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8 Foods That Help Smooth Wrinkles, Doctors Say

You can make your skin look and feel younger by eating right.

When it comes to skincare, we largely think about products and serums that are applied on the surface, helping to brighten and improve our complexions. But there's a lot we can do internally that can also address skin concerns, and that includes what we eat. Yes, according to doctors, some foods can actually help smooth wrinkles.

"Certain foods—especially whole, plant-based foods—are rich in skin-supporting vitamins and antioxidants," Patricia Pinto-Garcia, MD, MPH, senior medical editor at GoodRx, tells Best Life. "Eating them can help improve the skin's elasticity, which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles."

While there aren't any foods that will magically erase wrinkles or other signs of aging, you can certainly use your diet as a line of defense to minimize their appearance. Read on to discover eight foods that you should up your intake of if you're looking for a wrinkle remedy.

RELATED: 104-Year-Old Woman Reveals Her Anti-Aging Skincare Routine.

Red bell peppers

Red Bell Peppers Anti-Aging Foods

First up on Pinto-Garcia's list of foods that can ease the appearance of wrinkles are red bell peppers.

"These are high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that encourages collagen production, and capsanthin, which helps protect against sun damage," she explains. "Both of these ingredients help keep the skin looking tight, hydrated, and youthful."

RELATED: I'm a Dermatologist and Here's My 5-Step Skincare Routine to Look Younger.


slices of watermelon

According to Lori Aliksanian, MD, CWSP, owner of MedBeautyLA, other bright red fruits and veggies like watermelon and papayas are great sources of lycopene. This organic pigment is a type of antioxidant that also gives food a vivid red hue.

The antioxidant "considerably improved" visual appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and firmness, among other features, in a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology last year. Participants took Lycomato capsules, which are derived from another red fruit: tomatoes.

Another study that reviewed existing research also concluded that "lycopene-rich foods are found to prevent or attenuate aging disorders," specifically helping with wrinkles by increasing collagen health in the skin.


Broccoli is another veggie worth introducing into more meals. According to Robert W.B. Love, PhD, a neuroscientist specializing in Alzheimer's disease prevention, broccoli is great for your skin because—like red peppers—it's rich in vitamin C.

"Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen," Love shares in a May 2023 TikTok video. "As we age, our skin can begin to sag, and collagen is a protein in skin that gives it elasticity and bounce, and can help with sagging skin and help reduce wrinkles."

RELATED: 80-Year-Old Grandma Reveals the Anti-Aging Supplements That Keep Her Wrinkle-Free.


Person eating almond nuts from the palm of their hand

Not a huge fan of vegetables? Fear not: Almonds are also integral in reducing wrinkles, as well as dark spots.

"Almonds are a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, both of which are important for healthy skin," Pinto-Garcia says.

In a Feb. 2021 study published in Nutrients, researchers looked at almonds' effect on postmenopausal women, finding that those who ate the nuts as a snack had a statistically significant reduction in wrinkle severity. After 16 weeks, these women had a 15 percent reduction, and at 24 weeks, they had a 16 percent reduction.


carrots health myths

We're taught that carrots are good for keeping your vision sharp, but what you may not realize is that they're also a great way to combat wrinkles.

"Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A. People may recognize vitamin A as one of the primary ingredients in their topical retinoids, because it helps reduce wrinkles and smooth the skin," Pinto-Garcia says.

RELATED: 8 Skincare Ingredients That Help Hide Your Wrinkles, Experts Say.

Dark chocolate

While fruits and veggies are vital for your diet, life is all about balance—and according to medical professionals, certain sweets can enhance your skin's appearance as well.

"Eat dark chocolate," Anthony Youn, MD, holistic plastic surgeon, recommends in a Nov. 2023 TikTok video. "Dark chocolate is filled with polyphenols and antioxidants, and is great for your skin."

However, you'll want to make sure that the chocolate you pick up is at least 70 to 80 percent cacao, Youn says.

"Anything less than that will likely contain too much sugar for it to be good for you," he explains.

Multiple studies have looked at dark chocolate's anti-aging effects, with one study finding that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols "improved skin wrinkles and elasticity in human skin," with results showing up in just 12 weeks.

Wild-caught salmon

Salmon fillets with spices

Salmon can also have wrinkle-smoothing effects, according to Love.

"This is my personal favorite, not only because it's delicious, but it is also terrific for your brain," he shares in the May 2023 video.

Love notes that moist skin generally has fewer wrinkles, and wild-caught salmon can boost moisture levels. In addition, he points to research that suggests people who eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild-caught salmon, "have a more youthful appearance."

Wild-caught salmon is great for your health in general, though Love stresses that the wild-caught variety is key here. Farm-raised salmon can contain sea lice and isn't as healthy for you, he cautions.

"The omega-3 fatty acids in wild-caught salmon is terrific for your brain, and research from Dr. David Smith at Oxford shows that those who either eat a lot of healthy, fatty fish like salmon—or take a fish oil supplement or B-complex supplement—have a 30 percent reduction in the risk of Alzheimer's disease. So that's really great," Love says.

Aliksanian also points out that these fatty fishes are great natural sources of retinol (preformed vitamin A).

"Yes, you can get some of the benefits of retinol from food!" she tells Best Life, also highlighting dairy products like milk and full-fat cheeses, and egg yolks, as other natural sources.

RELATED: I'm 59 and Have No Wrinkles—Here Are My Top 5 Skincare Tips.

Collagen proteins

cup of colalgen proteins
Maya Gavrilyuk / iStock

While it's more of a supplement, Love also recommends introducing collagen proteins to your diet.

"Why is eating collagen so good? Research shows that women who take a collage protein supplement have stronger bones, stronger muscles, and have fewer wrinkles on their face," he says.

Love adds, "Not only is collagen great for your skin, but [it is] also good for your bone density, and good for muscle strength as well."

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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