Background: Nutritional factors play a key role in normal dermatologic functioning. However, little is known about the effects of diet on skin-aging appearance.
Objective: We evaluated the associations between nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance.
Design: Using data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we examined associations between nutrient intakes and skin aging in 4025 women (40–74 y). Nutrients were estimated from a 24-h recall. Clinical examinations of the skin were conducted by dermatologists. Skin-aging appearance was defined as having a wrinkled appearance, senile dryness, and skin atrophy.
Results: Higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance [odds ratio (OR) 0.89; 95% CI: 0.82, 0.96] and senile dryness (OR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.87, 0.99). Higher linoleic acid intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of senile dryness (OR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.64, 0.88) and skin atrophy (OR: 0.78; 95% CI 0.65, 0.95). A 17-g increase in fat and a 50-g increase in carbohydrate intakes increased the likelihood of a wrinkled appearance (OR: 1.28 and 1.36, respectively) and skin atrophy (OR: 1.37 and 1.33, respectively). These associations were independent of age, race, education, sunlight exposure, income, menopausal status, body mass index, supplement use, physical activity, and energy intake.
Conclusions: Higher intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid and lower intakes of fats and carbohydrates are associated with better skin-aging appearance. Promoting healthy dietary behaviors may have additional benefit for skin appearance in addition to other health outcomes in the population.