Your guide to skin food: What to eat and how it affects the skin

ZincIronAstaxanthinB complexVitamin CCranberryCollagenBiotinSkin

Your guide to skin food: What to eat and how it affects the skin

When it comes to keeping your skin healthy, it starts with a simple equation - when we eat nourishing, healthy and natural foods, our skin thrives. When we eat foods that are packed with added sugars, inflammatory or artificial ingredients and trans fats, our skin can react poorly.

The best food for skin is the food that keeps it clear, resilient to environmental stressors, aids in wound recovery, and shields it against common ailments caused by daily life.

Considering as well that the skin is the largest organ of the body and our first line of defence against all types of illnesses, it’s important to give it the TLC it needs to keep it in great shape.

Below, we explore the best food for skin, the nutrients they provide, and other ways you can complement a skin food-focused diet with vitamin and mineral supplements.

The best types skin food

Before going into how food affects the skin, let’s take a look at some of the best food for skin health (1):

  1. Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, oranges, capsicums (also known as bell peppers), and apricots are rich in vitamin C.
  2. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli are packed with iron, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
  3. Fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, cranberries, and other berries are packed with vitamin C.
  4. Lentils, beans, nuts, and seeds are known to have different nutrients such as zinc, iron and B vitamins.
  5. Tuna, salmon, and other fatty fishes also have zinc, iron, B vitamins.
  6. Salmon contains astaxanthin which gives it a pinkish-red color. It also has zinc, iron, vitamin B, and biotin.

It’s no surprise that skin food mirrors the components of a well-balanced diet. That’s because the best food for skin also has numerous benefits for other bodily functions as well, and by taking care of your skin, you take care of your whole body, too.

Skin food’s nutritional value

Skin food

Now that you have a better picture of the best food for skin, the next step is learning how exactly these foods contribute to skin health.

Earlier, we mentioned that skin food contains generous amounts of nutrients the skin needs to function at its best. For you to better appreciate the importance of the best food for skin health, we delve deeper into what minerals and vitamins the skin needs and how they provide skin with visible benefits.

Healthy food choices like fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, select meats and seafood, as well as dairy products are packed with vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, biotin, zinc, iron, collagen, and astaxanthin. Though these minerals and vitamins are traditionally associated with other aspects of health, they can do wonders for your skin, too.

Some of the benefits you can reap from eating more skin food include:

Maintenance and support of skin health

Some of the best food for skin contains nutrients that directly support skin health. Among these is zinc. Zinc has been found to have antioxidant effects to reduce free radicals formed in the body (4).

Astaxanthin also has anti-inflammatory effects and also an antioxidant function that improves the skin’s elasticity, and supports its integrity and structure (5).

Aside from supporting general well-being and health (6), biotin maintains skin health through fatty acid synthesis (7).

Vitamin B complex, specifically vitamin B3 (niacin) and B5 (pantothenic acid) supports skin health by supporting healthy stress response in the body and helping to prevent dietary vitamin deficiency (9).

Maintenance and support of skin elasticity

Elasticity is an indicator of skin health as it shows that skin is able to maintain its shape. One study in particular showed that skin food with healthy amounts of collagen has positive associations with elasticity, as women who took the supplement for four weeks exhibited improvement in skin elasticity (10).

Another study also showed similar results but with astaxanthin supplements which maintain healthy skin conditions, and elasticity compared to subjects under placebo (11).

Maintenance and support of skin hydration

Going through different seasons can affect the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Winter can be particularly tough on skin and dry it out, considering conditions of low humidity. Meanwhile, summers expose skin to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and constant perspiration can lead to dehydrated skin.

Astaxanthin has shown to significantly increase skin moisture and improve overall skin health and appearance after six weeks of use according to research (12), whereas collagen was observed to help increase skin hydration without any side effects (13). These nutrients work best when they go hand in hand with a healthy intake of water for hydration and proper nutrition.

Maintenance and support of collagen formation

More collagen in the body would mean the skin’s elasticity, hydration, and overall wellness is improved. As we age, collagen production slows down, which makes it doubly important for older individuals to eat more skin foods containing collagen.

There’s also skin food with lots of vitamin C, including cranberry, that helps in strengthening the collagen in the body to support skin health (14). Zinc, on the other hand, is essential to collagen formation and helps to lessen the breakdown of collagen to maintain the skin’s elasticity (15). Iron supports skin health through collagen metabolism which helps in wound healing as well as collagen formation (16).

Decrease of fine lines and wrinkles

Exposure to the sun that comes with changing seasons can stress the skin in many ways, an unwelcome result of which is the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Skin food that is rich in collagen is your best bet to combat this, as shown by a study that reported how collagen improved patients’ wrinkles when used daily for 12 weeks (17).

Improvement of skin repair and healing

When it comes to skin health, tearing and illnesses are common concerns. Zinc is a known ingredient in skincare products that supports skin health given that it is present in most phases of cellular repair and wound healing (18). With its anti-inflammation properties, zinc also aids in healing certain skin issues (19).

Foods to avoid to keep skin healthy

On the other hand, there are also foods that are not healthy for the skin. Foods such as highly processed sugars and carbohydrates, unhealthy fat, and excessive portions of food can negatively affect skin health (20). They can cause skin irritation and cause skin ageing (21). It’s not only unhealthy for the skin but for the body overall when these foods are eaten frequently.

Again, the food we put in our bodies affects not only our skin health but our overall well-being. Also note that there are other factors that contribute to skin health besides skin food. Exercise, sleep, and proper supplementation are all part of the formula for achieving healthy skin.

