Recent studies have shown that diet can affect certain skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. There is now some evidence that aging of the skin can be slowed with a healthy diet. For example, a diet rich in vegetables, fish, foods with high vitamin C content, carotenoids, and olive oil are associated with decreased wrinkles. A Dutch population-based study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology last year looked at the association of a diet and facial wrinkles in an elderly population. The diet included daily consumption of at least 200 grams (approximately 7 ounces) of vegetables, at least 200 grams of fruit, 90 grams of brown bread, wholemeal bread, or other whole grain products, and at least 15 grams (0.5 ounces) of unsalted nuts. Also, one serving of fish per week, and little to no dairy, alcohol, red meat, cooking fats, and sugar were recommended. The study found that better adherence to the diet was associated with fewer wrinkles in women but not men. Women who ate more animal meat, fats, and carbohydrates had more wrinkles than those on a fruit-dominant diet.
Various mechanisms including oxidative stress and elevated skin and gut inflammation caused by an unhealthy diet may lead to increased wrinkle formation. On the other hand, the nutrients in fruits and vegetables stimulate collagen repair and reduce oxidative stress on the skin. In addition to a healthy diet, measures that reduce ultraviolet exposure from the sun including minimizing mid-day sun exposure, applying sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, and wearing sun-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses are essential to minimizing wrinkles and reducing one’s risk of developing skin cancers.