The foods your skin loves

We consulted the skin doctors to find out what foods reduce breakouts and give you glowing skin. And the results might surprise you (ahem, chocolate).

It doesn’t matter what serums and cleansers you use, if you’re not putting the right foods into your body, your skin can really suffer (cue: pimples invading your face). We asked the experts to reveal the skin-loving foods that always make it into their shopping basket so you can munch your way to better skin.

The expert: Dr Adam Geyer, Kiehl’s consulting dermatologist

Drink coffee before working out

"As a distance runner, I spend some time outdoors and, though I’m good with sun protection, I often get more UV exposure than is healthy for my skin. Studies have shown that athletes who consume coffee before exercise actually have a decreased rate of skin cancer formation. And the extra pep in your step for the workout doesn’t hurt, either.”

Eat the rainbow

“I eat brightly coloured fruits and vegies in at least two meals per day, and supplement my diet with a daily multivitamin. Citrus fruits, such as grapefruits or oranges, are rich in vitamin C, while pomegranates and blueberries are chock full of polyphenol antioxidants.”


“Hydration is important. Very important. And by the time we start to recognise we’re thirsty and experience symptoms, such as chapped lips or dry mouth, our skin has long been showing signs of diminished water content. Hydration helps boost overall radiance and can even diminish fine lines.”

The expert: Suzie Hoitink, founder of Clear Complexions

Think hunter-gatherer

“I get asked all the time if what you eat makes any difference to your skin and the answer is most definitely! My advice: think hunter-gatherer. Our indigenous cultures had no acne before the Western diet was introduced. So what is it about our western diet that is so bad for our skin? Well, blame processed foods. They lack antioxidants and are full of sugars, preservatives and bad fats.”

Go low-GI

“I always recommend a low-GI diet. Some of the skin superfoods I love to eat are salmon, almonds, avocados, kiwi fruit and blueberries. These foods are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants including vitamins A, C, D and E.”

Scrap alcohol

“Sadly, alcohol is out. It prematurely ages your skin. Sugar is also out – except, interestingly, in the case of dark chocolate. Wrongly thought to aggravate acne, dark chocolate with at least 60 per cent cacao helps skin stay hydrated and protects it from sun damage.”

The expert: Emma Hobson, education manager for The International Dermal Institute

Choose *good* fats

“I mainly eat organic foods, especially chicken, eggs, fish, cheese and red meat. I don’t fear eating good fats such as nuts (almonds, brazil, walnuts) and oily fish like salmon. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy skin. I cook with a little coconut oil instead of olive oil and use vegetable oils mostly on fresh salads.”

Just add yoghurt

“I eat fruit, although I’m careful not to overindulge with fruits high in sugar content, such as grapes. I opt for red and purple fruits, like plums and blueberries which are high in vitamin C. I like to eat Greek yoghurt (healthy gut, healthy skin) with berries for breakfast.”

Up your protein

“Vitamins and minerals play a big role in maintaining healthy skin. They’re needed for hormone production, enzyme reactions and collagen formation, so eating plenty of fresh vegetables and protein is important. I try to eat raw or only blanch vegetables when cooked.”

The expert: Jocelyn Petroni, salon principal at The Facial Room

Milk is not your friend

“From what clients tell me, the most common foods that negatively affect their skin are milk and sugar. Milk can cause congestion in the skin that can come up on your face, and it, along with sugar, can also aggravate rosacea.”

A healthy breakfast

“Breakfast is where my skin gets its vital food: Udo’s Oil (from health food stores). I have dry skin, particularly in winter, and the best treatment is taking oil internally. I have two dessert spoons of Udo’s Oil over my muesli and sheep’s yoghurt topped with LSA (a ground linseed, soy and almond mix).”

Snack on this

“I snack on nuts or apple with ABC spread (almond, brazil and cashew nuts), as well as carrot sticks with hummus. Nuts are oily, which is also great for my dry skin. The best thing you can do is drink water, as it flushes out your skin. I drink two litres throughout the day, with a couple of teaspoons of added chlorophyll. It produces more alkaline in your body, which is better for your skin.”