If you’re scrutinizing over your dull, dry winter skin and fine lines

and wrinkles, you’re not alone. According to a recent national survey by

Allergan, Inc., approximately 60 percent of women 21- to 65-years-old

said they would rather have a younger-looking face than a

younger-looking body.

Yet experts say it’s time to forget the expensive creams and procedures.

The key to aging gracefully is simple: Eat healthy.

Here, find out which foods to avoid and which to add to your plate for

beautiful, younger- looking skin..

Amino acids

Another cause of wrinkles is the weakening of collagen and elastin in the

skin that happens as we age. Amino acids found in protein sources can help

rebuild and repair damage. Meat, fish, eggs, tofu, some grains, nuts, and

seeds are all excellent sources.

Phytoceramides

“As we age, the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) thins and weakens,

making it susceptible to dehydration and wrinkling,” Simpson said.

What’s more, production of ceramides— molecules that keep the skin firm

—starts to slow down. Phytoceramides, plant-based ceramides found in wheat

germ, brown rice, spinach and beets, can help to protect the skin’s outer layer.

Cut out inflammatory foods

“Foods that create inflammation are pro-aging,” said Dr. Frank Lipman, an

integrative and functional medicine physician and author of “The New

Health Rules.” Nix processed, packaged and fast foods, as well as gluten,

dairy and sugar.

“Eating too much sugar will make you more prone to wrinkles and make you

age quicker,” he said.

Omega fatty acids

Keeping your skin well-hydrated from the inside out is one of the best

ways to prevent dry skin and wrinkles. Omega fatty acids -3, -6, and -9

found in healthy fats and oils are vital because they become part of the

skin cell walls.

“If the skin cell walls are plump and healthy, the skin will look more

hydrated and dewy as well,” said Paula Simpson, a nutricosmetics

formulation expert and beauty nutritionist.

Salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado

are all great choices.

Leafy green vegetables

Broccoli, kale, spinach and mustard greens will keep your skin hydrated

and healthy. Green juices are also an easy way to help absorb the

nutrients more quickly.

“It’s like a liquid multi-vitamin full of antioxidants,” Lipman said. Be

sure to limit the added sugar and fruits with a high glycemic load.

Fermented foods

Probiotics regulate digestion and put the good bacteria back in the gut,

which can also help skin look healthy, Lipman said. Sauerkraut, kimchi,

kefir, and fermented vegetables are all probiotic-rich.

Potassium-rich foods

If you have dark circles under your eyes, it’s probably genetic but they

can also be caused by water retention or sodium-rich foods. Many fruits

and vegetables, as well as potatoes, nuts, beans, legumes, meat, poultry

and fish are potassium-rich and can offset the sodium. Plus, cutting down

on your salt intake is a wise choice for your skin and your overall

health.

Rooibos tea

High in polyphenols that help protect the skin from premature aging,

rooibos tea hydrates the skin and is an alternative to coffee, which can

dehydrate your skin.

Antioxidants

Too much time out in the sun is a leading cause of aging.  The sun creates

free radicals that can permanently kill off healthy skin cells. Yet the

sun is not the only culprit— an unhealthy diet can do the same. Load up on

a variety of brightly colored, antioxidant-rich foods that contain

carotenoids like tomatoes, carrots, kale and pumpkin that can protect the

skin and reverse some of the damage.