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Can a Vegan Diet Improve Your Skin?

Clear Skin© Bliznetsov

The following post is by PETA celebrity marketing coordinator Lauren Gordon.

Vegans and vegetarians tend to eat more fruits and vegetables than their carnivorous counterparts—which is great news for their skin! Plant-based diets are typically low in fat and avoid the pore-clogging saturated fats found in animal products. Fruits and vegetables are high in essential vitamins and antioxidants, which are the building blocks for radiant skin. Plus, the fiber from produce and whole grains crank up that healthy glow by flushing out toxins.

Vitamins C and E, commonly found in healthy vegan meals, are powerful antioxidants that neutralize skin-damaging free radicals and help fight wrinkles and brown spots, promoting an overall youthful appearance. Nuts and seeds are prime sources for vitamin E, and one can reap the rewards by munching on walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and ground flax seeds. Peanut butter is an easy way to pack a one-two nutritional punch of vitamin E and protein. And if you’re looking for a sweeter way to enjoy some antioxidants, have a handful of berries.

According to a recent article in Health magazine, the zinc found in beans combats zits and decreases inflammation, preventing redness and pimples. Vegan protein sources (like beans, nuts, and tofu) are championed, since dairy products are often a contributing factor to acne. Healthy unsaturated fats (definitely not the saturated kind found in meat) found in avocados and olive oil provide fatty acids that keep skin hydrated and cell membranes strong and supple. Try cooking your veggies in a small amount of olive oil or make a salad dressing using olive oil, flax oil, or another unsaturated oil.

Ramping up one’s intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans—while passing on the dairy products and meat—is a recipe for clear and radiant skin that glows from the inside out.

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  • elle says:

    I have been a vegan for a little over three weeks and my father and boyfriend could not believe the change in my skin. It’s absolutely luminous and smoother then when I was even a child I have never seen results like this from anything else I’ve ever tried. I only wash my face with cold water and the rest is my diet! I cannot urge you enough to give this a try and I also have not once craved ANY animal food products whatsoever. Meats cheeses fish etc… it’s like I was never meant to eat these things anyway. If you have bad skin, listen to me and give this a chance!

  • lolwut says:

    fats mixed with proteins are good for your brain and body though. fats by themselves (like plant based cooking oils) are the bad fats. gotta sort the good from the bad, and moderation of course

  • Princess says:

    Hey evry1. Im s0 glad 2 hve f0und dis site. Im frm S0uth Africa n its realy hard 4 vegetarians here c0s de is n0 m0tivati0n n even w0rse bc0s my family is pure Zulu. Im 0nly 18 n i cnt reali get all d fruit n veges i want (m0ney matters). I dcdd 2 g0 vegan afta speakn 2 a c0usin of mine currently living in NY, He’s a pers0nal trainer n he luks s0 gud. He’s d0wn here 4 d h0lidays n he luks way beta dan d females here. Tnk u s0 much 4 d inf0. Im n0t giving up. Vegan 4 lyf. Stay blessed.

  • LOGAN says:

    @Pearl… I had acne all through my teens. I went to a Dr and he said that the main reason why I had it was because I was washing my face too much. Everytime you wash your face you remove oil. In a sense that is a good thing, but if you do it too much then your skin freaks out and starts to produce more oil. Wash your face only twice a day. I have been a vegetarian for about 3 months now and I feel great and my skin looks great too. I agree that foods don’t play a HUGE part in why your skin isn’t healthy but it does a little bit. If you’re healthy on the inside then you will look healthy on the outside. JUST SAYIN’!

  • r says:

    @pearl did u have acne before? If you did maybe your consumption of food is not the problem. acne goes beyond food you eat. i would def see a good dermatologist, maybe your skin cleansing routine is inappropriate as well. do you clean your skin each morning and night with a cleanser without soap (spectrogel, cetaphil) and moisturize right after with a perfume-free sensitive skin friendly moisturizer? Don’t spend precious dimes on high end products like dior or spa products, what you find at the drug store is more pure and appropriate for the skin.

  • Leah says:

    @ donna
    you should totally get Alecia Silverstone’s book called “The Kind Diet”
    this is the best book ever for starters! It’s simple and highly informative. It also explains how to go vegan for when you’re ready 🙂
    Hope this helps 🙂

  • veggie burger says:

    Hello everybody,i was a vegetarain for 6 months and now a new vegan,i have pimples on my face and neck for already a month.I wonder if its because im taking wheatgrass everymorning??
    But since i became a vegatarian i feel happier and now becoming a vegan even more happier than ever!!
    love you all!