Increase your nutrients intake with supplementation

Skin food

Although the best way to receive essential nutrients for skin is through a healthy diet, some of us might not be able to hit our daily nutrient targets. Supplements can be an option to ensure we receive the recommended daily intake of nutrients for skin health and beyond. Vitable offers the best vitamin delivery in Australia that’s convenient as well as safe and comprehensive. Sign up for a vitamin subscription, take the expert quiz to get your recommendation for custom vitamin packs you need as part of your daily vitamins regime, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:

Zinc | Iron | Astaxanthin | B complex | Vitamin C | Cranberry | Collagen | Biotin

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

  1. Gibson, L. "What are the best foods for healthy skin?" Mayo Clinic: Healthy Lifestyle Adult Health. Published Dec. 17, 2019 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/healthy-skin/faq-20058184. Accessed on Oct. 5, 2021
  2. "23 Foods That Are Good for Your Skin". Cleveland Clinic: Health Essentials. Published on https://health.clevelandclinic.org/23-foods-good-skin/. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  3. Davinelli, S., Nielsen, M. E., and Scapagnini, G. “Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review”. Nutrients.  Published Apr. 22, 2018 on https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/4/522, Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  4. Gupta, M., Mahajan, VK., Mehta, KS., and Chauhan, PS. “Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review”. Dermatology research and practice. Published Jul. 10, 2014 on https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2014/709152/, Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  5. Davinelli, S., Nielsen, M. E., and Scapagnini, G. “Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review”. Nutrients.  Published Apr. 22, 2018 on https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/4/522, Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  6. Mock, D., Baswell, D., Baker, H., Holman, R., and Sweetman, L. “Biotin deficiency complicating parenteral alimentation: diagnosis, metabolic repercussions, and treatment”. The Journal of pediatrics. Published May 1985 on https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0022347685803504. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  7. Zempleni, J., Wijeratne, SSK., and Hassan, YI. “Biotin”. BioFactors. Published Feb. 18, 2009 on https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/biof.8. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  8. Navarrete-Solís, J., Castanedo-Cázares, J., Torres-Álvarez, B., Oros-Ovalle, C., Fuentes-Ahumada, C., González, F., Martínez-Ramírez, J., and Moncada, B. "A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Niacinamide 4% versus Hydroquinone 4% in the Treatment of Melasma". Dermatology research and practice. Published Jul. 21, 2011 on https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2011/379173/. Accessed Oct. 10, 2021
  9. Yang, M., Moclair, B., Hatcher, V., Kaminetsky, J., Mekas, M., Chapas, A., and Capodice, J. "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a novel pantothenic Acid-based dietary supplement in subjects with mild to moderate facial acne”. Dermatology and therapy. Published May 16, 2014 on https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13555-014-0052-3. Accessed Oct. 10, 2021
  10. Proksch, E., Segger, D., Degwert, J., Schunck, M., Zague, V., and Oesser, S. “Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study”. Skin pharmacology and physiology. Published 2014 on https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/351376. Accessed on Oct.5, 2021
  11. Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Fujishita, M., Takahashi, Y., and Adachi, Y. 2017. “Protective effects of astaxanthin on skin deterioration”. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, Published Jul. 2017 on https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jcbn/61/1/61_17-35/_article. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  12. Yamahita, E. “The Effect of a dietary supplement containing astaxanthin on skin condition”. Carotenoid Science. Published 2006 on http://www.nuvocare.us/assets/pdf/AGEOFF%20Astaxanthin_Wrinkle%20Reduction%20Study.pdf. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  13. Asserin, J., Lati, E., Shioya, T., and Prawitt, J. “The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials”. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. Published Dec. 2015 on https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jocd.12174. Accessed on Oct. 5, 2021
  14. Boyera, N., Galey, I., and Bernard, BA. 1“Effect of vitamin c and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts.” International Journal of Cosmetic Science. Published Dec. 25, 2001 on https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1467-2494.1998.171747.x. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  15. Tengrup, I., Ahonen, J., and Zederfeldt, B. (1981). Influence of zinc on synthesis and the accumulation of collagen in early granulation tissue. Surgery, gynecology & obstetrics. Published Mar. 1981 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7466582/. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  16. Wright, J. A., Richards, T., and Srai, S. K. “The role of iron in the skin and cutaneous wound healing”. Frontiers in pharmacology. Published Jul. 10, 2014 on https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2014.00156/full. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  17. Kim, D., Chung, H., Choi, J., Sakai, Y., and Lee, B. “Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study”. Nutrients. Published Jun. 26, 2018  on https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/7/826. Accessed on Oct. 5, 2021
  18. Lin, P., Sermersheim, M., Li, H., Lee, P., Steinberg, S., and Ma, J. “Zinc in Wound Healing Modulation”. Nutrients. Published Jan. 2018 on https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/1/16. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  19. Gupta, M., Mahajan, VK., Mehta, KS., and Chauhan, PS. “Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review”. Dermatology research and practice. Published Jul. 10, 2014 on https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2014/709152/, Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  20. "23 Foods That Are Good for Your Skin". Cleveland Clinic: Health Essentials. Published on https://health.clevelandclinic.org/23-foods-good-skin/. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021
  21. Gibson, L. "What are the best foods for healthy skin?" Mayo Clinic: Healthy Lifestyle Adult Health. Published Dec. 17, 2019 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/healthy-skin/faq-20058184. Accessed on Oct. 5, 2021