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Skin // The link between skin & nutrition

As a beauty therapist, I constantly get asked by clients what products they should be using to reduce redness, acne, dark spots and other skin conditions. Since beginning and completing my naturopathic studies my answer to this question has changed dramatically.

While what you put on your skin is important, you must bear in mind that skincare, as well as the rest of your health, should be approached in a holistic manner. That means fuelling your body with the right nutrients that can be gotten through eating a healthy diet as well as using the correct products topically. Skin-loving essential nutrients such as vitamins C, A, E, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium, can improve the overall look and feel of your skin, while also keeping what is inside healthy.

So, what are great nutrients that will benefit your skin health? And what foods contain these nutrients? I have provided a list below!

Vitamin A/Retinoids

Retinoids promote the production of new skin cells, and carotenoids prevent cell damage and premature aging, helping to maintain that youthful glow! Sources include bright orange/yellow vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, pumpkins, and mangoes. Leafy, green vegetables such as spinach and kale can also help boost vitamin A in your diet.

Vitamin C

This powerful antioxidant fights skin aging, boosts collagen, and is essential in the structure and resilience of skin. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, as well as bell peppers, and kiwifruit are great sources. Vitamin C does not like heat, so these foods are best eaten in their raw state.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps to maintain suppleness and smoothness of the skin. This vitamin can be found in nuts and seeds such as almonds, flax seeds, cashews, and peanuts. Remember to activate nuts to remove anti-nutrients that prevent nutrient absorption.


Selenium is a mineral that is lacking in New Zealand soils, but it can be found in our oceans, making shellfish and fish some of the best sources. This powerful antioxidant helps to fight age spots, sun damage, and aging. If seafood is not your thing, Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium or perhaps a supplement could be considered.


Zinc performs many functions in the body, including the removal of bacteria and oils which can contribute to acne. Legumes, beans, nuts, and wholegrains are great sources. Again, remember to activate those nuts, and soak legumes and wholegrains in water overnight to remove antinutrients.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

The benefits from omega 3s include fighting inflammation within the body, helping to reduce skin conditions, and giving the skin a healthy glow. Food sources include fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, chia and hemp seeds, and walnuts.

I challenge anyone who is suffering from skin aliments to start adding in a food from each of these nutrient groups to their meals every day. I just know you will love the results! Of course, these are just some of the skin-loving nutrients, and there are also lifestyle habits such as drinking enough water, getting adequate exercise and sleep to consider.

By living a healthy lifestyle and eating natural wholefoods (these don’t come in packets!) you should see an improvement in your skin. If you are maintaining this healthy diet and lifestyle and not seeing any improvements there could be an underlying allergy or intolerance that has gone unrecognised, in which case an appointment with a naturopath could be of help.

Do keep in mind that at the start of a health journey skin conditions can flare up and worsen before benefits are seen. It’s important to not become deterred when this occurs as this can be a natural detoxification process. I promise it is worth going through to come out the other side!


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