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Nutrients for Healthy Beautiful Skin


Updated February 08, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Your skin is your body's largest organ and it needs good nutrition to be healthy. Start with a balanced diet with plenty of water and ditch all the junk foods, excess fats and sugar.

A healthy diet provides the nutrients your skin needs:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce dryness of your skin.
  • Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production, a major component of the connective tissue layers of your skin.
  • Vitamin A keeps your skin strong so it can function as a barrier to keep bacteria and other pathogens out of your body.
  • Selenium may help prevent skin cancer.
  • Zinc is necessary for wound healing.

Eating a balanced diet with a variety of nutritious foods is good for your health in general.

In addition to a healthy balanced diet, add these superfoods to your menu:

  • Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that can fight damage due to free radical exposure.

  • Red, orange, yellow and dark green fruits and vegetables all contain pigments like lycopene and lutein. These pigments are natural antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables are also generally low in calories and high in fiber.
  • Oysters are rich zinc (and many other minerals) while remaining low in fat.
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout are excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that keep your skin moist. They're also good sources of lean protein.
  • Brazil nuts contain more selenium per serving than any other food. They also contain monounsaturated fatty acids. Serving size is important - they're high in calories, so you only need a few every day.
  • Green Tea (both regular and decaffeinated forms of green tea) contains polyphenols that work as antioxidants that may help protect your skin from sun damage.

Limit your consumption of highly processed foods that contain lots of sodium, which may lead to puffiness and water-retention in some people who are sodium-sensitive.

You should be able to get the nutrients your skin needs from the foods you eat, but if you want to ensure a sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, you can take a multivitamin supplement. These supplements are generally safe, but it's still a good idea to speak with your health care provider before taking any dietary supplements in large doses.


Heinrich U, Moore CE, De Spirt S, Tronnier H, Stahl W. "Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women." J Nutr. 2011 Jun;141(6):1202-8.

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. "Selenium Fact Sheet." Accessed March 10, 2012. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/Selenium.

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. "Vitamin A Fact Sheet." Accessed March 10, 2012. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional.

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. "Vitamin C Fact Sheet." Accessed March 10, 2012. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/VitaminC.

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. "Zinc Fact Sheet." Accessed March 10, 2012. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/Zinc.

Rizwan M, Rodriguez-Blanco I, Harbottle A, Birch-Machin MA, Watson RE, Rhodes LE. "Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial." Br J Dermatol. 2011 Jan;164(1):154-62.

Stahl W, Sies H. "Carotenoids and flavonoids contribute to nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight." Mol Biotechnol. 2007 Sep;37(1):26-30.

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