5 Foods for Healthy Skin
Wondering what to eat and what to smooth on? These skin-saving foods help both ways.
Feed your face
Here’s a beautiful reason to stop by the supermarket today: Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of Ageless Face, Ageless Mind. Wondering what to eat and what to smooth on? These skin-saving foods help both ways.
Strawberries have more anti-aging vitamin C per serving than oranges or grapefruit. And research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who don’t.
Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and break down collagen, leading to fine lines. For smoother, better-hydrated skin, apply a natural berry mask once or twice a week, and eat vitamin C–rich foods daily.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil don’t just benefit you on the inside—they soften your skin, too. “Ancient Romans massaged olive oil into their skin,” Dr. Perricone says. “When used topically, olive oil results in smoother, more radiant skin.” Plus, consuming olive oil, a staple in the healthy Mediterranean diet, provides antioxidants to disarm free radicals and reduce inflammation. In addition to working olive oil into your daily diet, apply as a lip gloss and skin soother, as needed. If you have dry skin, you’ll particularly benefit from topical application.
Curling up to a cup of green tea does a lot more than relax you. Green tea is filled with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, Dr. Perricone says. What’s more, research from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. And when you add a generous squeeze of citrus juice, the tea’s antioxidants get a boost of staying power, so they remain in and benefit the body longer, rather than being digested quickly and having much of the goodness go down the drain, according to Purdue University researchers.
Pumpkin’s orange hue is from carotenoids, wrinkle-fighting plant pigments that help neutralize free radicals in the skin, keeping them from damaging the cells that fast-forward aging. “Pumpkin is filled with vitamins C, E, and A, as well as powerful enzymes that help to cleanse the skin,” explains dermatologist Kenneth Beer, author ofPalm Beach Perfect Skin. Plus, pumpkin has hydrating properties, Ionescu adds. Although the seeds make a great fiber-filled snack, you get the skin-saving antioxidants from the pulp.
“Pomegranates are one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits,” Fernstrom says.
Research shows this fruit’s juice has more inflammation-fighting antioxidants than red wine or green tea. Eat some fresh pomegranate or use it in an age-fighting scrub.
Apply once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells, suggests Cleo Londono, aesthetician and owner of Metamorphosis Day Spa, in New York City.