  • Lisa says:

    I became a vegan just a little over 3 weeks ago. I didn’t know that this was a benefit of a vegan diet. My husband has already told me how pretty my skin looks and has also said that I my eyes sparkle. Another great benefit! 🙂

  • Tina Max says:

    I am in my mid sixties and people guess me to be in my mid-forties. I always attribute this to my vegan diet, hint, hint. It sometimes does the trick of conversion. We are walking, talking representatives to a cruel-free diet so we must look the part.

  • Bre says:

    PEARL – Congrats on being vegan for 4 years! That is great! Do you consume a lot of sugary foods? Maybe even too much fruit? I know the cause of my acne was the fact that I was consuming waay too much sugar and my body was detoxifying it out through my skin!! It took me years to find out that I was inflammed!! Yikes. I started taking anti-inflammatory herbs and spices (in the form of capsules/tablets or teas) to combat the inflammation and TA DA! My acne went away like magic. I take the pills either before or right after I eat anything with sugar, grains or fruit. I take curcumin, allicidin(garlic) and BELL Master Herbalist in #60. Hope this helps! I know it changed my life!

  • Jennifer says:

    Hey Pearl….about your skin not being great? It could possibly be that you have an absorption issue in your gut, meaning that even though the food you eat is all good, your body isn’t able to benefit from the nutrients properly. Can I suggest you see a naturopath with a nutritional background & possibly a good Beauty Therapist to help with the transition through a possible detox? Don’t give up…..there could be a really easy solution. 🙂

  • Ashley-P says:

    Hey Donna! Check out our recipes database here:

  • Ani says:

    Wow. This is amazing girls! I would like to be vegan now!

  • Pearl says:

    I’ve been a vegan for about 4 years now, a vegetarian off and on before that, but my skin still is not clear. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. =( Any suggestions?

  • Danielle says:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for a while now, and to read this article makes me feel great… its true my skin does look smooth and glow

  • donna says:

    i would love to try the vegetarian ways of eating but i wouldnt know where to start, any help?

  • chander kumar soni says:

    be veg,
    be beautiful.

  • Vegetariosaurus Rex says:

    Hello Peta,
    I am vegan since some years now, and I have to say that the difference is noticable^^
    Well, I am out of the teenage years now, but I see the difference betwenn vegan and carnivore friends, and there is much more than the skin that changes!

    But of course, vegans have great skin 😉 well, maybe because we substitued the fatty-salmonelly-bloody steaks with proteiny-vitaminy-yummy bean broducts. thanks to this new diet we eat automtically less “bad” fats, salts and toxins, what makes our cardio vascular system stronger, our cheeks rosy and our skin younger 🙂 But that is just the beginning! As vegetarians or vegans we have to be more carefull on what we eat, so we avoid sweets and eat delicious vegetable proteines instead, what improves our weight and our hair and skin! Our body has more muscles, what makes that we look very younger, our hair ist stronger and shiny and our skin is radiant, what makes us look simply gorgeous and naturally beautiful, and by the way, did you know that a healthy diet makes your eyes sparkle? Just look in the mirror 😉

    Well, and the best of all… My friends often complain about their weight : if they eat, they become fat, if they don´t, they become thin but their breasts disapear…

    I didn´t even know that problem! ^^ And my vegan friends neither!
    of course, as curious as I am I asked my friend out (thank you Angie <3) who works in medecine and is vegetarian, she said to me that this is one of the bigest problems about weight : the boobies.
    Woman want to be thin and sportive, but are afraid of loosing their natural curves. people who eat a lot of vegetal proteines don´t know this problem : vegetal proteines make that muscles in your bady develop and become stronger, but also, this proteines have a similar structure to estrogen, the feminine sex hormon, so not only your breasts won´t loose volume (thei cane becme even a little fuller 😉 but thei will also stay at place even when you will become older.

    Ok girls... give me one reason not to become vegan 😀

  • Carol says:

    It also really helps to balance your hormones and reduce PMS/menopause symptoms.

  • gigimomma says:

    There really is something to this. I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 months and my skin is amazing! I had no idea that it would affect me in that way but it certainly did. My skin is perfectly clear(like porcelain my guy calls it) and it seems to glow. I am loving my new complexion and also the weight I am losing!

  • angie says:

    I think there’s something to this. I was vegan for 3 weeks, and my skin looked better than ever (I was drinking a lot of green tea too). I went off the diet (and the tea), and now my skin is all crummy again.

    Don’t worry, I’m hopping back on the vegan wagon again. I loved how it made me feel!

  • jenell fon says:

    awesome infor!!!!