster rate, and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin. By eliminating sugar, you may be able to decrease the amount of insulin produced, resulting in a decline of oil and acne production your body makes. So out the window go all the desserts, all the sweets and the candies. If you’re craving something sweet, snack on berries and fruits instead.
5. Avoiding fried food
This one’s perhaps the most obvious. At some point in time, everyone’s mom has told them to ditch the fried food. This means getting rid of the multiple packets of Lays, ditching the McDonald’s fries, and bidding a heavy goodbye to fried momos. Deep-fried foods lead to excess oil production within the skin and no one wants the oil from their food showing up on their face. Furthermore, hydrogenated trans fats found in deep-fried food will also have a negative impact on your complexion, making it look dull and glow-less.
This list seems like a task at first, but once these small changes become a part of your routine, your skin will thank you. Ask mine that has turned from raw, red, and rough to smooth, supple, and shiny. I’ve become a happier, more confident version of myself. I’ve grown from someone that wouldn’t step outside without a full face of make-up to someone that barely uses concealers and foundations. There isn’t a better gift you can give yourself than the satisfaction that comes from looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing yourself glow.
Make sure to drink lots of water, believe in yourself, be patient with your skin and love yourself through the process of it becoming better.
What are some dietary changes that you swear by? Let me know in the comments below.
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