Nowadays, we are aware about the importance of food in our health. A healthy diet reduces the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cardiovascular accidents and even cancer.The skin is also influenced by what we eat. The health of our skin, its luminosity and elasticity can be affected by an incorrect diet.

Healthy diet

According to the World Health Organization, a healthy diet involves [1]:

  • Limit calorie intake. That is to say that the caloric intake is balanced with its expenditure. In general, the percentage of fat should not exceed 30% of total calories.
  • Reduce the consumption of free sugar, such as the one present in sugary drinks. Free sugar should not exceed 10% of total calories.
  • Salt intake should not exceed 5 grams per day. This will help prevent cardiovascular disease.

In addition, it is recommended to consume about 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily, as well as include legumes, nuts, and whole grains in the diet

How food affects the skin

The skin, like any other organ in the body, requires nutrients to maintain biological functions. The main nutrients that we must take into account are:


The human body needs an average of two liters of water a day to maintain its homeostasis. When there is a lack of water, the skin cracks, since its appearance is directly related to the level of hydration [2].

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We should not confuse dehydrated skin with dry skin. The first has a lack of water, while the second has an altered lipid barrier and a lower natural hydration factor (NMF), which ultimately produces a loss of water [3].

In both cases, we must keep the skin hydrated by drinking water and using skin moisturizers.


Minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, and selenium have important roles in skin health. In fact, the zinc content in the skin is the third highest in the human body and is essential for the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes in the epidermis [2].

On the other hand, various clinical studies have shown that copper helps in improving skin elasticity, reducing fine lines and promoting wound closure [4]. This is because copper is involved in protein synthesis processes, in the formation of the extracellular matrix and in angiogenesis [2].

In pathological skin conditions, both zinc and copper are reduced in the blood serum, this is the case in psoriasis patients [5]. On the other hand, ultraviolet radiation from the sun can increase the iron content in the skin, contributing to cell damage and aging due to oxidative stress [6]. Likewise, reduced levels of selenium contribute to skin sensitization to oxidative stress damage by reducing the antioxidant capacity of the skin [7].


In a previous post we saw the vitamins that play an important role in skin maintenance:Vitamin A is involved in the hair cycle as well as skin pigmentation. While vitamin B3 is used in acne and atopic dermatitis treatments.Finally, vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidant agents that protect against photoaging due to oxidative stress.

Image by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Nutritional deficiencies in the skin manifest mainly with dryness and paleness of the skin, leading to health problems if these deficiencies are maintained.

Thus, maintaining correct nutrition through a healthy diet that provides us with the necessary vitamins and minerals for the proper functioning of our body is crucial for healthy and well-cared skin.


  2. Cao, C., Xiao, Z., Wu, Y., & Ge, C. (2020). Diet and Skin Aging-From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients, 12(3), 870.
  3. Muñoz, M.J. (2008). Hidratación cutánea. Estética y salud. Offarm, 27 (11), 48-51.
  4. Borkow G. (2014). Using Copper to Improve the Well-Being of the Skin. Current chemical biology, 8(2), 89–102.
  5. Lei, L., Su, J., Chen, J., Chen, W., Chen, X., & Peng, C. (2019). Abnormal Serum Copper and Zinc Levels in Patients with Psoriasis: A Meta-Analysis. Indian journal of dermatology, 64(3), 224–230.
  6. Reelfs, O., Eggleston, I. M., & Pourzand, C. (2010). Skin protection against UVA-induced iron damage by multiantioxidants and iron chelating drugs/prodrugs. Current drug metabolism, 11(3), 242–249.
  7. Zhu, X., Jiang, M., Song, E., Jiang, X., & Song, Y. (2015). Selenium deficiency sensitizes the skin for UVB-induced oxidative damage and inflammation which involved the activation of p38 MAPK signaling. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 75, 139–145.

    Cover image by Nathan Cowley from Pexels