Layering on antioxidants is an important part of any a.m. skin-care routine. They protect your complexion from pollution and blue light, fending off free radical damage and the signs of aging (like wrinkles and sun spots) that it can cause. But in addition to using topical serums, there’s another way you can work antioxidants into your routine for the sake of younger-looking skin: By adding them into your diet.
According to research, regularly consuming antioxidant-rich foods can help keep your skin functioning optimally. “If you really want to take great care of your skin, it’s really your whole body—diet, exercise, and sleep all influence how your skin looks,” board-certified dermatologist and Specific Beauty founder Heather Woolery Lloyd, MD, recently said in a Facebook Live event for Well+Good’s Fine Print Facebook group. “Think of skin as holistic. Studies have found that people whose diets are high in antioxidants have younger-looking skin. So don’t think of skin care as a one-stop thing.”
Antioxidants come in a number of different forms, each of which has a different benefit when you consume it. Vitamin C is a topical skin-care superstar, and it’s likely the antioxidant you’re most familiar with (and that’s already a part of your skin-care routine). According to research, higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance, which is as good a reason as any to add some citrus, berries, or other vitamin C-rich foods into your diet. Linoleic acid, which you can find in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, meats, and eggs has been associated with a lower likelihood of having the dry skin that’s often associated with aging.
When we talk about the “gut-skin connection,” however, we often focus on the things we shouldn’t be eating. When it comes to acne, dairy and sugar have earned the reputation for being not-so-great for skin.With all of that in mind, it’s important to remember that packing your diet with antioxidants isn’t the only thing you should be doing for the sake of keeping your skin healthy—it’s just one piece of a larger puzzle. “You want to protect yourself from the sun, you want to use antioxidants, you want to make sure you’re getting enough sleep—you want to be sure you’re doing all of those things to give your skin its best possible glow,” says Dr. Woolery Lloyd.
And as far as a topical routine goes? “Antioxidants, retinoids, and alpha-hydroxy acids are the most proven anti-aging skin ingredients,” she says. This trifecta—along with slathering on sunscreen 24/7, 365—will help keep all of those signs of aging at bay.
Got more questions on how to craft the perfect routine? Check out the video below for some derm-approved intel on how to do it: