How diet impacts skin health

There are different types of skin, which in turn are influenced by genetic, regional or dietary factors.

Here we are going to review everything about this last aspect, highlighting what are the nutrients necessary to strengthen and beautify the skin, how you can obtain them and what foods you should avoid.

skin health

With its almost 2 m² of extension and 5 kg of weight, the skin is the largest organ of the body.

It is divided into two main layers (epidermis and dermis) and fulfills many functions, such as keeping the body’s structures intact, acting as a protective barrier, and functioning as a communication system with the environment.

Food is essential to obtain energy and develop, so it directly impacts skin health.

The strength, shine, elasticity, presence of wrinkles or blemishes, and speed of recovery of the skin, will depend on the and the amount of nutrients that are part of our diet.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in the dermis and epidermis, and has antioxidant effects, making it very useful for combating the action of free radicals (unstable molecules that affect healthy cell structures). This helps reduce the risk of premature aging.

Vitamin C also benefits skin health by stimulating collagen production. This is a group of proteins that the body uses to improve the elasticity and resistance of tissues, thus determining the appearance of the skin, hair and nails.

It is advisable to consume between 65 and 90 mg of vitamin C daily. You can obtain it by adding citrus fruits to your diet, such as lemons, oranges or grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, berries and peppers, among other foods.

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Vitamin D

Regular exposure to sunlight helps obtain vitamin D, which is then absorbed by the liver and kidneys to be transported to the rest of the body to create healthy cells (including skin cells).

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Scientific evidence shows that vitamin D can also help the skin by reducing inflammation, relieving irritation and fighting psoriasis.

You can obtain the necessary vitamin D by exposing yourself to sunlight for about 10 minutes (consult your doctor for a history of skin cancer), and by consuming fortified foods, such as cereals or yogurts, and lean fish, such as salmon, tuna, and cod, and their oils, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, especially useful to protect the skin against damage caused by sunlight, preventing inflammation and the appearance of spots or wrinkles.

Normally, the body produces vitamin E through sebum, a substance emitted through the pores of the skin. In the right balance, sebum helps keep skin conditioned and prevents dryness.

To obtain a sufficient daily dose of vitamin E (around 15 mg), it is advisable to consume nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts, seeds, such as sunflower seeds, and vegetable oils, such as wheat, sunflower, corn or soybeans, among other foods.

vitamin K

Vitamin K stimulates the blood coagulation process, thus helping the body to heal wounds, bruises and areas affected by surgery.

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It also appears to be helpful against certain skin conditions, such as stretch marks, scars, and dark spots. For this reason, it is common to find it in many creams and ointments.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin K is between 90 and 120 micrograms, so its deficiency is unusual.

You can get it by including green foods in your diet, such as spinach, kale, cabbage, lettuce, or beans, among other foods.

healthy fats

Although they carry a negative connotation, fats are necessary for the proper functioning of the body.

They help form the cell membranes of all cells in the body, provide insulation, and facilitate temperature regulation.

To take advantage of these benefits, which have a direct impact on the health of the skin, it is important to incorporate healthy fats, that is, mono and polyunsaturated.

You can find them in oils, such as olive, canola, or peanut oils, avocados, nuts, soy products, and oily fish, such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, or sardines.


Staying hydrated is very important to take care of the health of the body, and, therefore, of the skin.

When you’re dehydrated, your skin loses strength, elasticity, shine, and is more prone to scarring, dryness, and damage.

To avoid this situation, it is recommended to drink between 6 and 8 glasses of water per day, although it all depends on individual needs.

This consumption will not cause the same effect in people who are active or who live in areas with warm climates, compared to people who are sedentary or less active, or who live in areas with cold climates.

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A good way to know if you are hydrated is through your urine. If the color of this is dark, it means that you are not incorporating enough liquid.

Remember, water is the best and easiest way to hydrate yourself, but you can get a bonus, when it comes to your skin, if you complement your consumption with fruits and vegetables rich in water: such as celery, strawberry, melon, cucumber, watermelon or tomato


Just as there are beneficial options for the skin, there are products that can harm it.

An example of this is highly processed or ultra-processed foods or edible products, that is, canned, dehydrated, or packaged soups or noodles, margarines, cake mixes, potato chips, soft drinks, cookies, candies, sauces, ice cream or jams, among others. others.

These products are made with industrial ingredients (binders, preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, or solvents), which typically contain little or no whole food.

Along with excess caffeine, salt, alcohol and sugar, these products can be harmful as they trigger inflammation and oxidative stress, affecting skin health.

They’re also often loaded with a high glycemic index (GI), a measure of how quickly foods can raise blood sugar.

Including foods with a high GI reduces sensitivity and causes circulation problems, which can favor the appearance of skin conditions and make detection difficult.

Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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