As Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote in 1826, “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” Translation: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” We wear our nutrition on our skin, you might say: the food we eat has direct effects on our skin, the largest organ in (or on) the body. Feed your body well—and practice other skin-friendly habits—and you’ll find yourself with a glowing, clear complexion from head to toe.
Don’t Swallow the Myths About Food and Skin
No one food can be the cause or the cure of skin problems, so treat any claims along these lines with a healthy dose of skepticism. The myth persists that chocolate causes acne, but there is no empirical evidence of this. And many believe that fat consumption is a culprit in skin problems. The truth, however, is nuanced: While eating a lot of foods with saturated fats can affect the appearance of your skin, fats like those found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado contain oils and antioxidants that are good for the skin. The jury’s still out on dairy products, though. At the least, if you have persistent breakouts, it is worth eliminating dairy products from your diet to see if it makes a difference in your complexion.
Foods Friendly to Your Skin
While no one food is a villain, you should limit your consumption of highly processed foods. It is also wise to limit your intake of alcohol, refined sugar, fried foods, and highly saturated fats. The inflammation they may cause in your body can negatively impact your skin.
Fortunately, there are many healthy, tasty options to nurture your skin. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits, protein, and unsaturated fats. For optimal skin appearance, make sure to include foods with nutrients especially beneficial for skin:
- Essential fatty acids like omega-3s, which help skin stay hydrated: Fatty fish like herring, salmon, mackerel, and bluefin or albacore tuna; ground flaxseeds; chia seeds; almonds and walnuts; and edamame
- Antioxidants and phytonutrients:
- Lycopene, which can help keep skin smoother: tomatoes
- Vitamin C, which can help fight wrinkles: bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, kiwi, and strawberries
- Vitamin E, which can protect you from sun damage: almonds, broccoli, spinach, mango, and sunflower seeds
More Habits for Healthy Skin
Beyond diet, other practices can improve the health and appearance of your skin:
- Don’t smoke – While many of us know that smoking is bad for our lungs, the effects on skin can be devastating, including an increased risk of skin cancer. Smoking reduces skin strength and elasticity and can contribute to wrinkles. It can also make your skin look paler.
- Limit sun exposure – While sunlight is an important source of Vitamin D, deep tanning is bad for your skin. Repeatedly going for that deep golden glow can cause age spots and wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer. Stay out of the midday sun and always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen when outdoors. If you must be out in the sun, wear tightly woven clothing and wide-brimmed hats. Look into clothing made specially for sun protection.
- Reduce stress – Ongoing high levels of stress can negatively impact many aspects of your health, including your skin, which may become more sensitive and prone to breakouts.
- Be gentle with your skin – Use moisturizer and gentle cleansers, limit exposure to hot water, and pat, don’t rub, your skin with washcloths and towels. Use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel when shaving.
- Turbocharge your efforts – While it’s important to get nutrients from whole foods, supplements offer a way to ensure you are doing the best you can for your skin. Jetson’s Skin includes ingredients to prime your gut for optimal nutrient absorption and more. For example, Munispore bacillus clausii CS108 and Lactobacillus plantarum LP-155 help prevent inflammation and reduce signs of premature aging. And Vitamins A, C, and E can boost your skin health and protect from sun damage.
What are you waiting for? Start today to nurture that glowing complexion.
“23 Foods to Eat for Healthier Skin,” Health Essentials, Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/23-foods-good-skin/.
“Skin Care: 5 Tips for Healthy Skin,” Mayo Clinic, January 22, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237.