The world's first training academy for beauty nutrition has launched - and its entire philosophy is plant-based.
Nutritionist and former skincare formulator Star Khechara has opened the Academy of Beauty Nutrition, in a bid to teach people how to prevent and reverse the anti-aging process through a vegan diet.
After 20 years of experience in both nutrition and skincare, Khechara, who is vegan herself, discovered that diet has the biggest impact on the appearance of the skin.
Khechara told Plant Based News that it made 'logical sense to [her] that the biggest impact on skin-health would be diet, rather than topical products'.
"I'd been studying nutrition and creating skincare for over 20 years, and I knew that skincare products only penetrated the very outer layers of the skin (if they go deeper they're classified as drugs rather than cosmetics)," she explained.
"I also knew that every cell in the body is built, repaired, and maintained by the materials supplied in the diet."
The founder of the newly-launched academy argued that the nutrients and phytochemicals associated with skin-health are most commonly found in plants.
Khechara clarified: "One of the most important skin-nutrients is Vitamin C - which can only be found in plant foods, as are almost all of the antioxidants associated with UV-damage protection, anti-ageing, and anti-inflammation.
"Compounds, known as 'nutricosmetics', such as Resveratrol, Ellagic acid, and Beta-Glucan are only found in plants: red grapes, raspberries, and oats, respectively. Eating plant-based beauty foods can rejuvenate the skin, give a healthy glow, and heal certain skin conditions."
The nutritionist also mentioned fruit as the number one anti-aging food, closely followed by colorful starchy vegetables and greens. Her top five beauty-promoting foods are: avocados, mangoes, oranges, berries (of all kinds), and cucumbers.
She also drew the line between healthy and unhealthy plant-based diets.
"Some vegan junk foods can be just as inflammatory and ageing to the skin as meat - especially high-fat fried foods," Khechara argued. "Returning to a natural wholefoods-based vegan diet can have an almost miraculous healing effect on skin conditions such as acne."
However, animal-based foods can have a detrimental effect on the skin.
Khechara told PBN that animal products are lacking in the skin-beautifying antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamin C that can be found in plants.
She went on to explain: "Animal products are also high in inflammatory compounds and AGEs (Advanced Glycation End-Products) that cause skin-ageing by glycation.
"So it's a two-fold problem: animal foods cause deterioration of the health foundations of the skin, and also lack the materials that the skin needs to be healthy and glowing."
Star Khechara billed the response to the academy launch as 'fantastic'.
"I wanted to package up my knowledge in a way that would benefit as many people on the planet as possible - that's when I came up with the idea to train other practitioners in health and beauty. We just had our very first graduate from our inaugural Certificate in Beauty Nutrition last week.
"I'm really excited to be pushing plant-based nutrition through a more unusual vehicle."
"I wondered if the world was ready for the Academy of Beauty Nutrition, as it's still such a niche topic (although it's fast becoming one of the biggest trends in both the nutrition and beauty industries), but I knew I wanted a platform to disseminate my 20+ years of study and research," she added.
When it comes to skincare products, the beauty expert advises people to keep it simple.
Khechara recommends using products that are formulated with organic and natural ingredients, such as plant butters, cold-pressed oils, botanical distilled waters, vitamins, herbal extracts, and superfoods - which you can also create products with yourself, following her recipes in The Holistic Beauty Book.
The expert also plans on creating a high-end vegan skincare range in the future.
The 41-year-old nutritionist will soon be launching The Facelift Diet book, and expects to organize her own retreats next year, as well as opening a café in the future.