The last couple weeks or so my skin has began looking old and worn down and I have no idea why. I sleep about 8-10 hours a day, I consume plenty of fat (about 200 grams a day), and I consume about 20-30 grams of carbs daily. At 21, old looking skin isn't something I'd like so young. Could I be missing some essential nutrients? I have been paleo for about 8 months now, but just recently my skin has gotten worse. Only different things I have done the last couple weeks have been intermittent fasting, and an increased amount of exercise. Could my carbs be to low? Am I, in some way, depleting electrolytes, which in turn are making me look older? Is increasing my carbs up to 150 grams per day to supplement my exercise and help restore electrolytes too much?
It could be several things.
Lack of C - C is essential for the formation of collagen.
Lack of carbs, yes I know it's heresy, but adding back in 100g a day of 'safe' carbs to my diet has made my skin so much better, more 'puffed out'.
Lack of K2, K2 is great for skin, you should notice a difference in 2-3 days.
The cause of your problem could be increasing your vitamin D intake. Vitamin D (and calcium) are parathyroid hormones, whose signalling effect can slow down the maturation of new skin cells. In fact vitamin D is a potent anti-proliferative agent for keratinocytesis, and so is used topically to treat psoriasis, by slowing down skin turnover. A sluggish rate of skin cell turnover is one of the main reasons that more mature skin tends to look tired and lacking in that youthful "peachy, rosy glow".
There are many cosmetic treatments out there that such as micro-dermabrasion and glycolic acid facial peels. However, these are both a drastic and expensive way of dealing with the problem. I suggest that you buy some daily salicylic acid face pads or toner, usually marketed as an over the counter acne remedy. Salicylic acid is an effective chemical exfoliant, which will gradually increase skin cell turnover without the irritation of a mechanical exfoliant. Make sure that the concentration is around 2% salicylic acid, as a lower concentration will be ineffective, and a higher one too irritating.
If you can't find an alcohol-free product formulation (the alcohol will dry out and irritate your skin), or just want a more natural solution, you can make an exfoliating face mask at home by either crushing up some aspirin or strawberries (both contain salicylic acid).
Don't forget to keep your face well moisturised, as dry skin can often give the appearance of being prematurely aged. Provided that your skin isn't acne-prone, jojoba oil (which mimics the composition of skin's natural sebum) is a good Paleo option.
EDIT: an additional possibility is that more controlled blood sugar levels = more controlled androgenic hormones = less sebum produced, so drier skin.
my money is on the water intake. up that and see if it makes a difference. do you use any oil on your skin? i dont know where you live but my skin ages ten years every winter, i think! the dry cold combined with the old radiator heat isnt great. also, maybe you just lost a bunch of fat around your face and hands and theres a bit of sag that needs to catch up.
but i bet drinking some water will make a huge difference.
Drink more water, and stop using commercial soaps.The Romans used to bathe using hot water,natural oils and a stiff brush.Switching to that has made a huge difference in how my skin looks.
Maybe try the oil cleansing method for your face: http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/
Now that it's cold and dry where I live, I do it once every couple of days (and use castile soap and water the rest of the time), and also add a few drops of sweet almond oil to my face cream every time I moisturize. Seems to smooth and balance everything out.
Are you eating a lot of PUFA (nuts, fish oil, pork and poultry fat)? Do you get much vitamin C (such as from raw fruits and vegetables at every meal)? Excess of the former and deficiency of the latter are probably not great for your skin.
Increasing carbs is probably a good idea just in general. 20-30 grams a day sounds like starvation rations. That may slow down your thyroid in the long term and then you'll really start looking old. I would also recommend making gelatin from collagen-rich bones (like beef knuckles or chicken feet) slow-cooked in water for 12-24 hours, and then include some with all your meals (you can cook your meats and vegetables in it, make soups, sauces, etc.).
could be lack of certain nutrients, and/or a new food allergy that has developed as you have introduced new paleo food items you didn't eat before in large quantities (like some herbs ans spices like carlic, or even eggs). i'd try the following: take 2x1g vitamin C, 2x 500mg quercetin, 100-200mg grape seed extract, 25-50g pecans or almonds a day. up your carb intake to 100g/day, mainly as colored mixed vegetables and 1-2 fruits (or even better, berries). closely inspect your skin (not just on the face) for signs of low grade inflammation. usually you will see very fine/tiny inflamed (reddish) wrinkles. if that is the case, it's either a food sensitivity, lack of some nutrients or anti-oxidants, or a predisposition to atopic eczema or dermatitis that can be triggered for a gazillion of reasons (change in lifestyle, shower gel, intensive exercise, etc etc). it could also be caused by certain supplements you already take, like too much iodine for example.