What we've found
These insights are based on correlations which are statistical links between two sets of data. While we focus only on more plausible and interesting links, they should not be seen to imply cause or effect.
The habits of those with good skin health
Many factors can influence the look, feel and condition of our skin. The good news is we can control some of these factors. We asked members of our community who rated their skin positively what they consumed or did regularly. Feedback from our community reveals that polishing off the recommended minimum amount of six-eight glasses (1 glass = 200ml) or more of water a day is strongly linked with ‘Very good’ skin health and describing skin as ‘Normal’ (rather than oily or dry skin). § Other things we’ve discovered include those who do 30 minutes of exercise or more a week are most likely to think highly of their skin. Having healthy stools, a diet rich in vitamin D, a daily intake of at least one portion of fruit and at least one portion of oily fish each week are also positively associated with people who rate their skin health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. †
In contrast, the next chart shows the habits those with good skin are less likely to adopt. For example, those who rate their skin health as ‘good’ or ‘very good' are less likely to eat processed meat and drink sugary drinks. They are also less inclined to add sugar to their food or drink or to score highly for anxiety in our 'Sense of Wellbeing Check’.†
Soaking up the sun and what it means for our skin
You’d be forgiven for wanting to make the most of the sun. The sun’s energy helps provide us with the essential vitamin D we need for healthy bones and teeth. Research is also increasingly showing that the sunshine vitamin contributes to regulating our immune system, cell division, muscle function and in preventing respiratory infections. The benefits don’t stop there. Vitamin D also supports the production of serotonin, the happy hormone so it’s a no brainer that most of us chase the sun’s rays.
These positive effects of the sun need to be balanced though with the fact that sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are the main cause of skin ageing and can cause skin cancer. Sunburn increases our risk of skin cancer and it doesn’t just happen when you’re in exotic places abroad. You can still burn in the UK, even on a cloudy day. Instead, we can source our vitamin D from food and supplements. In fact, it is recommended that everyone over one-year-old in the UK should take a minimum supplement of 400 IU of vitamin daily.
The table below illustrates how the higher percentages of our community who exceed the recommended amount of time in the sun unprotected are those with lighter skin types. This is despite the maximum recommended daily time in the sun without protection being shorter than the recommended maximum time for those with darker skin types.
Improving your skin from within
It’s not surprising that what we put into our bodies can impact our outward appearance. People in our community who tend to have more portions of whole grains per week but fewer sugary drinks each week are more likely to rate their skin highly. The chart below reflects this trend:
To explore more handy tips and information about taking care of your skin why not read our 'Healthy skin comes from the inside out' article?
†Correlation ≠ Causality:
All statistical associations mentioned on this page represent statistically significant (95% level) correlations only. We do not make any claim of causality running in either direction between any two variables discussed, and have controlled for variation in age, sex and the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) decile only. Excluding the water insight section.
*Skin health rating and food portions:
‘Very poor*’ - The ‘very poor’ skin health group do not have a distinguishable average number of portions for ‘Whole grains’ and ‘Sugary drinks’ within a 95% confidence level. The remaining group averages are accurate within 95% confidence levels.
§Correlation ≠ Causality (water insight):
All statistical associations mentioned on this page represent statistically significant (90% level or more) correlations only. We do not make any claim of causality running in either direction between any two variables discussed.