An Anti-Wrinkle Diet: Nutritional Strategies to Combat Oxidation, Inflammation and Glycation

Rajani Katta, MD; Ariadna Perez Sanchez, MD; Evelyne Tantry


Skin Therapy Letter. 2020;25(2):3-7. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


There is growing awareness of the complex link between nutrition and skin. In the last few decades, our understanding of this link has grown significantly with research findings from multiple laboratory, animal, and human studies. From the impact of diet on clinical features of aging skin, to documentation of the biochemical and histologic changes that occur, our understanding of this link continues to expand and evolve. In this paper, we review the research on the impact of diet on skin aging. A number of long-term observational population studies have documented that healthier diets are linked to fewer signs of skin aging. Animal and laboratory studies have elucidated the biochemical processes that play a large role in the development of these clinical findings. A number of studies have also reported on the role of specific dietary compounds in impacting these processes, whether by combating or potentiating these forces. This body of research serves as guidance in recommending nutritional strategies that can combat the skin aging forces of oxidation, inflammation, and glycation.


The clinical features of skin aging are well documented and a common question in clinical practice is whether dietary choices have any impact on these features. Based on research ranging from long-term human population to intervention studies, laboratory investigations, and animal studies, a diverse body of data links diet to skin aging.

This research provides significant guidance when discussing nutritional strategies that can promote healthy skin aging. Skin aging is particularly impacted by the processes of oxidation, inflammation and glycation. For each, dietary choices can play a large role in modifying these forces. Specifically, certain dietary patterns, foods, nutrients, and compounds have the ability to either potentiate or combat these processes.

It is well documented that certain populations differ in the rate of development of skin aging. Multiple large scale studies have reported that in those with healthier dietary patterns, fewer fine lines and wrinkles are seen,[1,2] while other population studies have documented fewer pigmentary changes[3] and less skin atrophy and dryness.[4] In one study of over 500 non-diabetic subjects, it was found that as blood glucose levels increased, perceived age increased.[5]

In researching the role of nutrition, researchers have focused on different avenues of study. Population studies, human interventional studies (both long-term and short-term), animal studies, and laboratory studies have all been used to investigate the role of dietary patterns, foods, nutrients, and/or dietary compounds. Population research now focuses on the study of dietary patterns,[6] due to the complexity of long-term dietary effects. Human interventional studies have detailed both the beneficial and harmful effects of specific foods, nutrients, or compounds. Animal and laboratory studies have provided data on the biochemical and histologic effects of dietary compounds. Taken together, this body of research supports a strong, complex relationship between diet and skin aging. Importantly, this research identifies a number of areas where dietary modification may promote an improvement in the parameters of skin aging.