Foods for Clear Skin + Healthy Hair

Many of us are looking to achieve clearer skin and healthier hair. Before you reach for the latest skin serum or hair care product, have you thought about opening your pantry? The key to a healthy, supported body (from the inside out) often lies in your diet. 

Healthy, glowing skin and luscious locks are great sources of confidence, often impacted by many factors like diet, sleep, stress, exercise and hormones.

We can’t agree more with the common statement — you are what you eat. We also believe you are what you don’t eat. It should be no surprise that a nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet has loads of health benefits for your body, including healthy skin and hair.

Today we’ll explore healthy foods that can support your body through acne or blemishes, plus assist you to your best hair yet. They have a load of other benefits, too! 

Skin and Hair Health

Clear skin and healthy hair can make all the difference in our lives. When we look good, we feel good. Often, the quality of our skin and hair can tell us a lot about our overall health and wellness. 

When it comes to skin health, clear skin is not always the result of a skincare routine. Diet has a big role to play in the state of our skin. Even skin diseases like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema can have dietary links.

The same is true for our hair. The cells of the hair follicles have an extremely high turnover rate; they need a constant flood of nutrients to remain healthy. Depriving your body of nutrients like proteins, minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids can spell disaster for your skin and hair health and even lead to hair loss.

Most dermatologists are very confident about the link between skin conditions like acne and diet. Studies have shown the links between foods with a high glycemic index (such as refined sugars and processed carbs) and acne.

How does this work? The glycemic index rates how quickly these high-carb foods affect blood sugar levels. High glycemic foods can spike blood glucose levels and promote excess insulin release. One effect of this is an increase in sebum production — natural oils produced by the body.

The increase in sebum production, coupled with an increase in androgen synthesis, can create a ripe environment for pimples to proliferate. The same goes for the scalp. On the scalp, sebum helps hydrate the hair. Too much sebum can lead to oily hair.

High glycemic foods include:

  • Sugary drinks
  • White bread and rice
  • Highly-processed foods

Not all hair and skin issues have a dietary cause. Sun damage can cause skin issues like dryness and hyperpigmentation, or genetic hormones can lead to an influx of breakouts during that time of the month.

Other factors that affect your skin and hair health include oxidative stress and inflammation. These are typically a result of lifestyle factors, such as a high-stress job or lack of sleep. Oxidative stress and free radicals can also damage your cells (contributing to skin aging), so be sure to prioritize those zzz’s and reduce stress where you can!

What Should I Eat for Clearer Skin and Healthier Hair?

As stated above, highly processed foods (refined carbs and sugar) are no friend to our skin and hair health. Not only are these lacking in nutrients, but they also create an environment that promotes acne and inflammation to flourish. Instead, let’s look at some of the best foods to help promote clearer skin and healthy hair.

Probiotics Foods

Probiotics have long been a staple in caring for your gut. In short, probiotic foods provide essential bacteria enzymes to help boost your healthy gut bacteria by helping to restore gut microbiome balance. The great news is probiotics can also help support skin health. 

Probiotic strains help to soothe irritation in the body and inhibit the production of certain bacteria that contribute to blemishes. They also help to support the skin’s natural protective barrier. 

In addition to probiotic supplements, probiotics can be found in the following foods:

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha

Prebiotics are necessary to allow probiotics to flourish in the gut too, supporting your skin’s health from the inside out. Be sure to incorporate both, plus a diet abundant in fiber and micronutrients - for best results. 

Berries - Rich in Antioxidants

As stated, oxidative stress and cell-damaging molecules called free radicals can cause numerous skin and hair health issues. 

Thankfully, antioxidants are here to help. In short, antioxidants are molecules that help slow down or prevent the damage wrought by free radicals, such as inflammation. 

Berries are an antioxidant-rich food. Thanks to their high amounts of anthocyanin, a plant compound (polyphenols), and potent antioxidants, they support your skin’s capacity to heal. Other antioxidant-rich berries include blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries. 

