The food you eat affects your skin. Skin is actually an organ, and like any of the body’s other organs, it needs nutrients to help nourish it. Some nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, good fats and fluids help to promote healthy skin, whilst others such as high GI foods can damage it.

Glycemic Index

Acne is caused more often by hormones than by eating the wrong foods, however, recent research suggests that eating too many foods with a high GI can worsen acne. A low GI diet has also been shown to reduce the signs of ageing. The GI, or Glycemic Index, of a food tells you how quickly that food breaks down and is absorbed by the blood stream. Foods that break down quickly are usually sugary, highly processed foods like soft drinks, sugary breakfast cereals, hot chips and white bread, whereas foods that have a low GI, and breakdown slowly for more sustained energy include foods that are high in fibre, such as grainy breads, muesli, corn and baked beans.

Nutritional deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can also show up in your skin, so it’s important to include all of the core food groups in your diet on a daily basis (breads & cereals, dairy, meat (or meat alternatives), fruit and vegetables). For example, a deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to dry, scaly skin. Orange and red fruits & vegies, such as apricots, carrots and red capsicum are rich sources of vitamin A. Deficiencies of riboflavin, which is found in dairy products, can result in cracking in the corners of your mouth, and deficiencies of Vitamin B6, found in meat, poultry, fish and nuts, can result in itchy, flaky skin.


Antioxidants are compounds found in foods that destroy free radicals (unstable molecules which damage other molecules). A diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to decrease wrinkles and the signs of ageing. Fruits and vegetables are the best source of antioxidants. Try to include a variety of different coloured fruits & vegetables (different colours represent different anti-oxidants) each day.

Good fats

A deficiency of good fats (called the “essential fatty acids”) can also lead to dry skin, eczema and dandruff. The good fats are found in fish, nuts and healthy oils such as olive and canola oils. Aim to include a tablespoon of good fats in your diet each day.


The best thing that you can do for your skin is to keep it well hydrated – this helps it to look healthy and fresh. Avoid drinks that dehydrate you like alcohol, and instead drink water, skim milk and herbal teas. You know when you’re drinking enough when you wee is a clear colour. One good way to get into the habit of drinking enough fluid is to fill up a water bottle first thing in the morning, and make sure that it’s finished by the end of the day.