Believe It Or Not, A Plant-Based Diet Does Help Your Skin


I’ve eaten a plant-based, or about 90% vegan, diet for over three years now. I do not eat any meat, but I do make exceptions with some dairy products when I eat at a friend or family member’s home. I made the switch after watching the documentary Forks over Knives, a life-changing film that explores how a whole-food, plant-based diet improves human health and longevity.

Now, there is a difference to note between veganism and a whole-food, plant-based diet. Veganism excludes meat and dairy products, however, even vegans can end up eating unhealthy meals. In fact, some vegans eat predominantly processed foods like noodles, chips, and soda rather than fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, a whole-food, plant-based diet focuses exclusively on eating a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats with little to no processed food.

Not only are there a myriad of environmental benefits to a plant-based diet, but there are countless health benefits to ditching the meat and dairy. Since there are links to a plant-based diet healing our insides, it seems only logical that this diet shift could help our outsides too. Turns out, a whole-food, plant-based diet (WFPB) can help with acne and skin aging!

A 2020 comprehensive study stated, “Eating a WFPB diet can provide the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals necessary to maintain younger cells and excludes the high amount of saturated fat obtained from animal products, which damages cells. A WFPB diet has been shown to increase the amount of antioxidants, which ultimately can translate into healthier and more youthful skin.”

Basically, eating a diet rich in diverse plants ensures that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to give you glowing, healthy skin. A plant-based diet heals your skin from the inside out.

After living on a plant-based diet for a few years, I learned exactly how certain foods react with my body. I’ve never really struggled with acne, but if I eat a bag of chips and spend a weekend drinking with friends I notice the damage on my skin almost immediately. This is my body responding to the un-nourishing foods or drinks I consumed! It’s truly amazing how much our bodies will tell us about what it likes or doesn’t like if we pay attention to the signals.

During an interview with Insider, dermatologist Papri Sarkar said, “Studies have shown that removing dairy from patients’ diets improves their acne. Beyond just helping with stubborn pimples, going vegan can also improve your complexion.” This is likely due to the switch from a standard western diet, which is heavy in meat, dairy, sugar, and processed foods, to a diet focused on vitamin rich plant foods. Vitamin C, E, and K are all shown to improve skin longevity and health, all of which can be found naturally in plant foods such as citrus, strawberries, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, nuts and seeds.

I’ve noticed over the years that my skin looks brighter than it ever did before. As someone who has always struggled with dark eye circles, this was a big deal for me. I noticed less darkening under my eyes and a brighter, more even complexion in general. Win!

If you do make the switch, give your body time to adjust to the changes before ditching your meatless diet.

Dermatologist Dr. Pam Bentito told LiveKindly, “If you do get acne after cutting animal products out of your diet, give your body a few weeks to adjust to your new eating style and you might see it clear up on its own. However, if the issue is from food allergies, hormone imbalances, or poor skincare routine, it may not simply go away on its own.”

While going plant-based is sure to reap some benefits on the body, it doesn’t replace basic skincare practices or other healthy habits. If done in conjunction with exercise, mindful eating, and a great skincare routine, you’re sure to notice some positive changes happening on the surface.

Feature Image by Conscious Design on Unsplash


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