5 Nutrient Deficiencies that Could Be Causing Your Skin Conditions

You’ve tried all the creams and potions to heal your skin with varying levels of success. But have you looked at your plate?


Some of the most common skin issues – like acne, dryness, and rashes – are linked to underlying vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by unbalanced diets.

While severe deficiencies are rare, even those who try hard to eat healthy often find it difficult to get all the nutrients they need in a day. At suboptimal levels, the skin is one of the first things to suffer. 

Let’s take a look at the 5 Nutrient Deficiencies that Could Be Causing Your Skin Conditions – and how you can use food as medicine to heal them and reveal healthier skin! 

5 Nutrient Deficiencies to Avoid for Healthier Skin

1. Vitamin D

Deficiency Skin Symptoms: acne, eczema, rosacea, irritated skin.

Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is primarily made in the skin when exposed to sunlight (small amounts of vitamin D are made in the gut). It is known to help balance your mood and strengthen immunity among many other essential functions. In the skin, Vitamin D calms inflammation, protects and heals skin, and improves skin cell turnover.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get the right amount of vitamin D, especially if you live in a Northern climate or spend most of your time indoors. Without enough vitamin D, inflammation builds and the skin becomes irritated. This can exacerbate inflammatory issues like acne, rosacea, or eczema. Vitamin D deficiency can also be at the root of hormone imbalance, triggering issues like hormonal acne.

Boost Your Vitamin D with:

• Mushrooms
• Egg yolks
• Fatty fish
• Liver, organ meats
• Fortified dairy or grains

2. Iron

Deficiency Skin Symptoms: pale skin and brittle nails.

Iron helps carry oxygen through the blood to cells and tissues. We need iron to grow, develop, repair, have energy throughout the day.

Along with fatigue, pale skin and brittle nails are some of the tell-tale signs of iron deficiency.  Note that pale skin is not the same as fair skin. Pale skin occurs when your skin looks lighter than it normally does and can seem tired, dull, or lifeless. This is caused by the lack of hemoglobin in red blood cells (or a lack of red blood cells in general) that fail to give your skin a healthy rosy glow.

An easy test to see if you need iron is to check the inside of your lower eyelids. They should be vibrantly red; if they are pale, you may need more iron.

Boost Your Iron with:

• Spinach
• Pumpkin seeds
• Quinoa 
• Broccoli
• Tofu
• Fish and shellfish
• High-quality red meat
• Liver, organ meats
• Floradix supplement

3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Deficiency Skin Symptoms: dryness, dermatitis, early aging skin.

Healthy fats like omega-3s are crucial for brain health, heart health, immune health, reproductive health, and skin health.

In the skin, omega-3s protect the skin and keep it looking youthful and nourished. They help provide moisture, fight inflammation and improve elasticity, as well as reduce the signs of aging. Some studies even show that using omega-3s can even help to reduce acne lesions and reverse photoaging (or damage from sun exposure).

When you eat more inflammatory fats (like saturated fat) and less anti-inflammatory fats (like omega-3 fatty acids), you’ll miss out on all these amazing benefits. Plus, inflammation builds up internally and causes dry, itchy, red skin.

Boost Your Omega 3s with:

• Fatty fish like salmon
• Cod liver oil
• Chia seeds
• Flax seeds
• Walnuts

4. B Vitamins

Deficiency Skin Symptoms: dry, flaky skin, wrinkles, paleness.

B vitamins make up a group of compounds that are needed for nearly every process in the body. From turning food to energy to regulating your organ systems, B vitamins are essential!

In the skin, B vitamins help to encourage healthy new skin growth and repair. They help fresh, new skin come to the surface so you always look healthy and vibrant. You may have even seen skincare products fortified with B vitamins like biotin (B7) or niacin (B3).

When you’re low in B vitamins, the opposite happens. Your skin starts to look dull or dry. You may notice flaky skin as the skin struggles to lay down new cells fast enough. B vitamin deficiency can also make it easier for the skin to become irritated; acne, rashes, and cracked skin is common. Because B vitamins are also necessary for healthy stress management, stress-related skin conditions could point to a lack of Bs.

Boost Your B Vitamins with:

• Legumes
• Sunflower seeds
• Almonds
• Eggs 
• Beef
• Chicken
• Turkey
• Mussels
• Spinach
• Mushrooms
• Broccoli
• Avocado
• Bananas 
• Sweet Potato
• Whole grains

5. Zinc

Deficiency Skin Symptoms: dermatitis, brittle nails, slow healing.

Zinc is a mineral that is best known for boosting the immune system. In fact, zinc is used in hundreds of body functions and reactions – from reducing inflammation to encouraging cell division.

The skin mostly uses zinc for damage control and wound healing (think acne lesions or cracked lips). Without enough zinc, the skin easily develops cracks, fissures, and rashes like dermatitis. Along with distressed skin, zinc deficiency also causes hair loss and brittle nails.

Boost Your Zinc with:

• High-quality meat and shellfish
• Legumes
• Seeds and nuts (especially pumpkin seeds)
• Eggs
• Whole grains
• Potatoes
• Dark chocolate

Lingering Skin Issues? Check Your Plate + Visit The Beauty Within

If you’re struggling with stubborn skin issues, it’s time to check your plate!

While these five nutrients are closely tied to common skin conditions, there are many other vitamins and minerals we need to maintain our healthy, glowing skin. Fill your plate with a rainbow of whole foods to give your skin all the nutrients it needs.

At The Beauty Within, we take a holistic approach to beauty care, which means we look at things like diet and deficiencies, as well as your lifestyle, stress levels, and current skincare regimen. By truly listening to your skin, we can create the best plan for your unique skin.

Ready to finally heal your skin from within? Check out our holistic skincare programs and book your first visit!

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