THE 101 ON BEAUTY FOODS
Updated: May 2, 2020
There are next to a million different skin products out there right now, and finding what works for you is all part of the journey to clear skin. More recently however, the hype surrounding inner beauty and using foods and supplements for skin health is rapidly growing. Beauty powders, drinks and supplements are all making their way into the beauty regimen of many… but that isn’t without a price tag.
As with many health related products, the cost can often be out of budget, and these new inner beauty products are no exception. Whilst they do work beautifully, you can expect to pay for it with products being no less then $50. This is where we need to change the way we look at one thing we already do every single day…
Food is a part of our day-to-day lives, but how often do you think of the food you eat as medicine?
First off, please don’t let the word medicine trigger memories of awful tasting cough syrup and over-sized tablets that are too hard to swallow. You don’t have to be sick to use food as medicine, you simply have to be smart! Finding out which foods to eat and when can help you make the most of all the beautiful health properties they have to offer. Enhancing wellness is the goal, food offers the beauty of prevention – not the stress of treatment.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most studied nutrients to date, being measured for their ability to prevent cancer, fight inflammation, improve eye health, and even reduce symptoms of ADHD in children.
Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fat that is essential to our diet as our bodies cannot synthesis it. In the omega-3 family, the three most important types to know are alpha linoleic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These can be found in different foods with ALA present in mostly plant sources, including seaweed and algae, whereas EPA and DHA are dominant in fish and meats.
Studies are showing that an increased dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids can have a therapeutic effect on the treatment of acne. Studies show that all forms of acne whether that be mild, moderate or severe can be reduced to some extent as a result of increased omega-3 consumption. These benefits were deemed conclusive regardless of how the omega-3 was administered.
Most studies used omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form so that the nutrient could be isolated and therefore adequately tested without the interference of other constituents clouding results. The general consensus arising from studies suggests it is EPA and DHA providing most benefits for skin health and acne severity, regardless of how the nutrient is sourced.
What type of omega-3 fatty acids should I be eating for my acne then?
Below is a list of foods rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA predominantly, as these have shown to be of most benefit to decreasing acne lesions.
· Oily Fish – i.e. salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herrings
· White Fish – halibut, rainbow trout
· Shell Fish – oysters, mussels, squid
· Brown and Red Algae – kelp, nori, dulse
A great pdf document on more of the different seafood sources highest in EPA and DHA written by the National Heart Foundation of Australia can be found here.
*Important Note: be mindful of the quality of seafood you are consuming, due to their varying mercury levels. Salmon, canned tuna and shellfish are usually the safer options, other than that just opt for smaller seafood types (as they are lower on the food chain and don’t consume other fish). As long as you are mixing up the amount of seafood you eat and balancing it out with other foods, you will be fine! Pregnant women however should minimise/limit their seafood intake just to be safe but consult with their doctor first.
Are supplements okay?
It is always best to get into the habit of obtaining nutrients right from their food source instead of relying on supplements. However, if you do not eat specific foods or are pregnant and concerned about mercury levels, omega-3 supplementation may be acceptable. Before buying a supplement be sure to first consult with a doctor or nutritionist to find out an appropriate dosage and brand.
Omega-3 for reducing side effects of acne treatment roaccutane
Roaccutane (aka. isotretinoin) is a type of acne medication commonly prescribed to people suffering from moderate-severe acne. It has taken a bad rap in the health industry for its harmful side effect that range in severity. One of the common day-to-day problems it causes is dryness of the lips, nose, eyes and skin which can be extremely uncomfortable for the recipients of this medication. The use of omega-3 for lessening these side effects has however been studied and showed positive results. Increasing the intake of omega-3 may help reduce these particular side effects for those taking roaccutane, although studies on whether or not this omega-3 increase also further reduced acne lesions hasn’t yet been assessed1.
So what’s the rap up?
Regardless of the nitty, gritty of it all, it’s safe to say that omega-3 as a nutrient can help work wonders for your skin naturally by reducing those pesky pimples and acne lesions. Incorporating a range of omega-3 rich foods into a balanced diet will see to this. Aiming for local, fresh and organic produce will benefit your body and the environment most, just don’t be too hard on yourself because eating like that always can be tough, I know! As long as you are doing the best you can and are enjoying your food, the outcomes you are chasing will follow!
Evaluating the Role of Omega 3 on the Side Effects of Isotretinoin in Patients with the Acnea Vulgaris. https://doaj.org/article/23c55809b1a44c6f996b6623380ebffd
Effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid on acne vulgaris: A randomised, double-blind, controlled trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24553997
Effects of fish oil supplementation on inflammatory acne. https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-11-165
Relationships of Self-Reported Dietary Factors and Perceived Acne Severity in a Cohort of New York Young Adults. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2013.11.010
Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-7-36