Eating Disorders and Skin- Reversing the Damage


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“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”  

~Thomas Edison

Dear Readers,


This is a request from a reader in Melbourne. She’s in recovery for her EDNOS.


Dear Maha!

Last year I was diagnosed with Eating Disorder. I always had a perfect skin. But with anorexia my skin got so bad.  It’s not just oily but I also have blackheads, white flaky skin and pores. I am working with a therapist and a nutritionist. I will be grateful if you could please give me some tips. I think I’m in a right place right now with right mind. I want to recover and want to do everything I can to reverse the damage.

L.P Melbourne.

 Though the effects of Eating Disorder are variable from one person to the other.  Eating Disorders severely impact our skin. Skin becomes dry, blotchy and shows signs of early ageing. It may turn orange in the very low weight and some people find their acne is getting worst.  According to Renata Strumia “Dermatologists have an important role in the early diagnosis of eating disorders since skin signs are, at times, the only easily detectable symptoms of hidden anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Forty Cutaneous signs have been recognized and new reports are expecting owing to the increasing frequency of this pathology all around the world.”

Dermatologic signs in patients with eating disorders.

Strumia R. Unit of Dermatology, University Hospital S. Anna, Ferrara, Italy.


Dermatologic symptoms are almost always detectable in patients with severe anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), and awareness of these may help in the early diagnosis of hidden AN or BN.

Cutaneous manifestations are the expression of the medical consequences of starvation, vomiting, abuse of drugs (such as laxatives and diuretics), and of psychiatric morbidity. These manifestations include xerosis, lanugo-like body hair, telogen effluvium, carotenoderma, acne, hyperpigmentation, seborrheic dermatitis, acrocyanosis, perniosis, petechiae, livedo reticularis, interdigital intertrigo, paronychia, generalized pruritus, acquired striae distensae, slower wound healing, prurigo pigmentosa, edema, linear erythema craquele, acral coldness, pellagra, scurvy, and acrodermatitis enteropathica.


Even though skin signs of eating disorders improve with weight gain, the dermatologist will be asked to treat the dermatological conditions mentioned above.

Xerosis improves with moisturizing ointments and humidification of the environment.

Acne may be treated with topical benzoyl peroxide, antibacterials or azaleic acid; these agents may be administered as monotherapy or in combinations. Combination antibacterials, such as erythromycin with zinc, are also recommended because of the possibility of zinc deficiency in patients with eating disorders. The antiandrogen cyproterone acetate combined with 35 microg ethinyl estradiol may improve acne in women with AN and should be given for 2-4 months.

Cheilitis, angular stomatitis, and nail fragility appear to respond to topical tocopherol (vitamin E).

Russell’s sign may decrease in size following applications of ointments that contain urea. Regular dental treatment is required to avoid tooth loss.

Gateway to Divine Skin, Lustrous Hair and Strong Nails


Eating a variety of healthy foods helps keep our skin supple and glowing. Don’t forget that your body is cleverer than you, what you put inside your body will always reflect on your overall health.




Our skin is a reflection of our inner self. If we burden our body with fad diets, foods devoid of nutritional values then it will appear on us in sluggish looking skin, blemishes and other problems. No amount of skin care products can repair the damage caused by bad diet. Poor diet is one of the obvious causes of premature aging, but it’s never too late to reverse the damage, keep our skin firm, moist and blemish free with these top nutrients.

Top Nutrients for Healthy Skin


Vitamin A Vitamin A helps maintain skin development and health. It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects against premature aging, acne problems, rough dry skin and cracked skin, especially around the mouth. Foods rich in Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, dried apricots, cantaloupes.

vitamin a

Vitamin E Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant that protects and repairs your skin. Foods rich in Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens, Papaya, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Asparagus and Bell Peppers.

vitamin e


Vitamin B Complex Vitamin B plays an important role in maintaining a healthy skin tone. It enhances the circulation into the different skin areas and keeps the skin from getting puffy and it enhances the life span of cells. For a healthier and glowing skin use these foods: Brewer’s yeast, milk, whole grain cereals, liver, eggs, nuts, poultry, fish and yogurt.

