Anti-Aging Foods and Supplements for the Skin

Published on: 03/04/2023

Wrinkles, brown spots, and sagging skin are unavoidable signs of aging… but are they?!

Yesterday, my social media feed started telling me that I needed to buy makeup for mature skin.

Apparently, once you reach the age of 40, your makeup needs to work harder.

Since I had passed the 40-year mark quite some time ago, this was a disconcerting reminder of my age.

To be sure, I’ve already developed typical signs of aging – things like joint pain, declining eyesight, and an increasing number of mental hiccups, all of which I can mostly ignore. Nonetheless, when I take a closer look into the mirror nowadays, I’m truly starting to feel my age. The droopy eye lids, fine lines, and age spots are literally a reflection of the years I’ve lived. Plus, cumulative years of big city pollution, screen time, poor sleep, poor diet, summers working in the sun, and the daily stressors of life have all contributed to the current condition of my skin. (1,2)

At the risk of being called vain, I fully admit that I would quite willingly consume or apply anything if it promised to make my skin look supple and young. My drawers full of partly used skincare products lay testament to this.

However, given that the skin is a reflection of one’s overall health, it makes the most sense to me that the first step to improving the quality and appearance of aging skin would be to nourish the body starting from the inside out.

As such, below you will find my favorite foods and supplements for slowing down skin aging. Of course, be sure to check with your primary care provider, pharmacist, or other qualified health care practitioner before adding any supplements, as they could interact with medications and cause side effects.

My Top 5 Foods and Supplements for Aging Skin

1. Water

Lack of water can cause skin to become dehydrated and inflamed. Studies show that drinking at least 8 cups of water a day promotes superficial and deep hydration of the skin, which in turn will improve its appearance. (3)

  • Try this:

– Always carry a motivational water bottle

– Use a fruit-infuser to make water more enjoyable

– Enjoy more soups or herbal/green teas

2. Collagen

This protein is an important building block which gives the skin its structure, strength, and elasticity. With age, the body produces less collagen and it break down faster. (4) Studies show that supplementing with collagen can improve skin wrinkles, hydration, roughness, and elasticity. (3)

  • Try this:

– Consume bone broth, fish with the skin on, or chicken feet

– Mix a high-quality collagen peptide supplement into a drink (see below for supplement recommendations)

– If you’re vegan, optimize the body’s natural ability to create collagen by ensuring that you consume adequate amounts of protein (especially foods containing the amino acids glycine, proline and lysine) and foods rich in vitamin C

3. Essential Fatty Acids

The skin’s ability to produce and secrete oils decreases with age. Fatty acids make up these oils, as well as other important components of the skin’s protective barrier, like ceramide. They help protect skin against water loss, inflammation, and external hazards. (3,5)

Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are especially important because they are considered essential, meaning they can only be obtained through the diet.

  • Try this:

– Eat foods rich in healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados & avocado oil, fish, wheat germ, or olive oil

– Take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (ideally fish or algal based)

– Take a borage or evening primrose supplement (sources of omega-6)

4. Vitamin C

This vitamin is a skin superpower. Not only is it an important antioxidant to fight off the free radicals that cause skin aging, it is an important structural component for collagen and is needed in the synthesis of ceramide (a protective fat molecule in the skin). Vitamin C also inhibits the production of melanin, the pigment in the skin which causes age spots and freckles, promotes wound healing, and protects against sunburn.

Note – if you smoke or regularly take Aspirin, you are at higher risk of inadequate vitamin C absorption. (5,6)

  • Try this:

– Eat foods rich in vitamin C like bell peppers, citrus, strawberries, and broccoli

– Try a vitamin C supplement (see below for supplement recommendations)

5. Plant Polyphenols

Polyphenols are a large and diverse group of chemicals that are found in plants. There’s too many compounds to list them all here, but overall, polyphenols benefit aging skin through their protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They’ve been shown to have hydrating, softening, smoothening, soothing, and astringent (tightening) effects, as well as improving collagen quality and skin elasticity. (3,6)

  • Try this:

– Eat a diverse rainbow of plant-based foods & spices like pomegranate, berries, green tea, and turmeric

– Polyphenol supplements like resveratrol, curcumin, ECGC, genistein, and milk thistle (there’s lots of them)

In conclusion, while aging is unavoidable, you can slow down the physical signs of aging on your skin by incorporating the foods and supplements mentioned above.

Looking for personalized support to age healthfully and minimize the need for medications? Book a free consultation

Specific Supplement Recommendations I’ve compiled a selection of specific supplements for Mature and Aging Skin, which you can access from my on-line dispensary:

If you order from Fullscript (you’ll have to create an account), you will get a 15% discount off the retail price, and I’ll get a small commission from your order (Thank you!).

References:

1. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-01573-z

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6280109/

3. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030870

4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/23089-collagen, accessed Feb 28/23

5. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080866

6. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010203

The information contained in this article is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not to be construed as personalized nutritional advice nor intended to be a substitute for proper health and medical care. Please consult your physician or a qualified health care professional for support with your skin health.

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Hi! I’m Dora – an unconventional pharmacist turned functional medicine nutritionist. I’m also a mom of twins and an autoimmune warrior.

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