Dr Tan Hiok Hee
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
What to eat for healthy, glowing skin: a dermatologist’s perspective
When it comes to attaining healthy and glowing skin, most people are aware of the need to avoid excessive sun exposure and smoking, as well as the need to moisturise regularly – but what about a person’s diet? Dr Tan HiokHee, a Singapore skin expert from theThomson Specialist Skin Centre shares her skin care advice.
Many people take water for granted. Indeed, it is such a basic item that most people do not even consider it as part of their diet. Taking sufficient water is essential to ensure that cells are adequately hydrated – our skin is composed of 90% water, in fact.
- Green Tea
The medicinal properties of tea are attributed to flavonoid phytochemicals called polyphenols. The polyphenols found in tea mainly belong to the subtype called catechins. These are potent antioxidants and may prevent free radical damage to the cells.
- Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids come in two classes, Omega-3 and Omega-6. These are important for glowing skin and healthy hair, and have to be taken in through the diet as our body cannot manufacture them. Oily fish such as salmon and tuna, and certain nuts and seeds such as walnut and sesame, as well as flax oil and soya beans, are good sources.
These are important in destroying free radicals that are generated by our body due to sun exposure. Free radical damage can affect collagen in the skin. Besides green tea which has been mentioned earlier, berries are a great source of antioxidants – particularly blackcurrants and raspberries. Don’t forget other fruits and vegetables as well, such as tomatoes, cherries, spinach and broccoli.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is needed for healthy eyes, skin and hair. A lack of Vitamin A can cause very dry and scaly skin and can also lead to hair loss and night blindness. Good sources include milk, butter, oily fish and eggs.
- Vitamin B Complex
The B vitamins help to release energy from food for skin metabolism. Sources include whole grains, wheat germ, eggs, oily fish and milk.
- Vitamin C
Besides being an antioxidant, Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are good sources. Other foods rich in Vitamin C include kiwi fruit, strawberries, blackcurrants and tomatoes.
Iron deficiency can result in hair loss, nail abnormalities and also cause skin problems and itching. Iron is required in the formation of haemoglobin, which is the red pigment in our red blood cells, and a lack of iron can lead to anaemia. Good sources of iron would include red meat, liver, eggs, seafood and green leafy vegetables.
A proper diet, combined with good skin care, can increase your chances of having glowing skin, as well as lustrous hair and healthy looking nails. As with all things, moderation is necessary, and one should not go overboard or start on a new trendy diet without advice from a healthcare professional, particularly if you already have a pre-existing medical condition.
Looking for a skin care treatment or regimen? Find qualified, experienced and licensed Singapore dermatologists at the Thomson Specialist Skin Centre. A dermatologist can help you understand your skin and create a skincare program that bests suits your needs.