Omega-3s - Clearer Skin With Healthy Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known when it comes to heart health. But these important nutrients may also be beneficial to skin health. Omega-3s help soothe inflammation throughout the body, supporting the body’s process to heal skin issues like blemishes. 

Studies have shown Omega-3 fatty acids can combat skin inflammation. These healthy fats are available as supplements and can also be found in a variety of different foods, including:

  • Fatty fish — salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines
  • Flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans

Citrus Fruits and Vitamin C

Another great source of antioxidants can be found in various citrus fruits. One of the most powerful antioxidants is vitamin C. This essential vitamin is best known for being a strong ally for immune health, but it also has positive implications for skin and hair health. 

The vitamin C found in citrus fruits plays an active role in collagen synthesis. Collagen is a structural protein that provides support and structure for the skin, hair, and nails. It also supports elasticity in the skin. As we age, collagen decreases, leading to issues like sagging, wrinkles, and fine lines. 

Citrus fruits high in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. Other foods that are a great source of vitamin C include cantaloupe, kiwi, and bell peppers. 

Leafy Greens and Other Veggies

Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are packed with antioxidants and essential vitamins. This makes them a great food source for those looking for clearer skin and healthier hair. For example, leafy greens like kale are rich in vitamins E and A. Both of these are well-known for their anti-aging effects on the skin’s appearance. 

There are loads of other veggies that also boost numerous benefits for skin and hair health. For example, tomatoes are a great source of a carotenoid called lycopene, which has been shown to have rejuvenating effects on the skin. 

Another carotenoid-rich food is sweet potatoes. These are also a great source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. This essential nutrient helps promote keratin, a hardening protein essential for hair and nail health. 

Other Foods for Skin and Hair Health

The list could go on and on! At the end of the day, opting for low-glycemic foods will always be the best bet when seeking clear-looking skin. Studies have shown that high-protein, low-glycemic-load diets are the most effective for combatting skin issues. 

If you eat animal products, you should incorporate lean proteins sources, such as:

  • Chicken breast
  • Lean cuts of beef
  • Whitefish
  • Lentils and beans
  • Egg whites

You can choose whole grain options, such as oats or quinoa, instead of refined carbs. These are rich in selenium, a trace mineral that helps keep skin firm and protected. 

If you’re looking to boost antioxidants, the polyphenols found in drinks like green tea can help combat the effects of skin discoloration. Believe it or not, even dark chocolate contains flavonoids, a type of polyphenol. We’ll listen closely to that one!

When it comes to cooking, turmeric (the golden spice) is a powerful antioxidant that can calm down irritation in the body. Thanks to its active compound, curcumin, turmeric is a potent ally in combatting the effects of environmental stressors.

Supplements for Skin and Hair Health

Turmeric is one of the ingredients found in our Skin + Digestion formula. This best-selling formula boasts essential nutrients like vitamin C and Zinc to help maintain and support skin health, support collagen formation, and soothe symptoms of skin irritation.

The Bottom Line

Healthy, glowing skin and strong hair are great sources of confidence in our lives.

Understanding how the body works to heal inflammation and process types of nutrients and minerals allow us to make more informed choices to support ourselves. By changing our diets, we can greatly change the appearance of our skin and hair and the function of our gut.

Be sure to opt for a colorful diet rich in nutrients, lean meats and lots of water. You should also prioritize sleep, reducing your stress and socializing with people that make you feel good! Healthy skin (and hair) starts within. 


Diet and Dermatology | PMC

The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging | ScienceDirect

Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids: a report of cases | NIH

Collagen Synthesis - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Lycopene presence in facial skin corneocytes and sebum and its association with circulating lycopene isomer profile: Effects of age and dietary supplementation | PMC

The effect of a high-protein, low glycemic-load diet versus a conventional, high glycemic-load diet on biochemical parameters associated with acne vulgaris: a randomized, investigator-masked, controlled trial | NIH