25 Foods for Healthy Skin (and Which Foods to Avoid)

woman eating berries

Your skin is your largest organ and must be taken care of. Apart from keeping it moisturized and protecting it from too much sun exposure, you can choose to eat foods that boost your health from the inside out. Eating well and incorporating a variety of nutritious, vitamin-rich foods into your diet can dramatically improve the appearance of wrinkles and reduce or prevent acne. Proper diet can even help with other common skin conditions such as eczema

In this article, we will share some of the best foods for maintaining healthy, happy skin. We will also highlight some foods that can aggravate certain skin conditions so you know what to avoid. As with any medical advice, it is always best to consult with your doctor about your diet. If you are struggling with skin conditions such as acne or eczema, you should talk to your dermatologist about treatments, including dietary changes that may help reduce your symptoms. 

Foods for Healthy, Happy Skin

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are considered the building blocks for healthy skin. They reduce inflammation and preserve collagen in the skin. Omega-3s have also been shown to improve the skin barrier, which helps to maintain moisture levels. Researchers continue to study the many benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for other skin-related issues including hair loss, skin cancer and even wound healing. Some foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include: 

  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Bluefin and albacore tuna 
  • Sardines 
  • Mackerel
  • Herring 
  • Flaxseed oil 
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts 
  • Soy including tofu, edamame and soybean oil

Antioxidants: Another vital nutrient for maintaining skin health, antioxidants fight free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired atoms that can damage the cells of the body, including proteins and even DNA. They are associated with serious diseases including cancer. By eating foods rich in antioxidants, you can keep free radicals under control. 

As antioxidants, the vitamins C and E fight free radicals. Vitamin C promotes collagen production helping to achieve firm, plump skin. Vitamin E has been shown to restore healthy skin cells, repair skin damage, reduce inflammation and acts as a moisturizer. Some good-for-you foods that are high in antioxidants include: 

  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
  • Tomatoes 
  • Broccoli 
  • Spinach and other leafy greens such as kale and collard greens 
  • Green tea
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Pecans 
  • Potatoes 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Kiwi
  • Almonds 
  • Sunflower seeds

Another powerful source of antioxidants comes from polyphenols. Polyphenols can be found in teas, coffees, red wine, grapes and chocolate.   

Foods to Avoid for Healthy, Happy Skin 

By including more of the above foods in your diet, you can be well on your way to healthy, younger looking skin. However, you should also take steps to avoid certain foods that can trigger breakouts and contribute to stressed, tired looking skin. Some of the biggest culprits include: 

Sugars: Foods that rank high on the glycemic index (foods that contain high levels of simple sugars) can boost your insulin and quickly raise your blood sugar levels. Sugars, white breads, pastas and rice are all considered high-glycemic foods. Avoid processed foods and those that contain high levels of sugar including sodas, pastries, candies and other sweets. 

Caffeine: While moderate coffee consumption can provide some beneficial antioxidants, too much can dehydrate your skin. It can also cause you to have poor sleep and irritability, both of which are not conducive to healthy, happy skin. Stick to one cup of coffee a day. If you need a pick me up, try green tea or another beverage that contains lower levels of caffeine. 

Dairy: While there is still debate over whether or not dairy negatively impacts your skin, many people who suffer with acne or eczema find that too much dairy can increase inflammation and cause more skin troubles. 

Alcohol: Like caffeine, too much alcohol can dehydrate the body, and therefore dehydrate the skin. Alcohol causes inflammation and can contribute to dull, tired looking skin. 

Atlanta Dermatologist for Healthy Skin

Eating healthy is just one way you can take better care of your skin. When you are dealing with troubling skin issues, you should consult with a board-certified dermatologist in your area to get down to the root of the problem.

If you reside in the Atlanta or College Park area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Straughn of Buckhead Dermatology. Dr. Straughn specializes in treating a variety of skin conditions, especially those that occur in skin of color. Call our office today at 404-816-4000 to reserve the next available appointment.