Your Guide To The Best And Worst Foods For Your Skin


The food we consume is just as important as all of the products we put on our skin. The saying, “You are what you eat”? is an unfortunate truth we all hate to hear. I’m writing this article while eating a chocolate croissant, yes I’m aware of the hypocrisy. The quest for great skin often takes unexpected turns, but I believe we all eventually land on the importance of taking care of ourselves internally. It’s no surprise that the term “superfoods” is all over the Internet. Consuming foods high in vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats can improve skin health drastically. Let’s not forget that our skin is the largest organ in our body so, let’s treat it accordingly.

I always wonder if my breakouts are caused by the makeup I wore the day before. Or are they caused by my hormones? Did I touch my face too much or fail to properly cleanse? But now I’ve added another important consideration: what did I eat? I’ve compiled a list of the best foods for your skin, which are high in antioxidants, Omega-3, vitamins E and C, and other nutrients, as well as the not-so-great foods that we should enjoy but in moderation. We’ve also included some healthy recipes and alternative food/drink options for you.



Turmeric is a superb anti-inflammatory ingredient and a staple in every Indian household. It has superior antioxidant properties because it contains high levels of curcumin, known for treating inflammatory conditions. It also increases blood levels of glutathione S-transferase, an important antioxidant and component of the body’s detoxification system. It’s always present in Indian food but you could enjoy a splash of turmeric in hot water at any time of day, or pamper yourself with a turmeric face mask. Whether you’re eating it, drinking it, or wearing it, turmeric is your golden ticket to better skin.

Turmeric face mask: Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric with warm water and raw honey. Leave on for 10 minutes and wash with lukewarm water. 



Blueberries are an excellent source of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. Phytochemicals have the highest amount of nutrition, antioxidants, and phytonutrients— they work around the clock to protect the skin from premature ageing and damage, as well as the cells from DNA damage. Blueberries also have excellent anti-inflammatory properties; a major cause of skin wrinkles and sagging.

I don’t like them as is, so I mix them into my yoghurt or smoothie for the day. It’s also important to remember to eat fruits in season because they’re more flavourful and nutritious than out-of-season produce that travelled long distances to reach your plate.



Blackberries contain several key ingredients that benefit your skin. They contain high levels of polyphenols, a plant-derived compound—these polyphenols act as antioxidants, protecting skin from damage and maintaining its structural integrity and also help prevent skin cancer. Blackberries also have a lot of vitamin K, which help prevent and treat scars from acne and are also high in vitamin C, which can help reduce wrinkles.

You don’t need me to tell you that fresh orange juice and raspberries are also high in Vitamin C, which is greatly beneficial to the skin. Try to incorporate some form of Vitamin C in your day.

Dark Chocolate


Switch to dark chocolate. I know, it’s so bitter but you can start slowly. Cocoa contains a chemical that protects skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure and prevents ageing. Choose dark chocolate, with at least 70 to 85% cocoa content. Did you know cocoa contains more antioxidants by weight than blueberries, green tea, or red wine? It also protects the cardiovascular system.

Coconut Water


Coconut water helps strengthen the skin’s connective tissues to help keep skin soft, smooth and supple. It increases skin radiance and antioxidant protection to prevent infection and fight off free radicals. The good news, here at home, you can find fresh coconut water stalls easily. It’s also filled with natural electrolytes so instead of the ones loaded up with sugar, hydrate yourself with this.



Walnuts have Vitamin E and Vitamin B5 that helps in tightening the pores and brightening the skin. The Vitamin B5 present in walnuts works to get rid of dark spots and Vitamin E repairs skin. Try having these with breakfast or snack on it throughout the day.



Don’t fear the fat. Fats keep your skin supple and elastic by keeping dryness away from you because they lock in the moisture in your skin to keep it healthy and hydrated. Avocados are also antioxidant powerhouses—they have truly unique regenerative properties, they contain potassium, omega-3s, and vitamins C and K. Half an avocado also contains up to 20% of your vitamin E requirement. Avocado on toast would be the perfect breakfast or you could try an avocado smoothie.

Here’s my recipe:

1 organic avocado, pitted and peeled
1 cup organic plant-based milk (either almond or soy)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
2 dates 

Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice cubes. Blend until smooth.

Green tea


Stock up on green tea. They have EGCG. Acne is caused by excess sebum that clogs pores and promotes bacterial growth. EGCG is anti-androgenic and lowers lipid levels. This makes it useful for reducing sebum excretion in the skin, as EGCG can slow or prevent acne development by reducing sebum production. Green tea also contains L-theanine, which influences the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which help the body cope with stress. You can have up to three cups per day.

Other Foods

Sunflower seeds, red bell peppers, tomatoes, fatty fish, soy, and other foods can all benefit your skin. Even water-rich fruits like watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries can help hydrate your skin and keep it smooth and youthful. They also contain the vitamins and nutrients that your skin needs to function properly. Dark leafy greens, in particular, are high in antioxidants, which can help protect your skin against free radical damage. A diet that is balanced and aims to include variety will help the skin the most.

Vegetable juice recipe:

3 stalks celery
1 large cucumber
1 bunch kale
1/2 green apple
4 sprigs parsley
1 lime, peeled

Blend it all together and enjoy! 

Know your skin’s enemy

Remember that this is about excess. Sugar and dairy are triggers. This does not mean you should avoid eating these foods, but it is important to moderate your intake.

Excess of Dairy Products


We’ve been told for years that milk is good for our health and bone health, especially as we get older, and while that’s true because it is an excellent source of Vitamin D.  Nowadays, milk is highly processed, which contributes to our skin problems. Cow’s milk and dairy products contain casein, which raises hormone levels such as insulin-like growth factor-1. Farmers often use synthetic hormones on cows, which has been linked to excess sebum production. Even dairy-based protein powders, such as whey, can cause acne due to high levels of the amino acid leucine which naturally activates a growth regulator that can worsen acne and skin inflammation.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a world where all of this is prohibited; however, as long as we are aware, we can limit it and do our part to help ourselves.

Excess of Processed Foods


Highly processed and packaged foods are a major red flag for skin health. These foods contain refined carbs, which can cause inflammation and breakouts. It also accelerates skin ageing. If you eat primarily processed foods, it will show on your skin and in how you feel. You may feel exhausted faster and more sluggish. Instead, have them in moderation—at dinners with friends or on weekends. We all enjoy a good french fry and burger.

Excess Alcohol


Drinking causes your skin to become extremely dehydrated and depletes many essential vitamins for skin health, making you appear tired. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun on your nights out; I look forward to drinks with my girlfriends, but what you can do is be sensible about it. Replace hard alcohol with spirits and red wine, and if you don’t want to do that, eat a high-protein meal before you go and stay hydrated as much as possible between drinks.

Note that I used the word ‘excess’ before each of these because balance is essential. You must have fun while remaining mindful of your health. Do not let this scare you.


Sodas contribute to acne because of their high sugar content. Adults should consume no more than 30g of free sugars per day, and one single coke can contains 39 grams of sugar. This is one item on my list that I will not put ‘excess’ in front of. It’s better to avoid it altogether. Here are drink options you can enjoy instead:

  • Sparkling water with a splash of juice
  • Unsweetened iced tea or iced tea
  • Coconut water
  • Smoothies and fresh juices

- Intern, Elle India

More From

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content