Nikki Ostrower (Nutritionist)
Transform Your Skin with this Food Experiment
From the time I turned eleven and through college, I used dermatologist-prescribed medicated creams and facewash to keep my acne at bay. While I was fortunate to keep my skin fairly clear all those years, it came with a cost: super oily skin in photos and the need to carry oil blotting sheets with me everywhere, pimples throughout my cycle, and whenever I’d get my eyebrows waxed, they’d inevitably rip a thin layer of skin off. There was no understanding at the time that the medicated creams were the cause.
It wasn’t until I became a Nutritionist that I threw out those products and began exploring how foods affect my skin. Prior to that, it never crossed my mind that the two were connected. I started doing experiments where I’d eliminate certain foods for several weeks and reintroduce them to see how they affected my body. As one experiment, I let go of dairy for two weeks, and not only did my pimples vanish, but my skin stopped over-producing oil.
"Once you know how foods impact your body, you’ll feel empowered to eat the foods that respect your skin’s need for nourishment!"
To be certain that dairy was the culprit, I reintroduced it, and pimples came back within days. It was an eye-opening experience and has influenced my food choices ever since.
Now it’s your turn. To assist you with exploring foods that can impact skin, here’s a shortlist of common Pro-Inflammatory vs Anti-Inflammatory foods! Give yourself a period of 2-4 weeks “crowding out” the Pro-Inflammatory foods with Anti-inflammatory options below, and share what you discover. Trust me - you’ll be so grateful to understand your body better on a whole new level:
Oils: Sunflower, safflower, corn, soy, peanut, cottonseed, grapeseed, and canola oil. You’ll find these in most processed food products on the market - even nuts, seeds, and nut/seed butters!
Sugar (there are 56 names and counting!) so start reading labels and cut them out
Gluten - this is a protein found in some grains like wheat as well as places you wouldn’t expect like soy sauce, packaged products, and food additives. Even if you don’t have Celiac disease, thanks to modern Industrialization and Pesticides, Gluten-containing foods can still cause massive inflammation and gut health disruption.
Dairy - while some can tolerate moderate amounts of clean organic goat/sheep/cow products, most people need to pay close attention to how dairy affects their immune system and their skin! Cutting it out helps you see how you truly respond upon reintroduction. Just be sure when you reintroduce that it’s a clean source (no Kraft cheese please).
Artificial ingredients - think dyes, colorings, flavor enhancers, and anything with a chemical name you don’t recognize and can’t pronounce! These wreak havoc on your gut and your skin.
Omega 3’s - rich in fish like wild salmon, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Turmeric - a bright orange spice to throw into smoothies, soups, and stews. Curcumin, a component of Turmeric, packs an anti-inflammatory punch!
Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil - great swaps for the oils above!
Cruciferous veggies - cook some broccoli, cauliflower, bok choi, and kale. Your hormones, digestion, and skin will thrive thanks to their powerful detox capabilities.
Avocados - Smooth, rich, creamy, full of healthy fat, and easy to throw on a veggie wrap, salad, soup, or side dish. We couldn’t be bigger fans of this fruit!
Once you know how foods impact your body, you’ll feel empowered to eat the foods that respect your skin’s need for nourishment! And, you will be well on your way. Enjoy!