Clear skin isn’t about magical serums. A glowing complexion starts from within. We spoke to nutritionist, Aimee Hockett, about eating for healthy, radiant skin.
Splendid Spoon: What do we need for radiant skin?
Aimee Hockett: Antioxidants, minerals, and clean water! Even if you try to live a nontoxic life, chemicals and pollutants are always around us. The way to help protect yourself from them is to eat the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables everyday. This will make sure you get a range of antioxidants and minerals! Some of my favorite ingredients for glowing skin are cinnamon, turmeric, chlorella, avocado, pumpkin seeds, beets, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and green tea.
SS: And what should we avoid?
AH: All the “added” ingredients which are in so many products. Always check the labels: avoid added sugars or preservatives and any ingredients that you wouldn’t pick up and eat directly (like anti-caking agents).
Try to avoid extra, unpronounceable, processed ingredients in every area of your life: skincare, cleaning products, soap, and even your water source.
SS: What specific minerals or vitamins are essential for glowing skin?
AH: Minerals like selenium, phosphorus, iron and vitamins A & C are essential for healthy skin. Vitamins A & C work to repair connective tissue, so they help heal and prevent breakouts. Phosphorous lines every single cell in the body, so we need a lot of that (the best plant-based sources are pumpkin seeds, whole grain wheat, almonds, buckwheat, and chia seeds). Selenium is important in the creation of new cells, and iron is responsible for the synthesis of connective tissue. Together, they help create new, healthy, and plump skin cells.
SS: How important is the food we eat vs our skincare routine?
AH: They go hand-in-hand. Skincare may save your skin’s appearance, but it won’t fix underlying skin issues.
SS: What foods can we turn into skincare products?
AH: I love using frozen peaches or pumpkin and a gentle vinegar as an exfoliating enzyme facial. I make face masks from a finely powdered herb or tea (like matcha or moringa) mixed with a raspberry, apple cider, coconut vinegar, and raw honey.
My favorite routine is to massage the frozen peach mixture all over my face for lymphatic drainage and enzymes, and then apply my homemade mask over the top of the residual peach juice. The enzymes in these ingredients help remove dead skin cells, while also providing deep vitamin and mineral enrichment to the skin. You don’t need anything too fancy or expensive to see results!
SS: How should we sync our skincare routine to our cycle?
AH: Healthy fats help regulate hormone production so are very important! My favorite sources of healthy fats are avocados, seeds, and nuts. Try to avoid inflammatory fats like dairy, highly processed vegetable oils, and fried foods. While healthy fats heal the skin quickly, inflammatory fats can be overbearing, so your body can’t always process them well, and they’ll end up in deposits in the skin.
If our healthy fat intake is sporadic, we’ll have inconsistent hormone production. If you have a lot of symptoms with your cycle, take a look at the inconsistencies in your diet to see why your hormones are having trouble staying regulated.
Blood sugar and stress are other major influencing factors as they involve hormones, just like our period. So be sure to eat lots of fiber, vitamin C, and practice stress relieving activities throughout the month, not just when you’re on your period. We often think of our cycle as just the part of the month when we menstruate, but we are always cycling through a whole process! For glowing skin, use the face mask described above and include the skin healing foods in your diet for 2 weeks before your period!
SS: Are there any foods or ingredients we can use for a quick skin fix, or is this always going to be a longer term strategy?
AH: This should be a long term practice, but the best thing you can do for a quick fix is plan ahead. Check your calendar and review the things that stress you out — social events with trigger foods, events where you need your picture taken etc. Include skin-healing foods a few days before the event, and stay consistent. Some easy things to do are: eat 3–5 brazil nuts per day, drink lots of lemon water, avoid sugar and alcohol, and sip on a mineral broth. The Splendid Spoon Vegan Bone Broth, Celery Plant, and Carrot Turmeric Elixir Drinkables are great options!
SS: Are there any superpower ingredients we should focus on?
- Dark leafy greens. I love adding dried spinach flakes to every meal! They ensure I’m getting more than enough greens without adding too much fiber.
- Seeds. They have a ton of healthy fats which are amazing for your skin. Every seed has a different fat content so eat a range of them for best results!
- Brazil nuts. Eat 3–4 brazil nuts a day. You can grind them up and sprinkle them on top of meals too. They’re rich in selenium.
- Tomato paste. Tomato paste is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants which help promote healthy skin.
Feeling hungry for healthy, plant-based meals? Check out this week's Splendid Spoon menu!