When it comes to clear, healthy skin, everyone is looking for the answer. Whether it’s a cleanse, detox, trendy face mask or good old fashioned exfoliating, everyone and their mom is willing to try the next big thing to eliminate acne.
Perhaps the best person to give us answers is Dr. Trevor Cates, aka The Spa Dr. and the author of her new book Clean Skin From Within. Cates knows that everyone’s skin is different, so there is no one fix for skin problems like acne, dry and flaky skin, red and inflamed skin, etc.
In Clean Skin From Within, Cates deciphers the root issues of your skin problems, while telling you how to handle your own individual skin issues both internally and externally. Take her skin quiz here to learn what’s best for your individual skin type.
Click through to learn more about healthy skin from Dr. Cates!
Foods to add to your weekly grocery list
In the meantime, we asked Cates some important questions about skincare and learned some pretty interesting stuff. For example, did you know that monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and collagen are three of the most important substances for your skin?
Let’s start with the easy one. You probably know that collagen comprises most of the skin’s weight (70 to 80 percent, to be exact) and helps give your skin structure. But as we age, collagen production declines, leading to saggier, thinner skin. Cates is a big fan of getting nutrients naturally through food — for collagen, she recommends bone broth. Not only does bone broth contain collagen, but it’s also “healing for your gut and provides important nutrients for joints, hair and nails,” Cates says. “Make sure you follow a good recipe and only use bones of organic animals.”
Cates says that the high levels of antioxidants (like polyphenols and vitamin E) found in monounsaturated fats in avocados can help can help combat oxidative damage that can speed up the aging of our skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids have great anti-inflammatory properties that can help cut down on redness and inflamed skin. Cates recommends getting your omega-3 fatty acids through wild salmon. “Because the root of many skin problems is inflammation, this is one of the most essential nutrients for skin health,” Cates says.
Foods to cross off your grocery list forever
When it comes to foods to stay away from, Cates says sugar and dairy are big-time offenders for poor skin. Not only is sugar linked to countless other health issues, but according to Cates, sugar can cause acne breakouts and damage your skin’s elasticity.
“Eating sugar increases your blood sugar and insulin, which, in turn, stimulates sebum production and androgen activity and can lead to acne breakouts,” Cates says. “In addition, excess glucose can bind to your skin’s collagen and elastin, which can damage skin.”
And don’t think that by drinking diet soda you’re off the hook! “Artificial sweeteners are just as bad (if not worse) because they trick the body into thinking it’s had something sweet, so you end up craving more sweets, eating more and, therefore, the same end results,” Cates says.
Dairy in general is also bad for your skin, says Cates, but especially skim milk and ice cream. Not only are dairy products pro-inflammatory and common allergens, but they also contain hormones, even when cows aren’t given hormones.
“So, even if you buy ‘hormone-free’ milk, bypassing all hormones in milk is nearly impossible,” Cates says. “Milk also has high sugar content in the form of lactose, and we know high sugar increases the potential for skin damage.”
Your go-to clear skin smoothie ingredients
Cates’ book won’t be released until March 15, but luckily she’s given us the basic tools for building a healthy smoothie until we can get our hands on Clean Skin From Within.
- Fresh or frozen fruit: berries, cherries, mango, and papaya
- Greens and other veggies: avocado, beets, cucumber, kale, lettuce, and spinach
- Liquids: almond milk and coconut milk (unsweetened)
- Fresh herbs and spices: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, ginger, mint
- Protein powder: hemp or pea
- Seeds & nuts: chia seeds, coconut, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, soaked almonds