Veganism is a lifestyle in which people choose not to consume animal products. It is gaining popularity due to the ethical, environmental and health benefits associated with it. However, the exclusion of animal products can affect the diet and therefore also the health of the skin. In this blog, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of veganism for the skin, explain which nutrients vegans may be missing and how this can affect skin health.
Benefits of veganism for the skin:
A vegetarian diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. These foods are generally high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which can be beneficial for skin health. Vegans often have higher intakes of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber and phytochemicals, which can help maintain healthy skin.
Some studies suggest that a well-planned and balanced vegan diet may be protective against chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which may also be beneficial for the skin.
Disadvantages of veganism for the skin:
A restrictive diet without meat can lead to a one-sided diet that lacks essential nutrients, which can negatively affect the skin.
Vitamin B12: is crucial for skin health. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to skin problems such as: dark spots on the skin (hyperpigmentation), cheilitis angularis (also called mouth corner eczema, want to know more mouth corner eczema), hair loss with itching and burning scalp, eczema and also vitiligo. Vegans are advised to take vitamin B12 supplements fortified with this vitamin. Keep in mind that too much vitamin B12 in the blood can cause acne. More on Vitamin B12, a cause of pustules
Omega-3 fatty acids: fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, are vital for healthy skin. These fatty acids are mainly found in fish and shellfish. It can lead to low fatty acids and making getting enough omega-3s a challenge, as plant sources such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts mainly contain ALA, a less efficient form of omega-3. The lack of EPA and DHA can affect the skin’s hydration, elasticity and inflammatory responses.
To get enough omega-3 fatty acids, non-fish eaters should take supplements containing algae-based EPA/DHA. It is also important to optimize the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. While plant sources such as flaxseed and chia seeds are valuable, it may be necessary to consider additional supplements to obtain adequate levels of EPA and DHA. This will contribute to proper hydration, elasticity and inflammatory responses of the skin.
Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to symptoms such as dry and damaged hair, hair loss and brittle nails. Iron deficiency can also lead to pale skin, itching and increased susceptibility to skin infections, such as impetigo, boils and candidiasis.
Iron is therefore essential for healthy skin, mucous membranes, hair and nails. While vegan diets are rich in iron, absorption can be a problem. Adding foods containing vitamin C to meals and/or supplements can aid absorption. Foods such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, fortified breakfast cereals, nuts and seeds are good plant sources of iron.
Zinc: deficiency can potentially be a problem for vegans. Zinc plays a vital role in many processes in the body, including skin health. It is involved in wound healing, collagen formation, regulating sebum production and maintaining healthy skin structure. A zinc level that is too low can lead to skin problems such as acne, eczema, and reduced skin healing. Vegans should ensure they include plenty of zinc-rich foods in their diet, such as nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains, or take a zinc supplement as needed to maintain optimal skin health.
Iodine: too low in iodine can be a potential problem for people who do not consume fish/seafood, dairy or eggs. It can lead to dry skin, flaking and hair loss. Adding seaweed (Nori, Wakame, Dulse) to your diet can solve this deficiency.
Proteins: are essential building blocks for the skin and play a crucial role in collagen production. Vegans need to make sure they consume enough protein, and can do this by using plant sources such as beans, lentils, tofu and tempeh. It is important to combine different vegetable protein sources so that all the essential amino acids necessary for healthy skin are obtained.
Research results suggest that a vegan diet may be lacking in some essential amino acids, such as lysine, methionine and tryptophan. Vegans may benefit from supplements such as taurine, an amino acid found primarily in animal products. The human body can produce taurine itself from cysteine and methionine with the help of vitamin B6, so vegans need not worry about the lack of taurine in their diet. Keep in mind that plant building blocks methionine and cysteine are found in high concentrations in animal proteins such as meat, organ meat and eggs. They are also present, albeit in much lower levels, in grains and legumes.
Getting enough protein from a variety of plant sources is critical to collagen production and maintaining healthy skin. By combining different protein sources, such as beans, lentils, tofu and tempeh, spirulina and seaweed, vegans can get all the essential amino acids needed for optimal skin health.
In other words
Veganism can have benefits for the skin, such as a high intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and reducing dairy consumption. However, a vegan diet can also lack certain essential nutrients needed by the body, which can negatively affect the skin and cause other health problems. Vegans may lack certain substances, such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc, iodine, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can be obtained through supplements or specific vegan food sources.
Remember that maintaining healthy skin depends not only on diet, but also on other factors such as adequate hydration, regular exercise and avoidance of harmful environmental influences. A holistic approach to skin care, combined with a balanced diet, will help maintain radiant and healthy skin.
While you are here
In 2022, Iconic Elements was named the ‘Best Holistic Skin Care Line in the Netherlands’. This recognition fills us with joy and confirms our commitment to quality and a holistic approach to skin care. We would like to thank our valued customers for their support and trust in our brand. It is our goal to provide high quality, natural and effective products that contribute to the health and beauty of the skin. We will continue to strive for innovation and excellence in our products and look forward to a bright future filled with beautiful skincare.