Despite the seemingly countless cosmetic products promising to combat the signs of aging, it still happens. As you age, your skin loses its elasticity and ability to retain moisture. Over time, these sensitive tissues, especially those most often exposed to the sun, begin to show fine lines and wrinkles. Many people try to hold onto the healthful glow and firmness of younger skin through expensive creams and rejuvenating facials. But you might be able to improve your skin's youthful appearance by carefully choosing what foods you consume.
Keeping your body healthy may help you maintain a fresh complexion. Staying hydrated by drinking water and eating fruits and vegetables full of fluids can help moisturize your skin and flush out damaging toxins. Loading your diet with foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants -- such as citrus fruits, broccoli, berries and leafy greens -- can also give your skin the nutrients needed to retain a more youthful look.
Some studies have shown that consuming vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium in your diet can help prevent damage from ultraviolet rays and improve the look of wrinkles and other sun-related signs of aging. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits and broccoli, vitamin E in whole grains, and selenium in turkey and cod [source: Watson]. Studies have also shown that eating salmon and other fish high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids strengthens the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Soybeans and other soy products have proven effective in firming compromised skin tissues [source: MedicineNet].
In contrast, people who have diets high in fats and carbohydrates, especially from large amounts of meat and whole milk, might struggle with more wrinkles [source: Gibson]. Foods and drinks high in alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the skin, which accelerates the aging process and the development of wrinkles [source: Poirot].
However, dermatologists do not all agree. Although most believe that a healthful, balanced diet is good for your overall health and for your skin, some argue that sufficient evidence doesn't exist to show that certain foods specifically prevent wrinkles [source: Weiss]. For this reason, you should remember to take other important steps to reduce the wear and tear on your skin. Harmful ultraviolet rays cause 90 percent of skin damage [source: Poirot]. Using a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and wearing a hat and other protective clothing when you know you'll be exposed to the sun's rays can slow the aging -- and wrinkling -- process in your skin.
Read more about foods that may help combat wrinkles by following the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Gibson, Lawrence E., M.D. "Are Some Foods Better than Others for Healthy Skin?" Mayo Clinic. July 3, 2008 (Accessed Oct. 12, 2009) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-skin/AN01863
- MedicineNet. "Wrinkles Picture Slideshow: Surprising Ways to Reduce Wrinkles." 2007. (Accessed Sept. 26, 2009) http://www.medicinenet.com/wrinkles_pictures_slideshow/article.htm
- Perricone, Nicholas. "The Wrinkle Cure." MedicineNet. (Accessed Sept. 26, 2009) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=54286
- Poirot, Lissa. "A Wrinkle in Time: Preventing Aging Skin." WebMD. Feb. 18, 2009 (Accessed Sept. 26, 2009) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/how-life-affects-aging-skin
- Watson, Stephanie. "Beauty and Skin Care: Vitamins and Antioxidants." WebMD. Sept. 30, 2009 (Accessed Oct. 12, 2009) http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-lifestyle-guide/beauty-skin-care-vitamins-antioxidants
- Weiss, Stefanie. "Got Wrinkles? Go Fish." The Washington Post. Dec. 17, 2002 (Accessed Sept. 26, 2009) http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A55876-2002Dec14?language=printer