Can certain foods actually age your face? Here's what to eat for healthy skin

Certain foods can accelerate the ageing process while others can keep your skin looking healthy.

Written by
Kaitlyn Wilson
Medically reviewed by
min read
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You've probably heard the saying, "you are what you eat" and it turns out, there may be some truth to that when it comes to your skin. In fact, certain foods play such a role that they can accelerate the ageing process. And, in the same vein, other foods can also keep your skin looking healthy.

So, let's take a closer look at how your diet can impact your skin and explore some of the best foods to eat for youthful, glowing skin.

Can your diet help slow down ageing?

A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for overall health, and that includes ageing. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can provide your body with the necessary nutrients to function healthily and play a role in cell turnover and healing.

Of course, diet is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to ageing. Other lifestyle factors, including exercise, stress management and sleep, also play a role.

However, we do know that certain foods do have anti-ageing properties. For example, foods high in antioxidants, such as blueberries, dark chocolate and nuts, can help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, which can accelerate the ageing process.

While foods rich in vitamins and minerals can positively impact ageing, highly processed foods can lead to inflammation in the body, which has the opposite effect and is a major contributor to ageing [1].

Are there any foods that age your face?

In short, yes. There are certain foods that can contribute to premature skin ageing by causing inflammation in the body and damaging collagen and elastin, which are essential fibres for maintaining skin elasticity and a youthful appearance.

When these are damaged, the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of skin ageing can become more apparent.

Examples of foods that can contribute to ageing include:

Processed and sugary foods

While fine to eat in moderation, the regular consumption of processed and sugary foods can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.


Alcohol can dehydrate the skin, making it look dull and dry, which can contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

Fried foods

Fried foods are high in unhealthy fats that can cause inflammation in the body and contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.

Excessive caffeine

Too much caffeine can dehydrate the skin, making it look dull and dry.

What foods slow down ageing?

While ageing is a part of life, there is nothing wrong with wanting to take measures to slow down or treat the signs of ageing. One way to do this is by eating a diet filled with essential nutrients.

Add the following foods to your plate for healthy, clear skin:

Red cabbage

Red cabbage is high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the body. This vegetable also contains vitamin C, which promotes collagen synthesis and vitamin A, which regulates the production of skin cells and keeps your skin hydrated.

Brussel sprouts

Brussels sprouts are brimming with vitamin C and vitamin A, which are important building blocks for collagen production and cell turnover.

These powerful antioxidants can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Brussels sprouts also contain sulphur compounds, which have anti-inflammatory properties and detoxifying effects on the body.

Sweet potatoes

Alongside a healthy dose of vitamins C and A to fight free radical damage, sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to antioxidants in the body.

This vegetable also has a high water content, which can help with hydration levels in the skin.

Fermented foods

Foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir can keep your skin healthy in a number of ways. Firstly, they are rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that improve gut health (yes to multiple health benefits!). Probiotics are also closely linked to skin health.

Fermented foods can also increase the body's absorption of nutrients that support the production of collagen, which is important for maintaining firm, supple skin.

Green tea

Loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, green tea reduces the risk of chronic diseases and promotes healthy ageing.

Red wine

Some studies suggest that red wine contains compounds that may be beneficial for skin health, such as antioxidants like resveratrol. Typically found in the skin of grapes, resveratrol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing effects.

Coconut and olive oil

Coconut oil is a natural moisturiser that is rich in fatty acids, which help to hydrate and protect the skin. It also contains antimicrobial properties that can help to fight off harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause skin infections.

Coconut oil can be especially beneficial for those with dry or sensitive skin as it can help to soothe and nourish the skin.

Olive oil is another natural moisturiser that is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It has been shown to help protect the skin against damage from free radicals, which can contribute to premature ageing and other skin concerns. Olive oil can also help to soothe and hydrate the skin, making it a great option for those with dry or sensitive skin.

Foods containing retinol

Retinol is a type of vitamin A found in animal products and is incredibly effective when it comes to treating ageing as it helps prevent cell damage.

Foods high in retinol include:

  • Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel
  • Cheese
  • Liver (beef, chicken, pork)
  • Egg yolks
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Yoghurt
  • Sour cream

Some plant-based foods such as sweet potato, kale and spinach contain carotenoids, which the body converts into retinol [2].

What foods are good for skin elasticity?

