Here’s a beautiful reason to stop by the supermarket today: Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of Ageless Face, Ageless Mind. Wondering what to eat and what to smooth on? These skin-saving foods help both ways.
Strawberries have more anti-aging vitamin C per serving than oranges or grapefruit. And research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin than those who don’t.
Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and break down collagen, leading to fine lines. For smoother, better-hydrated skin, apply a natural berry mask once or twice a week, and eat vitamin C–rich foods daily, says Ramona Ionescu, primary aesthetician at New York City’s Cornelia Day Resort.
Sip it or smooth it on
In a food processor or blender, combine 1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (or a mix of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries—they’re all antioxidant stars). Stir together blended berries, 1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt, and 1 1/2 tablespoons honey (a great moisturizer) in an 8-ounce glass. Enjoy smoothie, setting aside enough to coat your face.
Apply remaining smoothie to your face over a sink (it’s a little drippy at first, but a smooth layer will stay put), and leave it on for about 8 minutes before rinsing off.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil don’t just benefit you on the inside—they soften your skin, too. “Ancient Romans massaged olive oil into their skin,” Dr. Perricone says. “When used topically, olive oil results in smoother, more radiant skin.” Plus, consuming olive oil, a staple in the healthy Mediterranean diet, provides antioxidants to disarm free radicals and reduce inflammation. In addition to working olive oil into your daily diet, apply as a lip gloss and skin soother, as needed. If you have dry skin, you’ll particularly benefit from topical application.
Eat it or wear it
At dinner, drizzle a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into a small bowl, and dip whole-grain bread in it to improve your skin from the inside out.
Dab a pea-size amount of extra-virgin olive oil on lips to hydrate a parched pucker; or use it on rough patches (think elbows and heels), as needed.
Curling up to a cup of green tea does a lot more than relax you. Green tea is filled with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, Dr. Perricone says. What’s more, research from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. And when you add a generous squeeze of citrus juice, the tea’s antioxidants get a boost of staying power, so they remain in and benefit the body longer, rather than being digested quickly and having much of the goodness go down the drain, according to Purdue University researchers.