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6 unlikely foods to treat the trickiest of skin conditions, according to an expert

A consultant dermatologist and nutritionist, Dr Thivi Maruthappu bridges the gap between diet and skin health. Her uniquely holistic approach taps into the mind-skin connection with personalised skincare and medical treatments, prescribing specific foods as a way to treat skin conditions. “I think that skin health is both an inside and an outside job,” she says. “If we want to feel and look our best, it’s important not to overlook previously under-recognised areas such as how stress impacts our skin and the role of our diet.”

While a nutritious, balanced diet is the cornerstone to skin health, some specific skin concerns require a specific diet, which is something Dr Maruthappu explores in her new book, SkinFood. “For example, there are certain foods that can trigger eczema flare ups whilst others can contribute to breakouts,” she says. “There is also the important role of gut health and skin health known as the gut-skin axis.” Below, Dr Maruthappu shares her top six foods to treat the trickiest of skin conditions.

Kefir for eczema

“Kefir, a fermented milk drink, is full of gut-loving probiotics. I recommend it to many of my patients with eczema to help boost the gut microbiome because there is increasing research to support the connection between gut health and eczema.”

Mangosteen for anti-ageing

“These firm-fleshed fruits are high in a unique plant antioxidant called xanthones, which help prevent free radical damage and reduce the production of AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products) which cause collagen to stiffen and result in sagging skin.”

Cinnamon for acne

“For many women, hormonal acne can be a concern, particularly at certain times of the month. Sweet foods can be all we crave but the rise in blood sugar they cause can contribute to breakouts. One way to counteract this is to include cinnamon (for example, cinnamon chocolate cookies) as this aromatic spice can help to regulate blood sugar spikes.”

Tart cherry juice for tired eyes

“Tart cherry juice naturally contains melatonin, our body’s sleep hormone. Drinking this before bed may help you get to sleep more easily and help you stay asleep for longer, too.”

Walnuts for rosacea

“Walnuts contain the highest levels of plant-based omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) which have important anti-inflammatory effects for the skin and can help with the dry eye symptoms of rosacea.”

Cooked tomatoes for sun damage prevention

“Cooked tomatoes are the highest natural source of lycopene, an amazing antioxidant that can help tackle sun damage. Studies have shown that increasing lycopene intake can reduce the intensity of sunburn but make sure to use a good quality SPF as well.”

This article was originally published on Vogue UK.

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