For some reason (never ask me why) I studied agricultural science when I did my Leaving Cert. I always remember the teacher declaring sagely that 'you want in a healthy pig what you want in a partner - pink skin, shiny hair, and bright eyes.'
Now, we could spend the day dissecting the very questionable (and possibly sexually ambiguous) content of that statement. We won't, however, argue with the fact that a good balanced diet results in healthy looking skin. In pigs AND in people.
There are some foods that we all eat in the knowledge that they're good for our skin, like olive oil. There are others that we know we really should avoid. Sugar is the major culprit there. Topical products can transform the skin, but that healthy glow that you see in the most beautiful skin comes from the inside. You can eat your way to better skin!
Frankly, I know I should cut out sugar, and you know you should too. But it's Creme Egg season and there are buns over there and that Curly Wurly won't eat itself.
With that in mind, rather than having a good wag of my finger (satisfying as that may be!) at you, me and everyone, I'm going to suggest some foods you can add to your diet to give your skin a boost. Some are everyday foods that we just don't eat enough of, and some are foods that aren't obvious skin savers!
This might be a slightly obvious one, but wild salmon is one of the best natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Any food that's rich in fish oils is pretty much the equivalent of eating your moisturiser.
It's also rich in vitamin D to keep your teeth and bones in good shape. Salmon even contains selenium, a mineral which helps to maintain the skin's elasticity and protect the skin from sun exposure. With all those benefits, we'd be mad to avoid eating some salmon once or twice a week.
If you absolutely can't stomach salmon, or your budget doesn't rise to 'extravagant fish dinners twice a week' (that's a quote direct from Mammy) then try a high quality fish oil supplement. Your skin will thank you for it.
Containing high quantities of Vitamin E, almonds are rich in the healthy fats that will keep your skin looking soft and luminous. Slivered or crumbed almonds sprinkled onto vegetables or curries just make them more delicious. Ground almonds are also a great replacement for flour in gluten free baking.
If you're not an almond fan, never fear. Nuts in general are really high in B Vitamins, which aid cell restoration and help dry skin and hair. Win win!
Be healthy - put EXTRA ketchup on those chips, because tomatoes are damn good for your skin! High in vitamin C, these apple wannabes will promote collagen production in the skin and maintain its tautness.
Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene. This ingredient helps boost circulation in the skin and new research shows that it improves the skin's ability to protect itself from UVA rays.
Raw tomatoes contain very low levels of lycopene as it is bonded to indigestible fibre. This is why cooked or processed tomatoes have a much higher level of lycopene. So... that makes ketchup a health food, right? Right?
Don't start rolling about in that patch of doc leaves just yet. Nettle is - ironically- quite a good anti-inflammatory and can help with mild eczema when applied topically. Nettle is also very high in vitamins C, D and A, as well as minerals like iron and magnesium.
If you can send some chump out to pick you some fresh nettle, the tea you make will be very,very beneficial to your skin. If there's no chump at your convenience, a dried tea will still be beneficial!
I know - avocado is a somewhat obvious choice, but it is another excellent source of vitamin E. Since the body cannot produce vitamin E, including several sources in your diet is important.
Avocado acts similarly to your skin's natural sebum by moisturising the skin and both treating and preventing dryness. It's delicious, rich in Vitamins A, E and D and makes an excellent nourishing face mask if you're averse to eating it. Try pure avocado oil as a rich body moisturiser - avoid the face though; a temporary avocado face mask won't clog the skin, but avocado oil on the face can clog pores.
These are just some of the countless foods that can really benefit your skin. What foods do you swear by - or avoid - in your quest for great skin? Share your foodie secrets with us in the comments!