Is my diet important for skin health?

Skin health requires good circulation, hydration, and nutrition, so diet can be important to skin health. Vitamins A and E are important for skin health, for example.
Anne M. Chapas, MD

Watch as board certified dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas explains why diet is such an important factor in your skin's health.

There is no one diet or ingredient that will guarantee healthy skin. However, a very poor diet will lead to poor skin health: malnourishment like that seen in undeveloped countries and in anorexia leads to changes in the skin, hair and nails. I suggest my patients enjoy a  varied diet containing antioxidants as well as important building blocks like protein and good fats. A daily multivitamin and a cup of green tea ensure vitamins and anti-oxidants. Don't overdo anything - for example salmon and tuna are  great sources of good omega fats, but too much can lead to a dangerous mercury level.   

Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics

Consuming nutrients such as: Vitamin A, E, C and Omega-3 fats may affect the moisture and elasticity of the skin.

Here are a few nutrients to make you glow:

Vitamin A: This vitamin has an essential role in the development and maintenance of the epithelial tissue –the lining of eyes and skin. One of the main functions of the epithelial tissue is to serve as a barrier to bacteria. Low levels of Vitamin A can lead to a dry, flaky complexion. Therefore, increase your intake of carrots, spinach, kale, apricots and papaya.

Vitamin E: This nutrient has been found to provide some skin protection. It is another important vitamin for the maintenance of epithelial tissue which helps promote healthy looking skin. In a recent study published in the 'Annual Review of Nutrition', researchers explained that continuous exposure to ultraviolet rays is linked to skin disorders such as sunburn and skin cancer. The risk can/may be lessened by incorporating more foods rich in Vitamin E into your daily diet. Eat more oranges, spinach and almonds

Vitamin C: In addition to promoting a strong immune system; this water soluble vitamin has anti-aging properties according to a study recently published in the 'American Journal of Clinical Nutrition'. Vitamin C also has an important role in the synthesis of collagen, a major protein of body tissues that include the skin. Increase your intake of broccoli, green leafy vegetables, mango, watermelon and red peppers.

Omega 3 fatty acids: This healthy fat nourishes our skin and promotes skin health. It has been found to protect our skin against damage from ultra-violet rays. Research has shown that Omega 3 anti-inflammatory properties are responsible for having a protective effect against the incidence of skin cancer and aging. It protects against sunburn and helps to prevent premature aging. One of the symptoms of Omega-3 deficiency includes dry skin. Great sources of this essential fat are sardines, tuna and salmon.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Your diet plays an important role in your overall health and your skin's appearance can be affected as a result. To promote overall health, drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and eat green vegetables and fresh fruits. Foods such as nuts, berries, grapes, avocados and salmon also provide good nutrients for your body that may also help your skin's appearance. Consult a dermatologist for more information.

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Simply put, when skin-enhancing nutrients are ingested and absorbed into your bloodstream, they are delivered to your skin cells. Your skin needs all the nutritional help it can get because oxygen and blood carrying vital supplies of nutrients are re-routed away from your skin when you body perceives an emergency such as extreme cold or stress. When you are very cold, your blood supply is concentrated inward to maintain and support your more vulnerable organs. These organs are not able to tolerate fluctuations in their oxygen supply or temperature very well so the body prioritizes and sends the blood away from the skin to keep the “core” temperature as even and as close to normal as possible. Your skin is the first organ to be deprived of nutrients and the last to receive them again when you are very cold or under a lot of stress. Stress is perceived by the body as an emergency and blood is diverted either towards or away from your skin, both of which are bad for your skin. Obviously, you can’t afford to consume anything less than optimal nutrition on a regular basis if you want to ensure that your skin will get through emergencies without “starving.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.