A New Wrinkle On Wrinkles
Can you eat your way to wrinkle-free skin?
New research suggests that a healthier diet may have
a complexion connection.
But experts aren't taking the idea at face value. To
avoid wrinkles, they say, the main thing to leave
off your menu is sunlight.
The intriguing findings come from a study by
researchers at Monash University in Melbourne,
Australia. They found less wrinkling among people
Ate lots of vegetables, monounsaturated fat such
as olive oil, and legumes such as peas or beans
Cut back on whole-milk products, butter, margarine
That was the case even when scientists accounted for
sun exposure and smoking - both linked with higher
This is an important new concept that the food we
eat, and the beverage we drink, can play a
significant role in skin health- and with it aspects
The study from the International Union of
Nutritional Sciences questioned nearly 500 elderly
Caucasians in Greece. Australia and Sweden about
What could explain less wrinkling among those who
ate lots of fruits and vegetables? It may be the
high content of antioxidant vitamins like C and E
and phytochemicals found in those foods, the
researchers wrote. Still, they caution that more
research is needed-and other experts agree.
There's a lot to be said for fruits and vegetables
with antioxidants that prevent free radicals
(unstable compounds in the environment) from
breaking down tissues. But just because one study says certain
foods may affect wrinkling "doesn't mean that it's
With a grain of salt?
A Monash University study found that people who ate
certain foods had more wrinkles. With that as-yet-
unproven advice in mind, here’s is a look at the
alleged good guys and bad guys in tile wrinkle war:
Full-fat milk and products
Red meat (especially processed meat)
Soft drinks, cordials
Vitamin C (above the recommended dietary intake
Legumes (especially lima beans and broad or fava
Green leafy vegetables and spinach
Onions and leeks
Dried fruits, prunes
Apples and pears
There are a lot of variables, says a New York dermatologist, researcher
and author who has studied the effect that diet and
nutrients may have on wrinkling and skin cancer.
Those variables include genetics, smoking, and true
sun exposure, particularly during childhood and
adolescence. Studies have shown that people get 80
percent of their sun exposure before they turn 20.
The sun gives off two troublesome kinds of
ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB.
Experts believe UVA causes more wrinkles and UVB
causes cancer. The sun's effects differ across the
globe. For instance, pollution helps filter the
sun's rays-and since Australia has less pollution,
the sun is more damaging down under.
The Monash study is interesting, but it doesn't
prove anything, says James Spencer, M.D., vice
chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Mount
Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "The sun
causes wrinkles, period, end of discussion," he
says. "The question is are there other variables
that make you more or less susceptible to the sun?"
For years, people thought fat intake might affect
your risk of UV-induced skin cancer. "It's not that
your diet causes or doesn't cause skin cancer. It's
that your diet might change your susceptibility to
the sun, "he adds.
But, says Spencer, you can't take back the sun
exposure you've already had. He suggests a better
way to prevent wrinkles:
"Wear your sunscreen and don't go to the beach or
the tanning parior - then it doesn't matter what you
eat." At least not for your skin.