It’s no question that eating fruits — especially a minimum of two servings a day — is essential for a balanced, healthy diet. However, in addition to this, fruits are immensely beneficial for your skin. From antioxidants to vitamins A and C, there are an abundant amount of nutrients in fruits that help promote healthy skin.
Sure, a detailed skin-care routine can be helpful in creating a clearer complexion, but regardless of the type of skin you have, a diet including fruits will help our body’s largest organ thrive. Additionally, eating fruit is generally beneficial for your overall health! To dig deeper into this topic, we spoke with board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, and Kristen Fleming, RD, about which fruits are the most beneficial for your skin, which nutrients keep the skin hydrated, and which fruits can help you achieve that natural facial glow.
Although watermelon is the juiciest and freshest fruit to eat during the summer, the good news is that it has skin benefits that last all year-round. “Water-dense fruits, like watermelon, are great sources of hydration, which is key in keeping skin healthy and youthful looking,” Dr. Engelman said.
Watermelons are made up of 93 percent water and are rich in malic acid, which helps remove dead skin cells from the upper layers of skin. Thanks to malic acid’s benefits, your skin is likely to have a smoother complexion.
Whether it’s strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries, berries in general are good for the skin because they contain antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin A. “Vitamin C is an antioxidant and plays a role in collagen formation, while vitamin A is used to treat acne and prevent fine lines and wrinkles,” Fleming explained. “Both vitamins A and C are also used to improve hyperpigmentation.” Don’t restrict yourself to just the usual blue- and blackberries — mulberries, raspberries, and cranberries are all good for the skin, too.
Think coconuts are just reserved for your island getaway and endless piña coladas? Think again. “Fattier fruits like coconut are also great for your skin,” Dr. Engelman explained. “In addition to providing hydration, coconut is high in lauric acid, which helps kill the bacteria that cause acne.” Besides raw coconut, coconut oil contains linoleic acid (vitamin F), which helps skin retain moisture.
Besides being filling and energizing, bananas contain phenolics and antimicrobials, which help treat acne lesions. According to Fleming, phenolics are compounds that offer protection against enzymes that cause the breakdown of collagen and elastin in skin. Phenolics are commonly found within banana peels and are also frequently used to treat burns or skin inflammations.
Papayas are not just favored because of their sweet taste and tropical vibes. “Papaya contains enzymes called papain and chymopapain, which help reduce inflammation. They can also help defend against skin damage, prevent premature aging, and improve elasticity due to its high amount of antioxidants,” Dr. Engelman explained.
There’s a reason everyone loves avocado toast, and your skin will thank you for it, too. “Fattier fruits like avocado supports collagen and elastin structures within your skin. This helps keep you looking younger for longer,” Dr. Engleman said. She also noted that avocados are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats like oleic acid and are packed with compounds that may protect your skin from sun damage.
Though a less popular fruit, plums have skin benefits that should not be overlooked. According to Fleming, plums have antioxidants that neutralize free radicals to help fight aging and environmental damage. The high amount of antioxidants also provides protection against harmful UV sun rays and shields the skin from sun damage.
According to Dr. Engelman, there are multiple benefits of eating pomegranates, as they have antioxidants such as vitamin C, which reduces cellular damage in the body and decreases inflammation of the skin. “Pomegranate contains natural antimicrobials from vitamin C that combat the growth of fungus and bacteria in the skin, which can help prevent acne breakouts. It is also known to increase blood flow in the body, giving your skin a naturally radiant glow,” she said.
Mangoes have properties that are key for the skin. “Mangoes are a rich source of beta carotene and a precursor to vitamin A, which has benefits for aging and acne-prone skin,” Fleming explained.
Grapefruits are one of the many citrus fruits that are great for the skin. A preferred breakfast item for many, grapefruit has antiaging benefits due to its high levels of vitamin C. Fleming also noted that grapefruit promotes collagen production and helps skin stay bright.
Similar to grapefruit, oranges also support collagen production. Dr. Engelman explained that oranges have a special ability to even out the tone and texture of one’s complexion. Consuming whole oranges is helpful, as it makes the skin firmer and minimizes signs of aging.
12. Grape Seed
The small, crunchy seeds in both red and green grapes are a great way to help your skin. “Consuming grape seed can help you go the extra mile to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Packed with vitamin C and other essential antioxidants, grape seeds can benefit the skin by defending against harmful UV radiation that can eventually cause deep wrinkles and sun spots,” Dr. Engelman said.
Both Dr. Engelman and Fleming agreed that while there are a number of vitamins and nutrients in fruits that help keep skin beautiful, hydrated, and youthful, these nutrients are also essential for maintaining your health. See which fruits you like, and consider incorporating them into your daily diet! Your body and skin will thank you for it.