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Eat your way to better skin? Expert weighs in

March 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Rather than slathering products on your face, nutricosmetics are in fashion. They're products that you eat or drink to improve your skin, but are they even worth trying?

Health expert Chris Noonan says it's based around a belief that you can consume things like acai, mango skin and lychee for healthier skin.

"It's been around in Japan for a long time. It's very popular in the Far East, actually, and so it's more or less an emerging trend here in the United States," Noonan said.

Skin Essentials, Glow and a line of beverages from Borba are a few examples that contain promising ingredients like carotenoids, lutein and other antioxidants. Noonan says they're on the right track, but not the right dose.

"They're not using it at any dosage amount that would really matter or is matched to clinical science," Noonan said.

Generally, studies show a gram or more of these elements would be efficacious, but that amount wouldn't taste or look good if put into a beverage or bar.

"So you have a pinch of pixie dust that's added to the product that's not going to produce the benefit that you've seen in any type of research," he said. "You'll have maybe one research study come out on an ingredient, and marketers get ahead of themselves with the claims."

So instead of expensive nutri-cosmetics, can you get better looking skin just by eating certain foods? Noonan says yes and no.

Foods that are high in caffeine, alcohol, sugar and salt in abundance can make your skin sallow, saggy and generally unhappy.

"You have to stop your bad behaviors, and then engage in a healthful diet, and then over time, you'll see the benefits on your body and on your skin," Noonan said.

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