When it comes to taking care of your skin, many people turn to serums and other topical solutions. And while focusing on what you put on your skin is absolutely important, the food you eat also has a significant impact. It’s true—what we put in our bodies has just as much of an effect as what we put on our bodies.
There are a few major factors that influence the skin, including oxidative stress, inflammation, and the environment.
- Oxidative Stress: Oxidative Stress happens when there’s an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause damage to the cells, and because of this, oxidative stress has a role in skin aging as well as many other chronic conditions.
- Inflammation: Inflammation is a protective process that supports your body in fighting injury and infection. It’s when inflammation becomes chronic that it can have negative effects. Regarding skin health, inflammation can be caused by factors such as diet, sunburn, allergic reaction, or other infections.
- Environment: Various environmental factors can impact your skin health, such as sun exposure, climate, smoking, air pollution, and cosmetic use.
To combat the potential damages that these factors can cause, here are a few important nutrients to implement into your diet:
Omega-3 Fatty acids:
You may often hear omega-3 fatty acids promoted for improving cholesterol levels. But these healthy fats do much more for the body than just that! They are also an important factor in skin health.
Research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to slow the skin’s chance of getting a sunburn and reduce the severity of redness. They have also been shown to reduce inflammation.1
Food high in omega-3:
Fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, and herring)
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it’s absorbed through fat in the body. It’s an antioxidant that supports the immune system and skin health. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s effective at fighting against free radicals and preventing oxidative stress. When it comes to your skin, vitamin E may be able to reduce UV damage and the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic skin condition. Vitamin levels in the skin can decrease due to sun exposure and even with age. Luckily, many foods contain vitamin E! 2
Foods high in vitamin E:
Wheat Germ Oil
Beta carotene is another antioxidant that can help protect the skin. Getting plenty of antioxidants, including beta carotene, can help improve the skin’s defense against things like UV radiation to maintain health and appearance. However, it’s important to note that beta carotene or any other food can’t replace your sunscreen when it comes to protection! 3
Beta carotene is part of the carotenoid family and is found in various fruits and vegetables. Our bodies are also able to convert beta carotene into vitamin A.
Foods high in beta carotene:
- Sweet Potato
Dark leafy greens
Vitamin C is commonly promoted when it comes to immune health, but did you know it’s necessary for your skin health too? Vitamin C is important for skin elasticity since it is essential for producing collagen.
It’s a cofactor in the production of collagen, meaning vitamin C is essential to activate the enzymes that synthesize collagen. Therefore, your body can’t produce collagen without vitamin C, so when someone is deficient in vitamin C, it can lead to low collagen levels. Vitamin C helps promote the production of fibroblasts, regulate collagen synthesis, and stabilize your current collagen levels.
Foods high in vitamin C:
Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, and grapefruit)
Many other vitamins are also beneficial for your skin health such as vitamin D, K, and B. To make sure you are providing your skin with everything it needs, eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins!
Didn’t have time to read the whole article? Here’s what you need to know! What you put in your body can be a huge support to the health of your skin! Some essential nutrients to consider are omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin C. Eat a variety of foods to ensure you are giving your skin what it needs!
If you struggle with skin issues or simply want to support your skin health, what you eat can have a large impact! Your genetics can provide insight into the foundational level of your individual dietary needs. With a personalized DNA analysis, you can better understand your body and allow your genes to inform new dietary habits to support your skin health. Click here to learn more about your DNA’s guide to healthy eating. Ready to begin your personalized nutrition journey to achieve your health goals? Get your DNA collection kit today.
- Pilkington, S. M., Watson, R. E., Nicolaou, A., & Rhodes, L. E. (2011). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: photoprotective macronutrients. Experimental dermatology, 20(7), 537–543. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2011.01294.x
- Darr, D., Dunston, S., Faust, H., & Pinnell, S. (1996). Effectiveness of antioxidants (vitamin C and E) with and without sunscreens as topical photoprotectants. Acta dermato-venereologica, 76(4), 264–268. https://doi.org/10.2340/0001555576264268
- Darvin, M. E., Sterry, W., Lademann, J., & Vergou, T. (2011). The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin. Molecules, 16(12), 10491–10506.https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules161210491