Great Skin Grocery List
We start paying attention to our skin in our teens when we get our first zit and are allowed to experiment with makeup or facial hair. Then, we revisit skincare as adults looking to heal or prevent imperfections caused by a number of things like hormones or sun damage. Since my mid-twenties, prevention has been my No. 1 skincare goal. Whether it’s preventing acne or prolonging the aging process, I wanted to be ahead of the game and tap into whatever formula these so-called “SuperAgers” had concocted.
What I’ve learned is that great skin begins in the gut. First, you should understand that the foundations of youthful skin are collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. As we age, our body stops producing these natural resources while the environment and our lifestyles wear down whatever is left. Thankfully, we have tools to protect and replenish these three ingredients, starting with what we put in our bodies. Below you will find my great skin grocery list organized by 13 essential nutrients. You’ll notice a lot of reoccurring items like spinach, avocado, and dark chocolate…these should be at the top of your list!
Skin Happy Foods Contain…
Foods like watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, and bell peppers contain a lot of water, which helps to keep your skin hydrated. Drinking an abundance of water and consuming these types of foods will improve the appearance of fine lines, dark circles, puffiness, dryness, and skin tone.
If free radicals are the bad guy, antioxidants are Superman. Berries and dark leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, which combat and prevent free radicals from damaging your healthy skin cells and DNA. Air pollution, tobacco smoke, and UV rays are some of the many instigators of free radicals.
Inflammation of the skin presents itself in many ways including acne, swelling, eczema, and rashes. This is your body’s way of letting you know something is off such as an allergy, stress, or a virus. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties like berries, cruciferous vegetables, turmeric, and dark chocolate help combat these skin irritants.
Your body uses amino acids to support various health functions including muscle recovery, digestion, and immune system; Each of these impacts the quality of your skin. There are 20 amino acids your body needs, 9 of which are labeled “essential.” Two of the nine essential amino acids that are highly influential with regard to your skin are Lysine and Threonine. Amino acids are commonly found in meat and dairy products, but for plant-eaters, you can find amino acids in black beans, soy, lentils, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) protect cell membranes and have anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to omega-3s and omega-6s, it’s important not to go overboard with one or the other. Instead, aim for a healthy balance of the two. Great vegan sources of healthy fats include flax, walnuts, soy, olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, and avocado.
Vitamin A “retinoids/retinol” might be one of the most impactful ingredients in your great skin grocery list. Some of the benefits include skin cell production and health, elasticity, hydration, and brightness. While it’s extremely helpful to use a topical retinoid product, our bodies convert beta carotene – found in carrots, sweet potato, and bell peppers – into Vitamin A (retinol). I recommend consulting your physician for prescription-strength, topical tretinoin cream (retinoid). Photo above shows my results after 8 weeks of a prescribed skincare routine with a tretinoin .05% cream.
Ascorbic acid is important for collagen synthesis, which makes it an essential partner to your collagen supplement. This ingredient is high in antioxidants and can be found in abundance in red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, broccoli and kale. I also recommend using a Vitamin C serum with 10-20% Vitamin C (also part of the skincare routine mentioned above). Supplement Tip: When shopping for a collagen supplement for your skin, look for collagen types I & III with VERISOL®
Vitamin D supports your immune function. Foods with this ingredient also have great anti-inflammatory properties, which makes Vitamin D helpful in treating acne. The most natural source of Vitamin D is the sun, however, you MUST protect your skin from harmful UV rays or you’ll be at risk for premature aging and skin cancer. Edible sources of D include mushrooms, almond milk, and oranges.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which is helpful in fighting the effects of harmful radiation and other free radicals. Avocado, dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds, almonds, and olive oil are high in E and should definitely be on your great skin grocery list.
Folic Acid (B9)
Folic acid – a B vitamin that is called folate in foods – is important for healthy cell function, and as an antioxidant, helps to fight free radicals that cause premature aging. This nutrient also helps the skin retain moisture and healthy pigmentation. Foods high in folic acid include legumes, asparagus, spinach, citrus fruits, avocado, broccoli, nuts, and seeds.
Selenium works with Vitamin E to protect the cell membrane from cancer-causing free radicals. This mineral is also said to support healthy immune, thyroid and metabolic functions, which affect the skin. You can find Selenium in foods like Brazil nuts, brown rice, mushrooms, oats, spinach, and lentils.
Often found in sunscreens, Zinc Oxide is extremely helpful for preventing and healing damage caused by free radicals like UV rays. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to support collagen synthesis and DNA repair. Foods with this mineral include legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and avocados.
This mineral is super helpful for preventing inflammation, regulating hormone levels, and boosting cell regeneration. Magnesium supports fatty acid function in the skin which improves elasticity and moisture retention. Dark chocolate, papaya, seeds, nuts, legumes, and spinach are great sources of magnesium.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutrition, or esthetician, but I have learned from world-renowned specialists via books, videos, and interviews.
Try My Beauty-Boosting Smoothie!