Skin Nutrition

Mar 1, 2022

 by Christina Wilson

Beauty is more than skin-deep. It's about how we treat people, the passion in our eyes when we do something, and the laugh lines we earn. There is nothing wrong with wanting the most healthy skin at any age. Nourishing yourself properly, getting enough sleep and water, managing stress, and exercising go a long way toward keeping your largest organ healthy.


Chronic stress, smoking, a high glycemic diet, sleep deprivation, ultraviolet (UV) rays (hello! I grew up tanning on tin foil with baby oil in the '70s. Oy!), and environmental toxins do the opposite and cause cellular damage. Compromised cells damage mitochondria and reduce collagen. Enjoying high-quality foods helps slow down overall aging and promotes a healthy, glowing complexion. Sure, topical skincare is essential, but the skin is hugely affected by what we ingest at the end of the day, like any other organ. I recommend being mindful of including foods with phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in your daily meal plan if you want that "glow up." 


Skin-loving nutrients



E prevents oxidative damage to cells by removing free radicals—the bad guys that contribute to illness and aging. In addition, vitamin E helps with the natural wound-healing process plus helps to renew skin cells. Foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, eggs, walnuts, and green leafy spinach.



The mother lode for the skin, vitamin C, helps neutralize free radicals, such as that caused by sun damage. It's also a critical factor for collagen synthesis, which binds skin cells together, giving our skin its youthful elasticity and preventing fine lines and wrinkles. Observational studies found that higher intakes of vitamin C from the diet were associated with better skin appearance, with notable skin wrinkling decreases. In addition, oral supplementation with vitamin C may help prevent UV-induced damage. Foods rich in vitamin C include berries, capsicum, citrus fruits, kiwi, tomatoes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.



Powerful anti-inflammatory agents, omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body and nourish the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are also responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility. Foods rich in omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. Keep your omega 3-6 ratio balanced. Too many refined vegetable oils and other omega 6-heavy foods crank up chronic inflammation. Among fat-soluble nutrients, vitamin D tag teams with vitamin K2 to maintain healthy skin, protect against wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.



Zinc is essential for skin healing and preventing infections. Upping your zinc not only helps maintain healthy, radiant skin but can also help with acne and other skin conditions, such as dandruff. While oysters are the best zinc source, other foods rich in this mineral are red meat, baked beans, chicken, and pumpkin seeds.



While it usually gets applause for healthy vision, it is also essential for healthy, glowing skin. This fat-soluble vitamin is critical for skin repair and maintenance. Suppose you suffer from dry or flaky skin. In that case, it could be a sign of deficiency in vitamin A. Beta-carotene (what the body converts into vitamin A) is an antioxidant found in brightly colored foods, think sweet potato and carrots. This antioxidant helps to reduce free radical damage, particularly those caused by damage from sun exposure. Food sources high in vitamin A and beta-carotene include sweet potato, carrots, and spinach. Nutrition tip: Keep the skin on your sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, etc., as that is where a lot of the useful lives, including fiber, to aid in gut and skin health.



It's a powerful antioxidant that is responsible for maintaining skin firmness and elasticity. This mineral helps prevent collagen breakdown and promotes the absorption of vitamin E. Food sources rich in selenium include brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, red meat, chicken, whole grains, brown rice, and baked beans. 



We need sulfur to make glutathione the most potent antioxidant in your body. Where do you find sulfur? Greens, especially those with a high nutrient density like arugula, kale, watercress. Plus egg yolk, radishes, and hemp.


Here's a more extensive list of my favorite skin health foods.


Fatty Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) are all loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids to improve inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. Make sure to eat the skin; it's not only delicious, but it's also one of nature's best sources of skin cell-friendly vitamin D.


Bone Broth – Great source of collagen and hyaluronic acid, two of the most crucial skin-building molecules. While they won't do much to promote skin cell health when applied topically, when collagen is eaten, these two nutritional powerhouses may help prevent much of the thinning and wrinkling associated with skin aging.


Avocado – A delicious delivery of Omega-6 fatty acids for the prevention of skin dryness. This popular fruit (yes, avocados are a fruit!) also contains a generous amount of vitamin C and protein, and vitamin A for collagen and connective tissue building and repair.


Eggs – Nature's most nutrient-dense foods contain EFAs for skin healing and moisture, B-vitamins to energize skin cell growth, vitamin A for improved skin fats, and anti-acne production collagen-building minerals like zinc and sulfur.


Walnuts – antioxidant-packed power-nut, vitamin E, and polyphenols make this food particularly helpful as a natural skin sun protectant. Omega 3 fats provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and collagen-building copper keeps wrinkles and fine lines at bay.


Pigmented Veggies (green, red, blue, yellow, orange) – pigments are delivered to the skin from the blood, acting as natural sun protectants. Use steamed with some good fat to maximize absorption. Veggies also contain fiber and nitrogen for digestive and skin health and a host of micronutrients to support skin cell chemistry.


Flax Seeds – One of nature's best sources of skin-soothing Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, a great source of blood and digestive tract cleansing fiber. In addition, phytoestrogens support skin softness and anti-aging. Flax seeds are also a great source of skin-building protein.


Citrus – Vitamin C-loaded powerhouse, packed with antioxidants and UV protection phytonutrients. Fiber enhances digestion and detoxification. High concentrations of B vitamins and Electrolytes support skin cell energy, activity, and development.


Blueberries – They're loaded with digestion supporting fiber, vitamins C and E for beautiful skin and robust immunity, and they even have hard-to-find vitamin K1 for healthy blood and bones. Blueberries are a great source of anthocyanin, a purple pigment that is one of nature's best antioxidants.

Cosgrove MC, Franco OH, Granger SP, Murray PG, Mayes AE. Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:1225-1231. (PubMed)


Purba MB, Kouris-Blazos A, Wattanapenpaiboon N, et al. Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference? J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20:71-80. (PubMed)

Humbert PG, Haftek M, Creidi P, et al. Topical ascorbic acid on photoaged skin. Clinical, topographical, and ultrastructural evaluation: double-blind study vs. placebo. Exp Dermatol 2003;12:237-244. (PubMed)