How to improve the appearance of skin, hair, and nails

Our skin, hair, and nails are the outward manifestation of our inner health. A problem in any of these may be a result of a deficiency of one or more nutrients needed to maintain these structures. Various illnesses can result in dry skin and hair, brittle nails, hair loss, and skin disorders. Many women (and some men) spend their money on products touted to improve the appearance of their skin, hair, or nails, but improving your diet is often the key to a healthy appearance.

The Role of Protein

Protein is often referred to as “the building block”. Our skin, hair, and nails are made up of protein in the form of keratin, collagen, and elastin. These proteins add strength and elasticity to our skin and hair, as well as warding off wrinkles. Protein strengthens nails and helps to prevent them from breaking.

Foods to include: meat, fish, eggs, legumes

Don’t Forget Your Vitamins

Vitamins are an essential part of any diet, and a lack of these will have an impact on the appearance of your skin, hair, and nails. Vitamins C, A, E, and B are all important for the maintenance and health of your hair, skin, and nails.

  • Vitamin C- Vitamin C is an important vitamin because of its role in building collagen and repairing tissues. A lack of this vitamin may lead to wrinkles and a more aged appearance.

Foods to include: Citrus fruits, dark green vegetables, tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, cantaloupe, potatoes

  • