A candid catch up with Dr Sravya (Clinical Clerkship, MD, AMPH - Dermatology and Cosmetology At Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield)
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Dr. Sravya is passionate about educating people on skincare. We caught up with her on a bright day over an even brighter Instagram live session, talking about plant-based diets, skincare trends and the impact diet has on skin health. Excerpts from the interaction between Dr Sravya and Arthi (Founder - STRIVE) below.
How do you develop and maintain glowing skin?
The role of diet in skincare is so underplayed and seldom spoken about. It is important to Include fresh greens and rich raw vegetables in as many colours as possible. I believe our meal should look as colourful as possible. Also vital is the role of calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Fat is often given a bad rep. But nuts are a healthy source of healthy fats and can aid in creating that glow in your skin. Having said all that, greens are still so underrated! A plant-based diet definitely has its benefits. With a plant-based diet, you’ll get more vitamins, minerals, and healthy nutrients. Primarily, a balanced, plant-based diet will provide your body with more vitamin A, C and E along with anti-oxidants – all things your skin needs to stay healthy.
So are plant-based diets REALLY good for the skin?
Oh absolutely. Skin is naturally affected by what we eat. We usually don’t speak about the correlation. Most products talk about skincare as something that needs to be addressed on the outside. The body provides our skin with all the required nutrients. Hence what we eat plays a very important role. Dairy and animal products affect the whole body and the way hormones function in the system. It affects the construct of our body by influencing the way cells work including affecting fat and cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol and fat in the system have been proven to be causes of lifestyle diseases. Plant-based diets help with better skin health due to their abundance in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and natural proteins. The addition of more fruits and raw vegetables that have higher water content often leads to brighter skin and reduces puffiness of the face.
How does the consumption of dairy and whey impact skin?
Animal products, dairy fats and whey protein are known to cause breakouts in the skin. Acne can often be triggered by dairy. Part of my diagnosis is to check for the sensitivity or allergy to dairy.
Dr Sravya recommends modifications in lifestyle and food habits in order to address and resolve acne issues.
“Many patients come in with severe acne. I usually enquire if they are on any whey protein as it is often the cause of a sudden breakout of acne. “
What would you recommend as an alternative?
I ask them to switch to pea protein or another plant-based protein. Switching out conventional protein supplements based on dairy, whey or other animal sources for a good pea-based, soy-based or hemp-based protein in the normal diet is the healthiest way to go; for the body and especially for the skin.
Dr. Sravya recommends switching to plant-based milk like oat, rice, almond or pea milk which is better for the skin as it contains healthy fats, and are completely cholesterol and, hormone-free. She talks about milk being considered the best source of calcium and hence related to better bone health. She blew our minds by disclosing that there is no proven evidence of it.
Dr Sravya recommends green leafy vegetables for calcium and getting ample Vitamin D for better bone health. When substituting forms of dairy like milk and paneer, she recommends adding plant-based protein or good plant-based supplements to the diet. Off-the-shelf plant milk often tends to be a poor source of protein. She goes on to add that there are many vegetarian sources of protein, vitamins and calcium. People usually get caught up in the myths and fail to seek information and guidance on the availability of plant-based sources.
How can physical activity and other habits be used for better skin health?
Working out and physical activities help in sweating and expunging toxins that impact skin health. Immediately after a workout, your pores are open from perspiration and may serve as an entryway for bacteria. Hence washing at least the hands and face should be a priority soon after a workout. Exercise helps in regulating hormone levels and insulin resistance. This helps to clear off acne issues.
Sravya personally likes to consume STRIVE during her lunchtime as she doesn't get enough time for lunch in the hospital.