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Dr Mahto on treating skin conditions through diet and lifestyle

Treating skin conditions through diet and lifestyle

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic shares her insight into treating skin conditions through diet and lifestyle.

As a leading consultant, Dr Mahto is revered for her knowledge, passion and progressive drive to educate the public. As the author of best-selling beauty book The Skincare Bible, Dr Mahto is dedicated to dispelling myths and arming individuals with the latest, evidence-based research in order to achieve the very best outcomes:

There is no doubt that certain lifestyle factors can impact your skin in both health and disease (positively and negatively) however it’s advised not to treat skin disease with lifestyle measures alone. For individuals suffering from chronic inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea, lifestyle measures alongside medical treatments will provide beneficial outcomes. For those without skin conditions who are seeking improved skin health and wishing to delay the effects of ageing, lifestyle measures are important. Minimising exposure to UVA and UVB rays, exercising regularly, getting good sleep and relaxation, smoking cessation, managing stress levels and maintaining a healthy diet are all positive lifestyle steps that can help improve skin health, as well as general health.

Diets come in and out of fashion and contrary to media hype and the latest food crazes, there is no fixed diet that is good for your skin – a diet that is good for your skin is one which is good for your general health. Whether vegan, pescatarian, paleo, LCHF, keto, zone or South Beach; a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and sugar (and alcohol) and rich in colourful fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses, lean proteins and essential fatty acids will be beneficial to your overall health.

Key dietary components that can be beneficial for your skin include:

+ Omega-3 fatty acids - these are derived from linolenic acid and naturally found in the skin. They have a role an important role in immune function in the skin. They have also been shown to have a “photo-protective” role making the skin more resilient to sunburn. (This is definitely not an excuse for not using sunscreen!) They can be found in cold water fish, nuts, seeds and flaxseed oil.

+ Carotenoids - betacarotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. This group of compounds have a number of skin benefits and can limit damage against free radicals, have a role in skin maintenance and repair and can be photo-protective. Find them in leafy green vegetables, orange root vegetables, tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit.

+ Minerals - Copper and zinc are needed for collagen synthesis and wound repair and healing. Selenium is an important antioxidant.

+ Vitamins - Vitamin C and E have important antioxidant roles in the skin. Vitamin C is needed for collagen, the main protein which gives our skin its support structure. Vitamin E helps reduce the effects of ageing by neutralising free radicals which damage collagen.

+ Polyphenols - these are secondary plant metabolites and have an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and photoprotective role in the skin. There are over 8000 compounds identified but include substances such as curcumin (from turmeric) and epigallocatechin gallate from green tea.

Most of these key substances needed for your skin are also beneficial to other organ systems of your body. There is no doubt that good nutritional status is vital to looking after your skin and optimising skin health. However, what you don’t want to do is fall into the trap of believing that food alone can fight or cure skin problems. What works for one individual may not work for another. We are all unique individuals with our own interaction of DNA, genetics and hormones, living in our environments - none of these can be ignored. Neither can ensuring a decent night’s sleep, smoking cessation, keeping alcohol intake within recommended limits and adequate physical activity. All these lifestyle measures can sit comfortably alongside prescription treatments and we should never have to simply choose one or the other. Lifestyle and dermatology work collaboratively for best patient outcomes, not in competition! 

To book a consultation with Dr Anjali Mahto please call 0808 278 6577