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    How to maximize your looks with good food.

    WebMD Feature

    Make Your Skin Shine Before the Big Party

    The office gala or New Year's Eve party is almost upon you -- but you are feeling stressed, tired, and unglamorous. Take heart! You may not be able to reverse a year of sloth and cheeseburgers in a few hours, but all is not lost. A nutritional facelift may be just what the doctor ordered.

    Connecticut dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, attributes lack of energy, dull skin, and wrinkles to low-grade inflammation caused by sun exposure, pollution, stress, sugar, and dehydration.

    Our diet too often worsens the problem. Red meat is loaded with saturated fats, which can cause inflammation, Perricone tells WebMD. Alternative sources of protein such as rice and beans are packed with calories.

    To counter damage to our skin, Perricone proposes a "3-day nutritional facelift" in his book, The Perricone Prescription: A Physician's 28-Day Program for Total Body and Face Rejuvenation. What on earth is a nutritional facelift? In simplest terms, you eat:

    • Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish such as salmon, tuna, and caviar. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory effects.
    • Omega-6 fatty acids, found in corn oil, soybean oil, and other vegetable oils. Omega-6s include linoleic acid, which helps maintain the health of the skin and hair.
    • Fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants, such a broccoli and Brussels sprouts, oranges, and blueberries. In fact, most fruits and vegetables have antioxidants. Antioxidants help rid your body of molecules called free radicals, which can break down skin tissue, making it look older than it is.
    • Carbohydrates low in simple sugars, such as whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, and vegetables. Refined carbohydrates high in simple sugars -- sugar, white flour, and rice -- may contribute to inflammation.

    By avoiding foods that may contribute to inflammation, and eating foods that help fight inflammation, Perricone says you will be the hit of the party. "You can see the results across the room!" he says.

    How does it work? Here's a simplified version of his three-day regime:

    • Eight to 10 glasses of water each day
    • Three meals, evenly spaced through the day (eat the protein first)
    • Two snacks, one early in the afternoon, and one between dinner and bedtime
    • Both meals and snacks must contain a protein source, carbohydrate, and fat in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

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