Skin Health

Nutrition and Younger-Looking Skin

While it’s commonly known that healthy eating can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the right food may also help reduce the signs of aging and even improve some skin conditions.

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD), the use of nutricosmetics – nutrition or nutritional supplements for skin health and beauty – may become more common in the fugure.

Nutricosmetic supplements include ingredients such as vitamins, peptides, marine proteins and carotenoids. But, the association cautions, these supplements aren’t reviewed or approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, a recent study showed that in people taking a daily supplement containing collagen peptides, there was a significant reduction in eye wrinkle depth. Additionally, there was improvement in the skin’s collagen and elastin after the participants took the supplement for eight weeks.

But simple dietary changes could work, too. Board-certified dermatologist Patricia Farris, MD, FAAD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, says that diets high in vitamin C and low in fat and carbohydrates are associated with fewer wrinkles and age-related dryness and less skin thinning.

Reducing sugar intake may protect elastin and collagen molecules in the skin, the AAD says. A diet high in sugar can damage these molecules, leading to wrinkles.

The right nutrition can be beneficial for other skin conditions as well, such as acne. Studies have shown diets high in dairy or full of high glycemic index foods, such as processed breads or snacks or sugary carbonated drinks, may contribute to acne flares. Improving the diet of people with acne is now considered an essential component of effective acne treatment, Farris says.

Farris said research is being conducted on people with atopic dermatitis to determine if nutritional intervention with probiotics may treat or even prevent atopic dermatitis.

Research shows that psoriasis can be improved by following a low-calorie diet, Farris adds. “Healthy eating habits appear to be a valuable tool to reduce the signs of skin aging as well as the management of certain skin conditions,” Farris says, according to an AAD news release.

“Many dermatologists are involved in the groundbreaking research exploring the benefits of nutricosmetics to the skin. While the science behind nutrition, supplementation and the skin is still evolving, research suggests a diet high in antioxidants and healthy fats and low in sugars, refined carbohydrates and bad fats may help the skin look younger.”

The AAD suggests visiting a board-certified dermatologist for the most complete information on how nutrition could help your skin condition.

The American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. For more information visit The Academy also has a YouTube channel (Academy of Dermatology).

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