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Foods for Healthy Skin: You Are What You Eat

What you put on your plate is even more important than what you put on your skin.

WebMD Feature

Want truly fabulous skin -- glowing, vibrant, and, yes, younger-looking skin? Make sure you're putting foods for healthy skin on your plate.

"Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look," says Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a clinical nutritionist at NYU Medical Center in New York City.

The reverse is true as well, Heller tells WebMD. The less attention we pay to what goes in our mouth, the more problems we may see cropping up with our skin.

"You could have sallow skin, dry skin, older-looking skin. It's not going to happen overnight, but starve your skin long enough, and it's going to show," she says.

What's more, some health experts believe that when your diet is missing certain foods for healthy skin, other, even more serious skin problems can result.

Elaine Linker, PhD, biochemist and co-founder of DDF Skin Care, says a number of conditions, such as acne, can cause you to suddenly break out. And some chronic skin conditions, such as eczema, may be linked to diet.

What Are Foods for Healthy Skin?

Most experts say eating a balanced diet is the best way to get your share of good food for healthy skin. Still, a number of specific skin treats are more likely than others to give a boost of glowing good health to your complexion. Here's what experts told WebMD are the most important:

Low-Fat Dairy Products. One the most important components of skin health is vitamin A. One of the best places to get it is low-fat dairy products. In fact, experts say that the health of our skin cells is dependent on dietary vitamin A.

Nutrition expert Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, says it's doubly important to eat A-rich dairy foods if you have either diabetes or a thyroid condition.

"Many people who have these problems can't convert the beta carotene to vitamin A, which is the form found in many foods that we normally associate with this vitamin, such as carrots," says Lipski, the founder and Director of InnovativeHealing.com and the author of Digestive Wellness.

The A in dairy products, she says is "true A," so everyone's skin can use it.

Lipski says low-fat yogurt is not only high in vitamin A, but also acidophilus, the "live" bacteria that is good for intestinal health. Turns out, it may also have an impact on the skin.

"Anything that helps keep digestion normal, any live bacteria or enzymes, is also going to be reflected in healthy-looking skin," says Lipski.

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums. The common link between these four foods is their high antioxidant content. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits weighed in with the highest "total antioxidant capacity" of any food. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful.

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