Plagued by blackheads? Annoyed by eczema? Creased with crows’ feet? Dermatologist to the stars Jessica Wu offers a revolutionary, yet simple treatment plan for improved skin and a healthier body in her debut book, Feed Your Face—watch what you eat.
Readers will learn how to strengthen their nails, lengthen their lashes and clear their complexions all while tidying up their waistlines, like longtime Wu patients Maria Bello, Kimora Lee Simmons and Lisa Ling. Wu’s easy-to-read, practical advice on skin care and total body maintenance is peppered with anecdotes, scientific evidence and includes recipes for homemade skin cleansers and scrubs. Wu spoke with Kirkus about the pitfalls of modern dermatological training, her own pock-marked youth and offers a few quick tips for readers at home.
For years, we’ve been hearing that what you eat doesn’t affect your complexion. But you suggest that’s entirely wrong, no?
Yes. That’s what’s being taught in medical schools across the country. Most dermatologists don’t talk to patients about their diet. There’s been a myth that’s been handed down from generation to generation of dermatologists in this country that diet has nothing to do with skin. But if you actually take the trouble to look at the growing body of scientific literature, it does illustrate that diet is linked to acne, rashes and wrinkles. My mission is to tell people that by feeding their face the right type of food, they’ll have amazing skin and a better body—all by eating delicious foods.
Most diet books talk about eating well for your general health, but are dry and very scientific. Feed Your Face is entertaining and can be digested in small chunks—in the bathroom, at the beach. Everything I say is backed in science, but it’s done in a palatable way. I don’t tell people they need to shop at farmers’ markets or use exotic ingredients. That’s not realistic. That’s not how I live, I don’t have time for that and most people don’t either.
What’s your own skin like?
I had horrible skin growing up, terrible acne. I was extremely nearsighted with thick glasses, and I was clumsy and overweight. I never had the right shoes. I was an outcast, kids called me Pizzaface. You’re ostracized if you’re plagued by bad skin. So I can really empathize with my patients—the younger ones, as well as the adult women who have acne into their 40s, even 50s.
Now, I have a little sun damage, as well as eczema. It’s really helpful as a doctor if you’ve experienced some of the same struggles. People often can’t believe me when I tell them about my own history and say, “Dr. Wu, how could you have had bad skin? Your skin is so beautiful.” But it’s been a combination of lifestyle changes and doctor visits. That’s the message. I’m living proof that this works. If I can start with bad skin and sun damage and eczema and I can beat all of that, so can you.
Any quick, easy tips you can share with Kirkus readers?
Eat a good breakfast. Your mother was right. It’s the foundation for your day. By good breakfast, I mean one that contains proteins as well as carbohydrates that will help to keep your blood sugar stable for the rest of the day. Otherwise, your blood sugar will spike wildly, and that’s been linked with acne and wrinkles. Because spikes in blood sugar have been shown to attack the collagen in your skin.
If you’re worried about aging, keeping your skin looking younger and smoother, eat plenty of green and yellow vegetables. They’ve been shown to decrease your chance of wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Especially if you like meat. So go ahead and have that steak but skip the mashed potatoes. Have spinach, or squash or green and yellow peppers instead.
If you want to have thick, healthy, bouncy hair, eat green beans. Silicon has been show to promote hair growth, and green beans are one of the richest sources of silicon.
Feed Your Face: Younger, Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days
Jessica Wu M.D.
St. Martin’s / 9780312630778 / Feb. 1 / $26.99