12 Delicious Foods to Support Skin Health

Photo of Daisy Whitbread Written by Daisy Whitbread
BSc (Hons) MSc DipION
Photo of Dr. Patricia Shelton Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Patricia Shelton
Evidence Based. References sourced from PubMed.
12 Delicious Foods to Support Skin Health

The skin is the largest organ of the body and serves to protect our body, regulate temperature, and manufacture vitamin D.

The health of your skin depends on the nutrients it receives. Feeding your skin from the inside is much more beneficial than any cream or beauty treatment you can buy.

Foods that promote skin health include oily fish, pomegranates, avocados, orange vegetables, turmeric, berries, nuts, fermented foods, chocolate, watermelon, spirulina, and seeds. Making these foods a regular part of your diet will give your skin an extra boost of nutrients and keep it healthy.

More Tips for Maintaining Healthy Skin

  • Exercise increases circulation - Improving blood flow and nutrient delivery to the skin. The health of your skin is completely dependent on the nutrients it receives this way. (28)
  • Reduce stress and get a good night's sleep - Stress increases collagen breakdown in the body and sleep is when your skin regenerates and repairs itself. Women who sleep less than 5 hours have more fine lines, poorer skin elasticity, and skin that takes longer to recover from environmental stressors. (29)
  • Limit sun exposure - A tan may give you a healthy glow in the short-term, but UV rays break down collagen and hyaluronic acid in the skin and cause premature aging in the long run. (30)
  • Avoid refined sugars - Eating refined sugar can lead to skin damage. When your blood sugar spikes, the extra sugar reacts with body tissues, including collagen and elastin, it leads to the formation of aptly named AGEs (advanced glycation end-products). These cause cells to become stiff, losing their elasticity and becoming more prone to damage and premature aging. (31)

