If you’ve ever woken up with a rosy face and a few spots on your forehead, you might have experienced that creeping sense of regret about last night’s wine or chocolate.
Perhaps with good cause, according to a new book by Naturopathic doctor and skincare specialist, Nigma Talib.
She suggests your skin can reveal much more than you might think about what you eat and drink, identifying four main ‘faces’, which, she says, are typical of certain diets:
1. Wine face
- Any alcohol will also have a dehydrating effect, making fine lines appear more visible.
- Wine is high in sugar, which can impede the production of collagen, making skin appear looser and droopy.
- Caused by: Drinking one or more glasses of wine per evening
- Characteristics: Red cheeks and nose with enlarged pores. Dry skin, droopy eyelids and lines or redness between the eyes.
2. Sugar face
- Characteristics: Persistent spots all over the face, lines and wrinkles on the forehead, and a pasty complexion.
- Caused by: A diet which is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
- These foods kick-start the production of glucose in the body, which attaches itself to collagen cells, making them rigid and ineffectual, when they should be springy and active.
- Avoiding excess sugar where possible, such as in processed foods and fizzy drinks, can help.
3. Gluten face
- Characteristics: Red cheeks, blotchy skin around the chin.
- Caused by: Gluten intolerance
- Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat and some other cereals. If you have an allergy or intolerance to it, your immune system will go into ‘attack’ mode, leaving your skin cells inflamed and irritated.
- If you suffer from rosacea or persistent redness, try cutting out gluten for a few weeks. You may notice a difference in your complexion.
4. Dairy face
- Characteristics: Swollen eyelids, dark circles under eyes, small spots and bumps on the chin.
- Caused by: Lactose intolerance
- If your body is struggling to digest dairy products, it will trigger an inflammatory response in your immune system, which can cause puffiness around delicate areas such as the eyelids, making you appear tired and drawn.
- Switch to lactose-free alternatives instead, or stick to sheep’s cheese and goat’s cheese, which are easier to digest.
As with any dietary advice, however, the findings of this book should be taken in context.
While there are links to inflammation (particularly when it comes to food allergies) in certain foods, there are often a huge number of other factors that can contribute to the condition of our skin.
For instance: our skincare regime, how much water we drink, local pollution levels, exposure to the sun or existing medical conditions.
It’s easy to look for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to problem skin, but the reality is that diet and drinking habits are just one part of the puzzle.
While it’s always a good idea to go easy on indulgences, don’t deny yourself of the occasional treat.
Balance is key!