What you eat can have a huge effect on your appearance — and we don’t just mean your waistline. Your diet affects the health and appearance of your skin, meaning the foods you eat can actually make you look older — or can help give you glowing, youthful-looking, more supple skin.

If you suffer from acne, have a dull complexion, or want to prevent wrinkles and fine lines as you age, try changing up your diet to remove or include the following foods.

Foods to reduce or eliminate

  • Sugar ages the skin by binding to collagen and elastin through a process called glycation, causing the fibers to lose their strength and flexibility. This leads to wrinkles, sagging skin, a dull complexion, and other symptoms such as age spots, inflammation, and uneven skin tone. Cut back on refined carbohydrates, sweets, and baked goods, and try some of these healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Dairy is one of the biggest sources of internal inflammation, and many people have undiagnosed sensitivities to dairy that can cause symptoms such as acne, joint pain, and sinus issues. Internal inflammation can also take its toll on the skin, contributing to skin rashes, acne, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Try removing dairy for a couple of weeks to see if your skin improves. Use dairy alternatives such as almond milk and coconut-based yogurt.
  • Soy is another food that people are often sensitive to, so avoid soy-based dairy alternatives. Reactions to soy can include hives, eczema, itching, and swelling.
  • Coffee and alcohol contribute to dehydration, which can make the skin appear dull and wrinkled. If you typically drink a lot of coffee or alcohol, try cutting back, and drink extra water to compensate.

Foods to eat more of

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can help your skin look younger and smoother. Omega-3s are responsible for the health of cell membranes. When your cell membranes are healthy, they allow nutrients to get in and waste products to get out. They also help your cells hold water, leading to softer, more moisturized, and more supple skin. Omega-3s also help combat inflammation. Omega-3s can be found in fish such as salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds. Most people have an imbalance in essential fatty acids and may benefit from fish oil supplements.
  • Other healthy fats can improve the appearance of your skin as well. Fat helps your body absorb antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins, and also strengthen cell membranes. Get plenty of healthy fats from foods like olives, olive oil, nuts, coconut, and avocado.
  • Vitamin A helps regulate cell turnover, helping replace old skin cells with fresh new ones and keep your complexion looking youthful. Vitamin A also works with the B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E to create a barrier that helps block environmental toxins than can damage cell membranes. Vitamin A can be found in orange foods like carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as spinach, broccoli, and kale.
  • Antioxidants also help reduce the inflammatory reaction in the body that causes skin to age. The most important antioxidant for skin health is lycopene, which can be found in red or pink foods such as tomatoes, guava, papaya, and watermelon. Other foods high in antioxidants include blueberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and sweet potatoes. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the same compounds that give them their bright colors also give them their beneficial health properties, so try to eat produce in a variety of colors.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated. If you gently pinch the skin on your cheek and it looks like it has fine lines, your skin is dehydrated. Dehydration is a lack of water, not oily, so even oily skin can be dehydrated. Drink lots of water all day long, and eat fruits and vegetables that are high in water, such as celery, cucumber, and watermelon.

Vivaliti Skin can reveal your unique genetic traits, including nutritional needs, risk of glycation and inflammation, and other factors that impact your skin’s health. Learn how Vivaliti Skin can help you take preventive action to fight skin’s signs of aging.