You may already have noticed a connection between what you eat and the state of your skin, but how long will it be until you see positive results from a new diet?
The answer, of course, is that it depends!
It can be much easier to see the negative effects of what you’ve eaten than quantify how cutting out triggering foods is actually helping. You might expect to see a flare-up within hours if you’ve eaten something that sets off an inflammatory response - the effects of dairy, sugar, and alcohol for example are pretty immediate - and cutting them out completely might mean that your skin improves within a few days.
But switching to a diet that is generally ‘good’ might not give you the immediate results you're looking for; a skin-friendly diet is partly about avoiding triggering foods, and partly about building up better health so your body is in better shape to resist flares. And that can take a while to kick into effect.
How long? Well, that's down to several different factors.
Pinpointing the cause of skin flare-ups
Identifying your problem foods might take a while! You may be cutting out sugar, caffeine and alcohol but be unaware that there’s a fruit in your daily smoothie that’s causing a reaction. The trouble is that what’s Kryptonite for one person might be fine for you; the only way you can really be sure what’s a problem for you specifically is to do an elimination diet (which reintroduces foods one at a time so there’s time to see what causes a flare) and/or to get allergy testing.
Identifying problem foods
An elimination diet takes time: you need to factor in about six to eight weeks to do it properly (preferably under the care of a registered dietician or doctor), which gives your body time without triggers, and then a further period during which you gradually introduce ingredients one at a time, with time in between to see if you react or not. After a couple of months of strict elimination your skin might well be better than you’ve ever known it, but it might also be suffering from being subjected to all kinds of triggering foods! The hope is that once you’ve completed the elimination schedule you will have a good idea of what not to eat in the future.
Other irritants might be affecting your skin
How long it takes before you see an improvement in your skin will also depend on how easy it is to avoid other, non-dietary triggers, such as detergent, cosmetics, pet hair, pollen. However well you’re eating, if you’re in the centre of a pollen storm your skin might be flaring almost constantly.
The skin’s repair cycle
Another factor in how long it takes for your skin to improve with a new diet is its natural cycle of repair and regeneration. For most people it takes about 4-6 weeks for the skin to replenish itself. New cells are made, old ones sloughed off. The rate of regeneration differs from person to person, but a severe flare-up may well take over a month to die down and the damage to be made good. Your skin needs a constant supply of nutrients - vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, etc. - to do this work, which is why your diet needs to be full of the good stuff, as well as lacking the bad stuff.
So with all that mind, don’t despair if it takes a while after switching up to a healthy diet before you see clear results! You are doing good for your skin, even if it takes a while to be evident. Be persistent: give your body 8 weeks to readjust to the new regime and to repair damage from past flares and hopefully you’ll see some big changes as well as fewer flares!
Read our article Top 7 Foods To Boost Skin Health for more tips about diet and skin! And don't forget that Skin Salvation works over time as a supplement for your skin! A daily application of Skin Salvation is going to be feeding your skin with vital nutrients, and supporting its natural cycle of repair and regeneration.
Skin Salvation balm with hemp and olive oil (from £7.99 for 30ml)
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.