While it's normal for skin elasticity to decline as you age, there are foods that can help delay this process by encouraging the production of collagen to keep your skin firm and supple. These include:

Vitamin C

This is essential for the production of collagen, which is a protein that gives skin its elasticity. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit, guava, capsicum, broccoli, and kale.

Vitamin E

This antioxidant can help protect the skin from damage caused by harmful free radicals while also supporting skin health. Nuts and seeds (such as almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts), avocado, and spinach are full of vitamin E.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Found in fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds and more, omega-3s help improve skin elasticity and reduce inflammation.


Sources of zinc include oysters, beef, chicken, beans, and pumpkin seeds. Zinc is an essential mineral that is involved in the production of collagen and can help support skin health.

Water-rich foods

Staying hydrated is important for maintaining your skin's elasticity. Eating water-rich foods such as watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, and celery can help keep you hydrated and support healthy skin [3].

Are antioxidants good for anti-ageing?

Antioxidants can definitely play a role in skin ageing. As we age, our skin becomes more susceptible to damage from environmental factors like sun exposure and pollution. This damage can contribute to the development of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

Antioxidants can help fight this damage by neutralising harmful molecules called free radicals, which are generated by environmental stressors and can damage cells.

By neutralising free radicals, antioxidants help prevent cellular damage, which in turn can help improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even protect the skin from sun damage [4].

Some foods which are rich in antioxidants are:

Dark chocolate

High in antioxidants and flavonoids, dark chocolate may help protect against cellular damage and reduce inflammation.

Green leafy vegetables

Spinach, kale, and collard greens are all packed with antioxidants, including carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Whole grains

Brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat are all good sources of antioxidants, particularly a type of antioxidant called selenium.


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are all great sources of antioxidants, particularly, anthocyanins.

How to create a skincare routine for ageing skin

While eating a diet filled with colourful vegetables and healthy fats will contribute to the health of your skin, it isn't the only component of achieving glowing youthful skin. Creating a skincare routine filled with hardworking products is also important to promote healthy skin and fight the signs of ageing.

If you're unsure where to start, here are a few important ingredients and products to incorporate into your anti-ageing skincare routine:


To start, use a gentle cleanser that clears away dirt and debris without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Our hydrating cleanser in the Essential Skincare Routine kit is formulated to remove makeup and impurities and infuse hydration in the skin with sodium hyaluronate — a form of hyaluronic acid — which works to attract and retain moisture in the skin.


In the morning, apply a vitamin C serum to help protect your skin from free radicals and brighten your complexion. Software's Vitamin C + Ferulic Serum is formulated with a powerful combination of antioxidants and highly specialised actives to target dullness and fight atmospheric ageing.

Vitamin C also helps to protect cells from free radicals caused by UV rays and environmental stressors.


In the evening, consider incorporating a retinol product into your routine to fight visible signs of ageing. Software's Retinol Complex Oil is a restorative, lightweight and fast-absorbing oil that is enriched with vitamin A to stimulate cell renewal and protect the skin from environmental stressors.

Derived from coconut, seed and fruit oils, this age-defying hero reduces the appearance of fine lines, dark spots, and combats dryness. It also improves skin elasticity and firmness to leave your skin glowing and supple.


In the morning and evening, you'll want to lock hydration in with a nourishing moisturiser. Look for a face cream with ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin happy and healthy.

Software's Ceramide Repair Balm treats dull, damaged and dry skin with an injection of moisture-retaining and nourishing ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid and squalane.

Our non-comedogenic formula replenishes and protects the skin barrier, infuses hydration, reduces redness and irritation and protects against free radicals.


The last step of your morning skincare routine should be sunscreen, which is a daily necessity. Not only does sunscreen help in the prevention of more serious things like skin cancer but it also slows down the ageing process by protecting the skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause changes to your DNA on a cellular level.

Software's Daily Sun Defence SPF50+ is a lightweight, non-greasy facial sunscreen and is formulated with UVA and UVB filters, which may lead to a reduced risk of photoageing, sun spots and some skin cancers.

Alternatively, you could try Software's Advanced Ageing Set, which is a complete routine designed to target fine lines, wrinkles, dullness and skin elasticity. This 5-step system includes the Vitamin C + Ferulic Serum, Retinol Complex Oil, Salicylic Acid Foaming Wash, Ceramide Repair Balm and Daily Sun Defence SPF50+ to deeply cleanse, hydrate, brighten and repair skin.

Image credit: Getty Images

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