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin C- Vitamin C is an essential compound for the production and formation of collagen, skin’s support structure. Foods rich in vitamin C: Guavas, Bell Peppers, Fresh herbs (thyme and parsley), Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Mustard Greens, Garden Cress), Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, kiwis, papaya, oranges and strawberries. Consuming extra vitamin C from berries and citrus fruits can help your skin stay firmer for longer, smoothies fine lines and will slow down the appearance of wrinkles.

vitamin c

Beta Carotene- A very powerful antioxidant that helps protect against cancer and boosts immune system. Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A that is essential for the growth and repair of the body’s tissues, including your skin. Beta-carotene may also protect your skin against sun damage. Top sources of Beta Carotene: Carrots, Pumpkins, Spinach, Collards, Kale, Turnip Greens, Beet Greens, Winter Squash and Cabbage. Tip- Drink carrot juice for soft skin and protection against skin cancer.

Beta Carotene

Silica- Silica attributes to beautiful complexion that is more than skin deep and is a source of radiant youthful skin, healthy hair and strong nails. Foods: celery, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, unrefined grains, cereals, beets, hemp leaves, nettle leaves, horesetail (tremendous source), alfalfa, blue cohosh, chickweed, cornsilk, dandelion, red raspberry, Oat straw and stinging nettle.

Silica Foods

Zinc- Zinc is a beauty mineral, a requirement to make your skin glow. A deficiency in zinc can lead to stunted growth, impotence, hair loss, eye and skin lesions. Foods rich in zinc: oysters, toasted wheat germ, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, coconuts, seaweeds, Macademia nuts, Spirulina, Poppy Seeds, roasted pumpkin and squash seeds, dried watermelon seeds, dark chocolate, lamb and peanuts.


Tip: Water a top source of mineral for skin. So Drink up because a well-hydrated skin is somewhat less prone to developing wrinkles.



Bring some Zing into your skin with a Skin Smoother Smoothie

 Carrot Skin Smoothie



1 large carrot
l celery stalk
l cucumber
1 cup of any berries or mixed berries
1 apple
¼ cup ice


Juice all the ingredients. These ingredients are known to be super nutrients for skin, rich in silica, vitamins, important for the complexion and skin elasticity.


Miracle of Omega 3- a Secret to Beautiful Skin

omega 3

Did you know that humans are not able to produce omega-3s? That’s why it’s so important that we obtain them from the foods we eat on a daily basis. Omega 3 fats nourish the skin by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances, decreasing clogged pores, and averting fine lines and wrinkles.

Top Tip: Try Salmon for a beautiful skin, a fish with one of the richest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. It adds lustre and softness to your complexion.


Nail Health


“Health is a relationship between you and your body”  

Terri Guillemets


According to the Mayo Clinic, strong, attractive-looking nails can be an indicator of your overall health. The best way to support your nail health is to eat a well-balanced diet. You’ll need plenty of protein as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Sufficient water intake is also important; as well as keeping the rest of you healthy, water provides moisture for nails. According to WHFoods: “there is one nutrient that’s stood out when it comes to addressing nail brittleness and that is the B-vitamin called biotin, foods containing biotin include most nuts, legumes and eggs.


Tip: Why not get a healthy start to your day Add a glass of milk and a hard-boiled egg to your daily diet. Rich in zinc, they’ll do wonders for your nails, especially if your nails are spotted with white, a sign of low zinc intake.


Super Foods for Healthy Strong Nails


 Fruits Dried apricots, kiwis, bananas, blueberries, blackberries and grapes are loaded with vitamins that can help build strong nails.
  Vegetables Sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and asparagus. According to American Dermatological Society spokesperson Dr. D’Anne Kleinsmith, nails can curve if the body lacks iron, so don’t forget to incorporate spinach and other leafy green vegetables in your diet.
 Grains Yeast and barley are just two of the grain products that contain the B-complex vitamin biotin and protein that can lead to healthy nails.
 Meat Calves liver and kidney contain iron, protein and biotin, all of which contribute to making your nails stronger.



Ssshhhh secret tip: Massage your nails to keep them extra strong and shiny. Nails buffing increases blood supply to the nail, which stimulates the matrix of the nail to grow.


When you follow a healthy well balanced diet and lifestyle, you can begin to see dramatic changes in your overall appearance. Skin becomes smoother, plumper and more moisture-rich. Hair becomes shinier, strong and lustrous; your nails will become stronger with natural tint. Blemishes often fade and regaining the glow you may have had when you were younger is a popular benefit.


About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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