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Diet & Skincare: Does What You Eat Affect Your Skin?

A consistent skincare routine that keeps your skin clean, hydrated, and protected is the not-so-secret secret to a glowing complexion. You also may be aware...

Diet & Skincare: Does What You Eat Affect Your Skin?

A consistent skincare routine that keeps your skin clean, hydrated, and protected is the not-so-secret secret to a glowing complexion.

You also may be aware that your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it stands to reason that what you eat and drink and even how you live your life might also affect your skin.

Let’s talk about the connection between diet and skincare and whether there’s anything you should prioritize when choosing what’s for lunch.

Does Diet Affect Your Skin?

There’s that age-old saying: you are what you eat. On top of that, there are all sorts of accepted tidbits of wisdom out there about how, for instance, eating too much sugar and junk food can cause breakouts.

It’s important to keep in mind that everybody’s skin, and body, is different. So while you may have a friend who gave up gluten and suddenly their cystic breakouts cleared up entirely, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. 

In fact, gluten is often misattributed as the cause of skincare concerns like irritation and redness. 

Food allergies can be the blame for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and even flare-ups of breakouts, but it’s actually not the most common. Before you start eliminating foods from your diet, speak to your doctor or dermatologist to be sure you’re doing so with an appropriate cause.

Your diet impacts your skin much like any other environmental factor does. For example, you know that exposure to the sun or UV rays can introduce damaging free radicals to your skin, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and other premature signs of aging. Not to mention, it can lead to skin cancer. 

Similar to sun damage, smoking, drinking, pollution, not getting enough sleep, and even not drinking enough water are all lifestyle or environmental factors that can impact your complexion… just like your skin. But addressing your skin problems is likely going to rely more on building a better skincare regimen as opposed to changing your diet.

What Can You Eat To Promote Glowing Skin?

As we mentioned above, healthy skin is likely to require more than just an adjustment to your diet. But being more mindful about how a healthy diet might be affecting your body could lead to positive lifestyle changes in general that are more likely to promote an even skin tone.

So if you have skin issues you’re looking to improve, in addition to skincare products, you might consider avoiding processed foods and focusing on getting the following nutrients as part of a healthy diet instead. Let’s talk about some of the best foods for glowing skin.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, or even herring, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are thought to have soothing properties that can help keep your skin hydrated. They may also help to support your skin against UV damage. 

If you don’t like fatty fish, look into omega-3 supplements — in addition to being good for your skin, they’re thought to support learning, memory, and cognition, meaning omega-3s promote overall health, too.

On top of being rich in omega-3s, fatty fish also contain vitamin E, which is a crucial antioxidant that can help protect your skin. Add to that a bit of protein to help your skin maintain its firmness and structure, and you’re good to go.

Nuts and Seeds

Like fatty fish, nuts and seeds are full of essential fatty acids. They’re also rich in zinc, which promotes wound healing, making it a necessary nutrient if you’re trying to minimize blemishes. 

Fatty acids can also be helpful with dry skin, so if you’re dealing with dryness, getting more fatty acids in your diet may help. Nuts are also thought to be helpful when it comes to weight loss because-although they are highly caloric- they are full of all the nutrients you need to stay fuller for longer.

Colorful Veggies

If you’ve ever heard somebody tell you to eat the rainbow, they weren’t wrong! Colorful vegetables such as red or yellow bell peppers can be rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by your body into vitamin A, an essential nutrient.

They’re also rich in vitamin C, which isn’t just a powerful antioxidant — it’s also one of the building blocks of collagen, which may help to promote a youthful-looking complexion. 

Leafy greens are also an ideal addition to your skincare-centric diet because they contain all of these same nutrients plus something called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane may help neutralize free radicals in the body and may even help to promote collagen production in your skin.

Dark Chocolate

While chocolate may seem like a no-no if you’re trying to eat in a way that avoids pimples, you’ll be happy to learn that dark chocolate can actually be good for your skin. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, but it’s important to remember that when we say dark chocolate, we mean dark chocolate.

You’ll want to find something that’s around 70% dark or higher to ensure you’re getting everything dark chocolate has to offer, and on top of that, you’ll want to avoid any options high in added sugar.

Green Tea

While it’s not strictly food, green tea is a great option for a skin-centric diet. Not only is it an antioxidant, but some studies have shown that consuming green tea can positively impact your skin’s moisture levels, texture, and overall elasticity.

It’s a great alternative to coffee in the morning, which can be a dehydrating agent — which means it’s less than ideal for your skin.


You are what you eat may not be entirely true — but it is true that what you put into your body can have a real, visible, tangible impact on how your body performs. 

While you’re not likely to completely resolve any skin concerns you have by adjusting your diet unless you have a food allergy, changing your diet to focus on whole, nutritious foods that are good for your skin and body will never be wasted effort.

When practiced in combination with a consistent skincare routine, a balanced lifestyle and healthy diet can support a graceful aging process, maintain healthy skin cells, and overall keep your complexion looking radiant.



Skin Layers | Medline Plus

Diet and Skin Aging — From the Perspective of Food Nutrition | National Library of Medicine

Fishy Business: Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Zinc Transporters and Free Zinc Availability in Human Neuronal Cells | National Library of Medicine

When it Comes to Skin Health, Does Diet Make a Difference | American Academy of Dermatology Association

Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Brain Functions: A Systematic Review | National Library of Medicine

What Do We Know About Sulforaphane Protection Against Photoaging | National Library of Medicine

Green Tea Polyphenols Provide Photoprotection, Increase Microcirculation, and Modulate Skin Properties of Women | National Library of Medicine

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