Make Your Skin Shine Before the Big Party
How to maximize your looks with good food
By Mark Lebwohl
Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD
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:
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:
He suggests you try this nutritional facelift during a three-day period free of social obligations, where you can focus on what you are eating. Shop each day to get the freshest foods possible. The only sacrifice might be coffee, which must be eliminated because it raises levels of cortisol and insulin, which encourage storage of body fat. Drink green tea instead -- it's delicious!
To help you get started, check out this sample menu.
Of course, if all this seems like too much work, you can always fall back on traditional quick fixes, such as chemical peels or even Botox injections. But a chemical peel may leave your face looking red or swollen for about a week. And Botox works by partially paralyzing a facial muscle -- perhaps an extreme measure if all you're looking for is a healthy glow.
In contrast, most people eating a healthy diet, Perricone says, need only good cleansing, sun block, and a moisturizer.
Originally published Nov. 26, 2002.
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