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The Nutrients Your Skin Needs Now

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What you eat is just as important to a smooth, flawless complexion as your arsenal of lotions and potions. Here, seven essential nutrients that help your skin.

Problem-Skin Fixes

News flash: You really are what you eat, especially when it comes to your face, hands, elbows, and everything in between -- recent research from Australia found a direct link between diet and complexion. After studying the dietary habits of more than 400 elderly people, scientists concluded that those who ate more vegetables, fish, and olive oil over the years had fewer wrinkles than those who had a high intake of red meat, butter, and dairy. Here's what to eat to meet your skin's specific needs -- plus nutrient-rich products docs say will offer visible results.

Your Skin Needs: Hydration

Eat: Essential fatty acids (EFAs), found in foods like salmon, vegetable oils, walnuts, and flaxseed.

Think back to Bio 101: Every cell in your body has an outer membrane that serves as a gatekeeper, allowing nutrients into the cell and letting waste out. This membrane is made up of lipids, or fats, so it stands to reason that to keep our skin functioning optimally, "we have to consume adequate amounts of essential fatty acids to form healthy cells," explains Ellie Krieger, RD, host of the Food Network's Healthy Appetite. Plus, EFAs can help shield the skin from UV damage. A study published in the Lancet Oncology showed that high intakes of EFA-laden extra virgin olive oil may help prevent against some cancers, including skin cancer. But that doesn't mean you should skip SPF!

Aim For: 12 grams of omega-6 a day (an ounce of walnuts) and 1.1 grams of omega-3 (a serving of salmon).

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