Data Sources and References

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  2. Ascher B, Rzany BJ, Grover R. Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects Dermatol Surg. 2009 Oct;35(10):1478-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2009.01261.x. Epub 2009 Jul 20. 19686365
  3. Park HM, Moon E, Kim AJ, Kim MH, Lee S, Lee JB, Park YK, Jung HS, Kim YB, Kim SY. Protective effects of standardized pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) polyphenolic extract in ultraviolet-irradiated human skin fibroblasts Int J Dermatol. 2010 Mar;49(3):276-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04269.x. 20465664
  4. Lai WC, Iglesias BC, Mark BJ, Wang D. Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review Arthroscopy. 2021 Jul;37(7):2318-2333.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2021.02.019. Epub 2021 Feb 20. 33621647
  5. Miyachi Y. The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin J Dermatol Sci. 1995 Mar;9(2):79-86. doi: 10.1016/0923-1811(94)00363-j. 7772578
  6. Ledikwe JH, Blanck HM, Khan LK, Serdula MK, Seymour JD, Tohill BC, Rolls BJ. Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Aug;106(8):1172-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2006.05.013. 16863711
  7. Nezzar H, Chiambaretta F, Marceau G, Blanchon L, Faye B, Dechelotte P, Rigal D, Sapin V. Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments Mol Vis. 2007 Sep 11;13:1641-50. 17893666
  8. Stahl W, Heinrich U, Aust O, Tronnier H, Sies H. Photoprotection by dietary carotenoids: concept, mechanisms, evidence and future development Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2006 Feb;5(2):238-42. doi: 10.1039/b505312a. Epub 2005 Aug 12. 16465309
  9. Stahl W, Heinrich U, Aust O, Tronnier H, Sies H. β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2006 Feb;5(2):238-42. doi: 10.1039/b505312a. Epub 2005 Aug 12. 16465309
  10. Aggarwal BB, Sundaram C, Malani N, Ichikawa H. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_1. 17569205
  11. Thangapazham RL, Sharma A, Maheshwari RK. Skin regenerative potentials of curcumin Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:343-57. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_15. 17569219
  12. Panahi Y, Kianpour P, Mohtashami R, Jafari R, Simental-Mendía LE, Sahebkar A. Treatment of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Curcumin: A Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial Drug Res (Stuttg). 2017 Apr;67(4):244-251. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-100019. Epub 2017 Feb 3. 28158893
  13. Bhandari A, Mahajan R. Cutaneous manifestations of common liver diseases J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2022 Jul-Aug;12(4):1215-1224. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2021.12.013. Epub 2021 Dec 28. 35814509
  14. Stahl W, Heinrich U, Aust O, Tronnier H, Sies H. Carotenoids and flavonoids contribute to nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2006 Feb;5(2):238-42. doi: 10.1039/b505312a. Epub 2005 Aug 12. 16465309
  15. Chung JH, Seo JY, Choi HR, Lee MK, Youn CS, Rhie G, Cho KH, Kim KH, Park KC, Eun HC. Aging- and photoaging-dependent changes of enzymic and nonenzymic antioxidants in the epidermis and dermis of human skin in vivo J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Nov;117(5):1218-24. doi: 10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01544.x. 11710936
  16. Jones VA, Patel PM, Wilson C, Wang H, Ashack KA. Selenium levels and skin diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis JAAD Int. 2020 Dec 26;2:76-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jdin.2020.11.001. eCollection 2021 Mar. 34409356
  17. Huff J. Selenium supplementation and secondary prevention of nonmelanoma skin cancer in a randomized trial J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Feb 18;96(4):333-4; author reply 334. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djh050. 14970283
  18. Jones VA, Patel PM, Wilson C, Wang H, Ashack KA. Selenium levels and skin diseases: systematic review and meta-analysis JAAD Int. 2020 Dec 26;2:76-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jdin.2020.11.001. eCollection 2021 Mar. 34409356
  19. Ra J, Lee DE, Kim SH, Jeong JW, Ku HK, Kim TY, Choi ID, Jeung W, Sim JH, Ahn YT. Clinical Evidence of Effects of Lactobacillus plantarum HY7714 on Skin Aging: A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Dec 28;24(12):1736-43. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1408.08023. 25179898
  20. Mastroiacovo D, Kwik-Uribe C, Grassi D, Necozione S, Raffaele A, Pistacchio L, Righetti R, Bocale R, Lechiara MC, Marini C, Ferri C, Desideri G. Cocoa Flavanol Supplementation Influences Skin Conditions of Photo-Aged Women: A 24-Week Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar;101(3):538-48. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.092189. Epub 2014 Dec 17. 25733639
  21. Choi SH, Choi SI, Jung TD, Cho BY, Lee JH, Kim SH, Yoon SA, Ham YM, Yoon WJ, Cho JH, Lee OH. Oral Supplementation with Cocoa Extract Reduces UVB-Induced Wrinkles in Hairless Mouse Skin Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Sep 25;18(10):2052. doi: 10.3390/ijms18102052. 28946661
  22. Sies H, Stahl W. Lycopene-rich products and dietary photoprotection Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2004 Aug;3(8):749-52. doi: 10.1039/b316082c. Epub 2004 Apr 1. 15295630
  23. El Baky HHA, El Baroty GS, Mostafa EM. Culture Conditions stimulating high γ-Linolenic Acid accumulation by Spirulina platensis Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2020;11(1):40-48. doi: 10.2174/2212798410666181227125229. 30588890
  24. van Gool CJ, Thijs C, Henquet CJ, van Houwelingen AC, Dagnelie PC, Schrander J, Menheere PP, van den brandt PA. Dietary supplementation of gamma-linolenic acid improves skin parameters in subjects with dry skin and mild atopic dermatitis Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Apr;77(4):943-51. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/77.4.943. 12663296
  25. Liu P, Choi JW, Lee MK, Choi YH, Nam TJ. Crude protein from spirulina increases the viability of CCD‑986sk cells via the EGFR/MAPK signaling pathway Int J Mol Med. 2020 Jul;46(1):351-359. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2020.4571. Epub 2020 Apr 8. 32319537
  26. Jacobson EL, Kim H, Kim M, Williams JD, Coyle DL, Coyle WR, Grove G, Rizer RL, Stratton MS, Jacobson MK. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin Exp Dermatol. 2007 Jun;16(6):490-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2007.00553.x. 17518989
  27. Searle T, Ali FR, Al-Niaimi F. Serum zinc levels and efficacy of zinc treatment in acne vulgaris: A systematic review and meta-analysis J Dermatolog Treat. 2022 Aug;33(5):2455-2458. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2022.2062282. Epub 2022 Apr 18. 35437093
  28. Kang C, Chung E, Diffee G, Ji LL. Exercise-stimulated interleukin-15 is controlled by AMPK and regulates skin metabolism and aging Exp Gerontol. 2013 Nov;48(11):1343-50. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2013.08.004. Epub 2013 Aug 30. 23994518
  29. Hung HC, Lu FH, Ou HY, Wu JS, Yang YC, Chang CJ. Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing? Menopause. 2014 Aug;21(8):834-9. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000183. 24398409
  30. Röck K, Fischer JW. Natural and sun-induced aging of human skin Hautarzt. 2011 Aug;62(8):591-7. doi: 10.1007/s00105-011-2133-x. 21681543
  31. Danby FW. Sugar Sag: Glycation and the Role of Diet in Aging Skin Clin Dermatol. 2010 Jul-Aug;28(4):409-11. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.018. 20620757
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