looks

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eating disorders can lead to major malnutrition which affects your skin, hair, nails, teeth, eyes...the whole package.
taking supplements will not cure malnutrition.
the only way to look and be wholly healthy is to maintain a healthy, well-rounded, sufficient diet.

  • skin
    there are a lot of different vitamins and minerals as well as essential fatty acids that work together to maintain healthy skin, they all work together so you can't just focus on one and forget about the ones you don't know about. without the right nutrition your skin can become dry, dull and grayish looking. some people also find that they break out when they're not eating right. eating disorders can make your skin look a lot older than you are because of a lack of antioxidants and fat which maintain the elasticity and glow of your skin. essential fatty acids keep your skin moist and young. they are also very healthy and proven to assist weight loss in small amounts.antioxidants vitamin a, c, and e are also very important for your skin. basically vitamin a helps with acne, vitamin c prevents wrinkles, and vitamin e helps your skin retain moisture and prevent sun damage. selenium (a mineral) is also important to assist vitamin e's absorbtion and to prevent dandruff, and zinc also works with vitamins a and e. b vitamins are helpful in preventing dry skin.

    besides what you're eating, you should make sure you moisturize your skin and try to exfoliate, either by washing with a loofah, washcloth or something of the like, or by using an exfoliating wash. exercising is also helpful because it increases your body's circulation to give you a healthy glow instead of a tired whiteish look.

  • hair
    hair loss and dullness are probably the most common hair problems related to eating disorders.protein, essential fatty acids, zinc, vitamin a and b vitamins are all really important to keep strong, healthy hair. protein is a main building block of hair, without it your hair will probably become very thin and unhealthy. fatty acids help hair retain moisture, b vitaminsprevent hair loss, and zinc is important for the hair's maintenance.

    another problem with malnutrition is that the body has trouble maintaining its body temperature and begins to grow lanugo, a light fluffy coat of hair all over the body, to act as kind of a jacket. there isn't really a way to stop this - if your body is growing lanugo, you are severely malnourished and should focus on nutrition to improve this.

    biotin supplements are supposed to be very helpful to maintaining healthy hair.

  • nails
    fingernails and toenails can become very thin, brittle and get a blueish tint when you're not eating right. essential fatty acids make nails glossier. nails, like the hair, are also maintained with the help of zinc. i don't know how to get rid of the blueish tint other than through nutrition.

    another suggestion that i don't have personal experience with is nail-strengthening "polish." sally hansen offers things like that that claim to keep your nails in good shape.

  • teeth
    teeth can be a big problem if you are bulimic or have been malnourished for a very long period of time. bulimia is terrible for your teeth, as the stomach acid comes up through your mouth and inevitably comes in contact with your teeth. some people believe that if you brush your teeth after purging, you're just rubbing in the acid and making it worse, but i disagree.. if you don't brush your teeth, there will still be stomach acid in your mouth, probably soaking into your teeth. i recommend using a toothpaste with baking soda and flouride, or dipping your toothbrush in baking soda because it will help neutralize the acid. if you think you'll be rubbing acid into your teeth, swoosh a baking soda and water mixture in your mouth and spit it out.

    fasting or not eating regularly can create a lack of vitamins c, d, and b-12, calcium, proteinsand other minerals which are all important for healthy teeth. saliva flow also decreases when you aren't eating which can increase the acid levels in the mouth and eventually deteriorate the teeth.

  • eyes
    i'm mostly talking about dark undereye circles, but if you're not drinking enough water your actual eyes can become kind of dry and "unclear". drinking water is important for both of these problems, puffy eyes are caused by a buildup of fluid that is retained by your body because of dehydration. also you should try to avoid dehydrating things like caffeine and salt, or make up for it by drinking enough water (e.g. one extra cup of water per cup of coffee you drink). exercising can help flush the body's retained fluids and make your skin look better overall. getting enough sleep is obviously important but sometimes hard for people with eds. your sleep cycle can get pretty messed up if you're not eating enough (your body's instinct is to stay awake to find food) or if you have some other kind of mental disorder (e.g., depression and anxiety. mental health has a huge impact on your sleep). if none of this works, you can try a moisturizer with vitamin c or a cold compress. i've heard that vitamin c helps with undereye bags because it protects skin cells and helps keep it strong, but i'm not sure how it works with dark circles. of course makeup is always an option.
  • biotin
    also known as vitamin h, biotin is good for hair, skin and nails. it's also supposed to help control blood-sugar levels, treat yeast infections and aid metabolism of fat. i've heard great reviews of this.

    where to find them:

    keep in mind that you should take a vitamin supplement regularly - plus calcium! also lots of processed foods are now enriched with vitamins and minerals, like cereals and canned foods.
  • essential fatty acids : fish (esp. salmon - seemingly the most ana-friendly fish), nuts, vegetable oils (esp. flaxseed), and seeds.
  • vitamin a : yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables,liver and fish liver oil (yum).
  • b complex vitamins : can be found in a very wide variety of foods.
  • vitamin c : citrus fruits, red and green peppers, broccoli, bean sprouts.
  • vitamin e : it's best to get a vitamin e supplement because it is usually foundin small amounts in foods like germ and safflower oil.
  • zinc : pecans, pumpkin seeds, whole-wheat, oat and rye flower, oysters and red meat.
  • selenium : garlic, onions, yeast, wheat germ, brazil nuts and some other nuts.
  • protein : there are many sources of low/nonfat proteins not including meat, although meatseems to be the main source of many people's protein. dairy products, eggs (just the whites are fine),nuts, fish, and beans are all good sources of protein. protein is very important, check out my page dedicated to it *here*.
  • biotin : biotin supplement pills, liver, nuts, kidney, egg yolks, brewer's yeast, chocolate, Whole grain products, Beans, and fish. food-processing techniques can destroy biotin. less-processed versions of the foods listed above will contain more biotin.


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