The beauty industry in and of itself is a multi-billion dollar industry focusing on what you can put on your skin to fix, tweak or hide the imperfections and flaws that rise to the surface. In recent years the trend has turned to looking at what causes skin health issues and embracing our imperfections. Beautiful trend indeed, but there are decades up decades of damage to unwind.

​Healthy skin has been a focal point on from the website’s beginning because I’m obsessed! Your skin’s health is an outside projection of your internal health. Plus, while it may sound, or actually be, shallow, how you feel about your appearance affects your interactions and performance in all scopes of your life.

In case no one has told you or you’re waiting for your permission slip: You’re allowed to feel beautiful. You’re allowed to love the skin you’re in. You’re allowed to take pride in your appearance.

Dr. Fred Pescatore stopped by for an interview to share his valuable knowledge on the topic of skin health. We focused on the core components of a truly healthy complexion. Spoiler alert, nutrition is key. Find out more, including what to eat and what ingredients to look for in your beauty products.

​First and foremost, ‘healthy skin’ is a buzz term thrown around by the beauty and health industries like crazy. How would you define skin health?

Skin health is essentially encompassing everything from healthy aging to sun and weather protection, skin hydration and nutrition for skin.

What is the number 1 skin concern people come to you for versus what is the number 1 overlooked skin concern?

The number one skin concern expressed by patients is fine lines and wrinkles caused by aging or sun damage. These concerns relate to visible skin changes and damage yet nutrition plays a major role on how your skin looks, acts and feels.

Adding antioxidants and supplements to your daily nutrition promotes elasticity and hydration. I recommend products that feature the super-antioxidant, Pycnogenol®, to support skin health. Research shows this proprietary extract from French maritime pine bark helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and promotes skin hydration by encouraging the body’s natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid.

These days it’s hard to know fact from fiction – even when it comes to sunscreen! It’s been reported that certain sunscreens contain toxic ingredients and that sunscreen prevents getting vitamin D. What’s the healthiest choice regarding sunscreen?

It’s true, some sunblocks on the market are loaded with toxic ingredients that interfere with your endocrine system. I recommend seeking a sunscreen with natural ingredients and botanicals like licorice, curcumin, aloin, ginsenoside or epicathecin. All of these naturally protect against UV damage. Check the label.

Admittedly a loaded question coming from someone who has been in the nutrition field for over a decade, but in all your years of practice have you seen that diet has an effect on a person’s skin?

Diet plays a major role our skin health. Our skin reflects the nutrients we eat as well as what we apply externally. Eat smart and focus on an inside-out approach to skin health. Poor diet can make you more prone to inflammation which can translate to skin concerns.

What foods, food products or food additives are the worst for skin health?

Sugar can affect our body weight and it plays a role in our skin health. The body metabolizes real sugar, corn syrup and honey in the same way. Diets high in sugar have been linked to advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that lead to wrinkles and loss of collagen and elastin. A balanced diet that focuses on lean proteins and vegetables – and avoids sugar – is best for your skin health.

What foods and specific nutrients are great for skin health?

There are seven key supplements that I recommend to anyone interested in preserving skin health. I recommend these to help to promote collagen production, protect against free radical damage and support skin hydration. These supplements include:

  • Fish oil
  • Silica
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Pycnogenol®
  • Zinc
  • Selenium

What are the key takeaways when it comes to nutrition and healthy skin?

When it comes to skin health, nourishing skin from both outside and inside can help you keep it as healthy as possible. Hydrate properly and be sure to feed your skin the nutrients it needs.

​Fred Pescatore, MD, MPH, CCN is a Manhattan-based traditionally trained physician and internist who specializes in nutritional medicine. He is a globally-renowned health, nutrition and weight loss expert who engages ongoing study of natural products.

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