Eating Your Way to Clear Skin

We all know that proper hydration is one of the most important skincare commandments. “Thou shalt guzzle water,” is probably every dermatologist’s first suggestion to those of us who saunter into their offices, looking for solutions to splotchy skin and pesky break outs. And their second nugget of wisdom? Well that has less to do with your water bottle and more to do with your dinner plate.

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of eating “colorful” foods and for good reason. Apart from an Instagram-worthy aesthetic, these foods get their hue from antioxidants & nutrients with different health benefits. But skin-saving nutrients aren’t exclusive to foods on the R-O-Y-G-B-I-V spectrum. There are nutrient-dense foods lurking in aisles outside the produce section of your local supermarket. Fill your shopping cart with the following foods to steer your skin towards clearer days.

Leafy Greens & Dark Red or Orange Veggies

Examples: Kale, Spinach, Squash, Sweet potatoes, Carrots

These colorful veggies contain beta-carotene which helps promote a clear complexion. Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body, which spurs the turnover of new cells for smoother skin. Incorporate more servings into your daily cuisine by filling up on some sort of veggie at every meal. Throw some spinach in a morning omelette and use kale as a base for a side salad at dinner.

Oily Fish

Examples: Salmon, Atlantic Mackerel, Tuna

When it comes to fish, the phrase “you are what you eat” doesn’t exactly apply. Eating fish will help plump up and smooth your skin thanks to the healthy fatty acids from biotin and Omega-3’s. Without these nutrients, your skin may get scaly… Funny how that works out, huh? If you’re a vegetarian or just don’t like to eat things that swim, you can also get these nutrients from avocados or the nuts and seeds below.

Nuts and Seeds

Examples: Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Walnuts, Chia Seeds

Walnuts and chia seeds contain high levels of Omega-3’s and healthy fats, which your skin uses to regenerate. I’m a big fan of sprinkling chia seeds into smoothies, yogurt, and salads!

Additionally, almonds and sunflower seeds are jam packed with vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that is present in the top layer of your skin. By filling up on these superfoods, you protect your skin from UV rays and help seal in hydration.

Water-filled Fruits

Examples: Watermelon, Pineapple, Oranges, Kiwi, Tomatoes

Hydration is the key to healthy, glowing skin so it makes sense that the more water you fit into your diet, the better. These fruits will help you stay hydrated while also providing beneficial vitamins. Oranges contain high levels of vitamins A, B, and C, which help boost your immune system and brighten skin. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which helps protect cells from damage. You already knew fruits were good for you, and those from the water-dense lot work their magic from the inside and out.

Complex Carbs

Examples: Quinoa, Oats, Brown Rice, Beans, Lentils, Cauliflower

Unfortunately foods containing white flour can increase inflammation and interfere with your clear skin initiatives. Sure, white rice and pasta are fine in moderation, but by swapping them out with complex carbs you’re less subject to break outs. Complex carbs are lower on the glycemic index and help to keep your insulin levels steady. In contrast, foods containing white flour may spike your hormones and cause pimples.


Examples: Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Cranberries, Strawberries

Berries are another great source of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B6, which are collagen boosting agents. Keep your favorite berries on hand for a healthy snack that protects skin and also satisfies your sweet cravings.

Wine and Chocolate

Examples: Red wine and dark chocolate (to be precise)

Yep, you read that right. Both red wine and dark chocolate contain antioxidants that provide skin-soothing nutrients to the body. Dark chocolate contains cocoa flavanols which help ward off fatigue while reducing skin redness and irritation. Of course, you’ve got to stick to a serving size otherwise too much sugar can have the opposite effect. Red wine contains resveratrol, which helps slow the growth of acne-causing bacteria. One glass of wine and a serving of dark chocolate could actually be good not only for your stress levels but also for your skin. Can I get an amen?

These are just a few foods to kickstart your clear skin diet. There are definitely more factors at play when it comes to your complexion, such as genetics, environment, and stress levels, but by paying attention to the foods you consume, you build a solid foundation for skin that, well, doesn’t require any foundation. Put good in, get good out.

Happy healthy eating!



Beautiful skin starts with what you put into your body. The antioxidants and vitamins in these foods will help lay the foundation for naturally clear skin.

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