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


Antioxidants (AOs) are a key feature of the body's defense against free radicals. They may act to neutralize ROS or may upregulate genes encoding for enzymes that neutralize ROS. The cutaneous impact of dietary AOs has been demonstrated in multiple studies. Several animal studies, for example, have documented that oral AOs including vitamin C,[24] vitamin E,[24] beta-carotene,[25] selenium,[26] and others play important roles in skin photoprotection.[27]

Human interventional studies have documented these benefits as well. In one randomized controlled trial, daily tomato paste ingestion for 10 weeks resulted in improved minimal erythema doses,[28] while another study documented histologic improvement.[29] Other human intervention studies have reported benefits from dietary AOs including green tea polyphenols, cocoa flavanols, pomegranate, and others.[30] As detailed in an extensive review, the documented clinical, histologic, and biochemical benefits of dietary AOs have included reductions in erythema, DNA damage, markers of inflammation, extracellular matrix damage, and others.[30]

While single nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) may serve as AOs, a key point is that one food may provide multiple AOs. One research study evaluated the total AO capacity of over 3100 foods and found that the categories of "spices and herbs" and "herbal/traditional plant medicine" contained the most AO-rich products analyzed in the study.[31] Berries, fruits, and vegetables also included many common foods and beverages with medium-to-high AO values.[31]

While dietary AOs may be beneficial, high-dose AO supplements have not shown benefit. In fact, some have demonstrated harm, as outlined in a later section.