‘Five a Day’ Focus: Diet

Sarah Brown is the founder of Pai Skincare. Entrepreneur, mum and sensitive-skinned soul – trying to find time to practice more of what she preaches…

I am always singing the praises of a good skin diet – so what better place to kick off my ‘Five a Day’ focus series.

If you’re someone who tries product after product and still can’t get your skin in balance –chances are the root of the problem is internal and can be treated through

As the body’s largest organ, the clarity and condition of the skin is a direct reflection of our wider health.

Just as nutrients are essential to keep the body at its best, they are also essential for feeding the skin from the inside out – so it’s really important to know the foods to embrace and those to avoid as part of a good skin diet.

Foods to embrace:

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Otherwise known as the Omegas, EFAs are the building blocks of healthy skin cells.

They optimise virtually all the skin’s essential functions, and help to maintain the natural moisture barrier.

Taken internally they are also a natural anti-inflammatory, so help calm conditions such as eczema and acne.

Sources: Oily fish, hemp oil, flaxseed, nuts and avocado.

Vitamins A,C,D & E

A diet rich in a variety of vitamins has endless skin benefits – Vitamin A repairs and regenerates the skin, Vitamin C promotes Collagen production, Vitamin D protects the skin from environmental damage, and Vitamin E increases skin softness and suppleness.

Sources: Fruits and vegetables of all kinds.


Antioxidants help protect the skin from pollutants, sun rays and harmful chemicals in our environment that can cause damage, dullness and premature ageing.

Sources: Carotenoids in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, polyphenols in green tea, flavonoids in dark chocolate.


Fibres optimise digestion and bind to excess toxins and waste to prevent build up in the body, resulting in a clearer, brighter complexion.

Sources: Wholegrain rice, oats and bran.


Hydration is absolutely key to skin health. It helps maintain the essential moisture barrier, and ensures skins stays soft, strong and comfortable.

Sources: Water, soups, fruit and vegetables.

Foods to avoid:

Refined sugar

Refined sugars feed bad bacteria in the gut, creating toxins that play out on the surface of the skin. Their effect on hormone levels can trigger excess sebum production, worsening conditions such as acne. Sugar also has a tendency to attach itself to Collagen – resulting in skin more prone to wrinkles.

Sources: Processed foods such as biscuits, milk chocolate, and fizzy drinks.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats can cause skin cell walls to become rigid and prevent the easy flow of vitamins and nutrients in and out. The result is malnourished skin that appears lifeless and congested.

Sources: Crisps, ice cream, fried foods.

Alcohol & Caffeine            

These toxins over-stimulate the liver and dehydrate the body. Alcohol also causes the blood vessels to rapidly expand, making skin feel hot and itchy. Repeated exposure to alcohol can cause blood vessels to permanently dilate, appearing as thread veins or redness under the skin’s surface.

Sources: Wine, tea, coffee.

Acidic Foods

The body works most efficiently at a slightly alkaline level of pH 7.35. Acidic foods throw this pH level off balance, producing toxins in the body that can feed skin sensitivity and conditions such as eczema and acne.

Sources: Dairy, meat, refined sugars, alcohol.

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