Skin tightening foods do exactly what you would expect: they help your skin appear tighter, and they do this by promoting the production of collagen in the body.
Collagen is the magic glue that gives your skin its elasticity, and while it’s necessary to have in your skin, it does begin to diminish with age. Collagen cells divide and don’t always reproduce the way that they’re supposed to.
These skin tightening foods will help you achieve a tighter, healthier-looking skin by implementing them into your diet.
Keep in mind none of these effects are immediate nor permanent; you have to continually promote collagen production to keep your skin looking sleek.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the skin tightening foods, we got you covered:
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#1 Oranges, Lemons, and Limes
These all feel similar enough when you consume them, right?
We thought so. The thing about your collagen is that it needs certain minerals and nutrients to stimulate production. It’s not just a one-and-done kind of thing, otherwise this would be a very short and simple list.
Vitamin C is hyper present in oranges, lemons, and limes, and that’s the key ingredient we’re looking for here. Sure, you could use a powdered supplement to incorporate more vitamin C into your body, but it’s not exactly the same as ingesting it naturally.
You have to keep in mind that your body does not naturally produce vitamin C on its own: you have to constantly grab it from food sources.
While we’re on the subject, you should be doing this anyway to support a healthy immune system every single day, so you know, two birds one stone.
#2 Grains and Nuts
Nuts have protein, grains have plenty of fiber, but those aren’t what we’re looking for. Even though it’s what everyone thinks about first when you mention those foods, we actually want to find zinc, and lots of it.
Zinc is important because it helps produce elastin, which as you guessed it, has to do with elasticity.
It’s a component of collagen, and definitely important to produce for your body. But just like ingesting vitamin C, we have a back door benefit here that everyone can benefit from (and this one is skin related).
When you ingest zinc, your body is able to process it in a way that helps protect your skin from harmful UV rays. The more zinc you consume, the safer your skin will naturally be from the sun.
That means that simple 10-30 minute spans spent in the sun won’t be as damaging to your skin, and hey, it’s never a bad thing to have extra protection under your layer of SPF 50 sunblock, right?
#3 Plenty of Sweet Potatoes
I know this is something that people tend to only have around Thanksgiving and rarely any other time, but it’s time to incorporate it into your diet at least once a week.
Sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, which help protect your skin from sun damage. Yeah, eating sweet potatoes is like an invisible layer of sunscreen.
Beta carotene also helps with your skin’s collagen production, but one of the major benefits here is vitamin A, which helps restore damaged collagen.
Unfortunately, sweet potatoes aren’t super high in vitamin A (they’re richer than most vegetables, though), so you will have to have a healthy serving size to really reap the rewards. Spoiler alert: topping it with brown sugar and marshmallow every time will not help you out.
#4 Garlic (and More Garlic)
Do you know what makes up collagen?
Some of the components that create it are lipoic acid and taurine, which—as you may have guessed it – are present in garlic. Garlic is either a love or hate kind of food, and we understand that, but its benefits stretch far beyond collagen production.
Garlic contains vitamin C, which we know is good for your skin and immune system, but it also contains B6, manganese, and selenium. You’ll commonly see selenium referred to in a lot of articles surrounding skin elasticity.
Last but not least, allicin, which is an antioxidant variety, is what helps your heart and prevents the growth and spread of cancer in the body. Garlic is basically a superfood that helps your entire body all at once.
Ever heard of carotenoids?
That’s what tomatoes are chock full of, and they’re labeled as one of the best beauty foods out there because it. Namely, lycopene: a red carotenoid that helps your body in a variety of ways.
While this isn’t going to directly help your body produce collagen or revamp its production cycle, it will help so that your body doesn’t use quite so much of it through an indirect method.
Inflammation is a necessary trigger in the body, but it can have negative side effects. In fact, it appears as though most of the side effects are fairly negative.
Tomatoes help fight free radicals in the body, which cause inflammation in the skin. Inflammation can lead to acne, red bumps, inflamed skin, overly red or pink skin, and irritation. In short, inflammation sucks and you want as little as possible in your skin.
