Taking care of our skin is big business. We spend billions annually on cleansers, moisturizers, makeup, chemical peels, and more to keep our epidermises aglow. But it may be time to trade in some of those pricey products for a trip to the farmer’s market.
According to a team of Scottish researchers, increasing our fruit and vegetable intake is an easy way to promote healthier, more attractive skin. During a six-week study, scientists surveyed a small group of students. Changes in their day-to-day complexion were documented along with the amount of fruits and vegetables they consumed. The results, published in PloS One, showed that the more produce the subjects ate, the richer their skin tone became.
“Our study suggests that an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption of around three portions, sustained over a six-week period, is sufficient to convey perceptible improvements in the apparent healthiness and attractiveness of facial skin,” explains researcher Ross Whitehead.
Scientists attribute the phenomenon to the presence of carotenoids - naturally occurring pigments which give fruits and vegetables their unique colors. Red bell peppers, for instance, contain the carotenoid lycopene. When eaten regularly over time these pigments accumulate, contributing to our skin’s color.
In the study’s second phase, participants were asked to look at photographs of faces and rate them in terms of healthiness and attractiveness. The photos with the highest marks were reflective of carotenoid-heavy diets. As Dr. Doris Day explains to the Huffington Post, “Everybody wants a pill or a short cut and I’ve always said that if you want to have beautiful healthy skin, you have to eat the right foods and you have to have the right lifestyle.”
So put down the bronzer and pick up a banana! Carotenoids can be found in a variety of produce, including sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, carrots, grape fruit, papaya, apricots, spinach, kale, and more. Over time, you may be surprised by the results. Just be sure not to overdo it on the blueberries.
Image: Pomidori, Fichi, Cipolle and Basilico, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from pizzodisevo (therapy – terapia – Therapie)’s photostream.