Be your own esthetician – here are 10 things you can eat or drink to help keep your skin looking great. Though many of the foods and beverages suggested here have not been proven effective though scientific studies, some dermatologists and estheticians believe they will help. Other dermatologists, however, believe what you put on your skin is more important than what you put in your body.
Water – Water, water everywhere, but what a bore to drink. Do we have to? Some skin care experts say yes, some no, but the consensus is that drinking a glassful every two hours or so will help carry nourishing elements around our bodies and wash out toxins. Oprah has a golden goblet from which she quaffs her water; another idea comes from Ellza Belleza, an esthetician at the Gerard Bollei Salon in the Galleria of Manhattan’s Trump Tower: “I don’t like the taste of water, so I squeeze in a little piece of lemon, cantaloupe or watermelon. When I drink the flavored water, my whole body feels different.”
Asparagus – Asparagus is great when you’re waterlogged, suggests Bollei makeup artist Janet Paolucci. “Asparagus is a wonderful diuretic if your face is too puffy. Steam it a little and also drink the water in the bottom of the pot,” she said.
Japanese Green Tea – Japanese green tea is good for the skin as an afternoon pick-me-up, according to Paolucci. “When you’re fatigued, your skin doesn’t have that glow. You want to get rid of all the toxins in your body and I find that green tea works wonderfully,” Paolucci said.
Berries – Dr. Nora Maya Kachaturoff, a dermatologist in private practice in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., said, “If I had to pick one food to recommend, I’d say gorge yourself on fruit, especially fresh berries. My personal favorite is a mixture of fresh berries and yogurt, which is natural, low fat, low cal and delicious. When fresh berries aren’t available, frozen ones count, as most fruit is frozen within 12 hours of being picked and retains its natural elements.”
Apples – Belleza points out that apples supply amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and are vital components for skin, hair, muscle tissue and other vital organs. Unprocessed apple cider confers similar benefits, but not processed applesauce or juice.
Pineapple – Pineapple has digestive properties and nutrients that are good for the skin, says Jane Cannan, an esthetician at the Linh Phan Salon in Bryn Mawr, Penn. “Pineapple has a cleansing effect on the digestive system and that helps with sensitivities and allergies in the skin,” Cannan said. “Papaya has similar properties.”
Salmon, Fresh Fish and Poultry – Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and author of the recently published “The Wrinkle Cure,” recommends salmon, fresh fish and poultry. “Eating high-quality protein will make your skin glow and give you healthier hair,” he said.
Enzymes – Enzymes are the concern of Bill Wolfe, a naturopathic medical doctor and a doctor of dental surgery in Albuquerque, N.M. Wolfe calls enzymes “the missing link in our daily skin care regimes,” and recommends going to a health food store and finding a combination of the enzymes amylase, cellulase, lactase, lipase and protease. “Any good produce will have all those in different quantities,” Wolfe said. “Enzyme therapy is a way of taking care of the skin from the inside out. Processed foods, stress, environmental insults, disease and aging deplete our enzyme supply, and if we don’t supplement or replace our enzymes, serious health problems can occur. We’ve always been told that beauty is only skin deep; however now, with all the research on enzyme therapy, we know that beauty is truly from within.”
Co-Enzyme Q10 – Paolucci endorses Q10, a co-enzyme in pill form. She recommends that people start with the lowest dose, once a day. “Q10 is a vitamin-like substance that ignites energy production of the skin cell. “You should have more of a glow in your face, and more vitality in your skin,” Paolucci said.
Fish Oils – Belleza emphasizes the importance to skin care of getting vitamins A to E through natural sources rather than pills. She suggests a spoonful of fish liver oil daily for vitamin A. “You can get it from sweet potatoes, papaya and dark leafy green vegetables, but I don’t always have time to eat them and fish liver oil is great for [vitamin] A, which is the protective vitamin necessary for maintaining skin beauty,” Belleza said. She recommends cod liver oil for vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption and is also found in salmon, tuna, eggs and fortified milk.