When your skin isn’t stretching over and over from the inflation and deflation of inflammation, you’re not exhausting the current collagen production. It helps keep things nice and calm.
Chicken is one of the leanest, meanest proteins out there. Minimal fat, easy enough to pair with anything, and hard to get sick of. Chicken contains a lot of connective tissue, and while I know that doesn’t sound appetizing, the benefits will.
Dietary collagen is collagen found in food that originated in that food, namely in sources of meat where there are connective tissue. You’re literally ingesting collagen, not just vitamins and minerals that help with the production and protection of collagen.
The thing is, there isn’t a lot of other vitamins in here that specifically help your skin apart from the collagen itself. That being said, ingesting this collagen has been said to help with arthritis pain and joint function, so there’s that.
#7 Bell Peppers (Red, Green, Yellow)
Different colored bell peppers have their own slightly unique properties, but they all share two main components that we’ve discussed earlier in this guide: vitamin C and zinc.
Vitamin C is good for your immune system and preserving collagen in the skin, while zinc is good for elastin in your skin. This will help your dermis layer, which will end up helping your epidermis as it grows out.
Just like with sweet potatoes, carrots are here to save the day. Beta carotene rears its head again as the primary reason for ingesting this root vegetable, and the benefits stretch just beyond that.
Carrots also contain vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, and even 5% of your daily intake of vitamin C which we talked about earlier.
You want another skin-related back door benefit?
Carrots contain almost your entire recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is pertinent in speeding up skin healing.
Vitamin A helps support the immune system and works directly to hydrate your skin, give it a beautiful glow, and maintain a healthy dermis and epidermis. Your skin naturally moisturizes itself, which helps bring nutrients to and from key areas in collagen production.
Remember when we were talking about zinc earlier with grains and nuts?
Oysters are also super high in zinc. This isn’t exactly something you can incorporate into your diet every single day (based on the average cost of oysters alone), but when you have the option to enjoy them, you’ll be happy to know they’re helping your skin.
With everything we’ve mentioned here on this list, it comes down to the primary skin-reactive vitamins and minerals that we get from these specific foods, and then we talk about the other benefits for your body. Well, oysters are a double-edged sword.
Oysters tend to have a lot of mercury in them, and while some of this comes out in the cleaning and cooking process, not all of it does. Have these semi-frequently, but to prevent over-ingestion of mercury, don’t put it on the menu every single week.
#10 Egg Whites
You can eat the yolk, too, if you want. However, egg whites are the best part of the egg for your skin.
Eggs have been one of the go-to foods for just about everyone because of how beneficial they are. They’re a staple in baking, breakfast, and recipes found all over the world, so there’s no short supply.
But if you can exclusively eat the egg whites, you’ll be getting a surge of proline and lysine: two amino acids – the building blocks of life – which help produce collagen in your skin. Of course, the addition of all that protein to your diet is also extremely beneficial.
Just about any berry you can get your hands on, but namely, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries will do well here. They’re cheap, accessible, and contain a plethora of vitamin C – which we’ve already learned is fantastic for your skin—as well as antioxidants.
When antioxidants enter your body, they stop oxidation.
That sounds simple enough, but that means it takes free radicals away from your skin, allowing your collagen to remain intact without being under assault. Free radicals are present in inflammation, and harm your body.
#12 Spinach (and Other Greens)
Eat your greens. If you want healthy, collagen-rich skin, eat your spinach, your broccoli, and kale.
Every green vegetable that you see (the darker the better, by the way) gets that green color from chlorophyll. On its own, chlorophyll is known for having antioxidant properties, but it might do more than that.
I say might because the jury isn’t out yet, but there are studies that point towards chlorophyll being able to produce precursor components to collagen.
The more of this you have in your system, in theory and as the result of light study, the better off your skin is going to be. Even if it doesn’t create collagen, the fantastic dietary benefits of these greens are excellent ulterior benefits to your body.
Add These to Your Diet Right Now
Physically, we heal from within. Your skin can do that same, and it starts with tightening collagen with the right diet additives.
Add these foods to your diet as soon as possible to begin reaping the rewards, seeing tighter skin, and prolonging sagging skin to a later period in your life.