Another factor in skin health especially as it relates to youthful skin is oxidation. Our bodies go through oxidation all day long. If you are living, you are oxidizing meaning your body has free radicals circulating through it. These free radicals can damage cells in your body causing damage and disease. (This webMD article gives more detail on the topic.)
How do you minimize this damage?? The antidote to free radicals are "antioxidants". Guess where we can find an abundance of antioxidants? Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Nuts and Seeds. Plant Food!
These free radicals can cause DNA damage which break down collagen (think sagging skin and wrinkles). They can also decrease collagen formation. Free radicals are implicated in the cause of acne as well. The two biggest negative foods to consume if you have a concern about acne are dairy (hormones) and simple sugars. Sugars also damage collagen and elastin so it contributes to wrinkles as well. You do want to consume foods that reduce inflammation in the body (fruits & veggies). So cut back on the dairy and simple sugars and increase the fruits and vegetables. You'll reduce inflammation, reduce oxidation, slow down the breakdown of collage which will slow down aging of the skin and decrease breakouts and blemishes. What do you have to lose?!
Here are some specific nutrients to focus on - although these are just a couple. Remember it's not only one nutrient but the synergy of many where the "magic" really happens.
Vitamin A helps with regulating the skin cycle (regular turnover of skin cells - good for both a youthful look and clearer skin). Good food sources include but are NOT limited to: carrots, spinach, broccoli.
Zinc is a mineral which helps to create an environment that is inhospitable to the bacteria which cause acne. Some food sources are almonds, brazil nuts and wheat germ.
Throughout the reading I did in writing this post (and what I have read and studied in the past), the suggestions for maintaining youthful skin and/or avoiding acne are generally the same as what is recommended for overall health. The basics of good health are simple and universal. Get your sleep, exercise, drink plenty of water, eat whole foods - especially plant foods. Remember any piece of produce has tens of thousands of different phytochemicals which protect and/or improve our health - the health of every cell in our body.
When you focus on eating a rainbow of plant foods, you will be supplying your body with critical nutrients for healthy, glowing skin. :)
If you would like to read more, these are some articles I referenced in creating this post:
Here is an article from WebMD that goes into detail about the connection between diet and acne. This article from Mind, Body, Green has good information for those looking to maintain more youthful looking skin. Here another one from WebMD on overall healthy skin.