They key to great skin can be a tough code to crack. Genetics plays a role to be sure, as well as lifestyle factors including how much sleep you get, stress, exercise and diet. You can’t control genetics (bummer, I know), but you can certainly try to get enough sleep and manage stress (easier said than done sometimes!) and be mindful of what you eat. While we used to think that genetics played a huge role, science now shows that genetics accounts for only 10-15% of how you age – the rest is up to you and your lifestyle choices.
Certain nutrients play key roles in getting and maintaining healthy skin, preventing wrinkles, and fighting acne. From anti-inflammatory benefits to supporting collagen formation, these are some of the most important nutrients to ensure you get in your diet or via supplements for supple, glowing skin.
6 Essential Nutrients for Glowing Skin
What they do: fight inflammation and improve the lipid barrier
Omega-3 fatty acids offer powerful anti-inflammatory action, which protects against skin conditions like eczema. These essential fatty acids also contribute to skin repair, moisture content, and elasticity. But they don’t stop there! Omega-3’s also help to regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which helps prevent wrinkle formation and helps to keep skin smooth.
Find it in: walnuts, flax, chia, hemp, fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
What they do: protect against UV damage, fight inflammation, and boosts circulation.
Flavonoids are a class of phytonutrients that improve immunity, reduce inflammation, and protect against UV damage from the sun. Heart-healthy flavonoids can also boost circulation, and in particular micro-circulation to the capillaries in your skin. Improved circulation imparts that glowing skin we all desire and improves delivery of nutrients and removal of waste products.
Find them in: soy beans, cocoa, berries, and green tea.
What it does: fights oxidative damage and supports collagen synthesis
Vitamin C is an important nutrient in general, but especially for your skin. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which means it helps eliminate free radicals and reduces oxidative stress to your body. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen synthesis, which is important for making your skin soft and supple.
Vitamin C also works to replenish vitamin E in the body so they may work as powerful antioxidants against environmental insults.
Find it in: citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, kale, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, and beet greens.
What it does: promotes skin elasticity and fights acne
Heard of selenium before? It’s a trace mineral with powerful antioxidant properties. Selenium is hard at work maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. It enhances both the absorption and function of of vitamin E, which prevents deterioration of the all important collagen protein. Selenium also helps to prevent acne, which is good news for adult acne sufferers.
Find it in: wheat germ, onions, walnuts, whole grains, brown rice, brazil nuts, tuna, red snapper, seafood, and poultry.
What it does: supports skin regeneration, fights inflammation and acne
Zinc is an important mineral that plays a role in repairing damaged tissue, and also works to protect the skin from UV. Zinc deficiency is also a common cause of acne; by regulating the production of oil in the skin, zinc works to prevent breakouts.
Find it in: oysters, poultry, pumpkin seeds, pecans, oats, cashews, beans and legumes, and whole grains.
What it does: fights free radicals and prevents wrinkles and premature aging.
Vitamin E is probably the mostly commonly referenced nutrient for skin health, and with good reason. Not only do the antioxidant properties in vitamin E fight free radicals, but when combined with vitamin A, it’s effective at preventing certain types of skin cancers. You’ll also combat wrinkles and premature aging with vitamin E thanks to all those free radicals.
Find it in: avocados, almonds, walnuts, eggs, asparagus, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, and olives.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.63