Having worked closely with nutritionists and nutritional therapists throughout the duration of my career, I believe that your skin can’t be healthy if you’re not healthy.
Food is your fuel and what you eat and imbibe has a direct effect on all of your organs, including your skin.
Sometimes even now, I’ll have someone turn to me and ask “But what you’re eating isn’t really as important as topical skincare, is it?”.
They receive in return a pointed, glasses-on-bridge-of-nose glare.
Your skin is like a sunflower. For beautiful petals, you need to feed it at the root and the root of your skin is the dermis, the living layers that sits closest to your bloodstream.
Your dermis is responsible for bringing blood to your skin, particularly the newer skin cells being made.
It’s not so much the blood that matters here, but the nutrients and oxygen that it carries. Blood is your skin’s Deliveroo driver, essentially.
Topical skincare can’t reach your dermis nor your bloodstream, because your skin is literally designed to keep things away from your vital organs.
Thus, the only real way to get goodness to your dermis is through nutrition from the inside, being food (and sometimes, supplements).
Far and away, the most important nutrients for your skin are vitamin A and essential fatty acids.
If we are deficient in vitamin A, our stratum corneum, the uppermost layer of skin, is sluggish and becomes thickened, won’t reflect light to the same extent and will feel rough.
This is because A is integral for every type of cell within our skin.
When it comes to food sources of vitamin A, there are two main types: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A.
You can get your preformed vitamin A from liver and eel (delicious) or for a more palatable option, goats cheese.
For your plant-based vitamin A sources, you’re looking at sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, carrots and kale… So get that casserole going!
One thing to note: if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy, speak to your doctor before greatly increasing your vitamin A intake..
Essential fatty acids have also been shown to play an integral role in skin inflammation, which will usually appear as flakiness, itchiness and irritation, with a deficiency in essential fatty acids often displaying as dermatitis (eczema) in human skin.
The main sources of essential fatty acids that you should try to get in are atlantic salmon, sardines, sunflower oil, pine nuts, flaxseed oil, walnuts and chia seeds.
This doesn’t mean that you should start focusing on just getting vitamin A and essential fatty acids.
The best skin diet is always a balanced one.
The Nerdie Pick: Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Vit A+ (€26.50, available in selected salons and pharmacies, or theskinnerd.com) When it comes to vitamin A supplements, Skin Vit A+ is my most common recommendation.
Advanced Nutrition Programme ensure the utmost care goes into the creation of their supplements, with no artificial preservatives, fillers, colours or flavourings.
Sometimes it isn’t about the recommended amount of a nutrient but the optimal amount, and that’s what Skin Vit A+ serves you alongside your balanced diet.
Due to the high amount of vitamin A present in these, avoid if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning pregnancy, or taking a retinol-based medication like Roaccutane, and discuss with your GP if you are under medical supervision.
Skin Vit A+ is my vitamin A supplement recommendation.
It has no artificial preservatives, fillers, colours or flavourings.
Sometimes, it isn’t about the recommended amount of a nutrient, but the optimal amount, and that’s what Skin Vit A+ serves you.
Due to the high amount of vitamin A in these, avoid if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, planning pregnancy, or taking a retinol-based medication, like Roaccutane, and discuss with your GP if you are under medical supervision.
■ Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Vit A+ (€26.50, available in selected salons and pharmacies, or theskinnerd.com).