Here’s a beautiful reason to stop by the supermarket today: Some foods have powerhouse ingredients that would 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. Thinking of 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 destroy cells and break down collagen. 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.
In a food processor or blender, mix 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.
Pumpkin’s orange hue comes from carotenoids, wrinkle-fighting plant pigments that help neutralize free radicals in the skin, protecting them from damaging the cells that fast-forward aging. “Pumpkins are filled with vitamins C, E, and A, as well as powerful enzymes that help to cleanse the skin,” explains dermatologist Kenneth Beer, author of Palm Beach Perfect Skin. Plus, pumpkins have hydrating properties, Ionescu adds. Although the seeds make a great fiber-filled snack, you get the skin-saving antioxidants from the pulp.
3. Eat it or smooth it on
In a food processor or blender, mix 2 cups canned pumpkin, 4 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt, 4 tablespoons honey, and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Coat face, leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse. “It’s good for hydrating and softening skin,” Ionescu says.
Make a sweeter pudding by adding these ingredients to the recipe above: 2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.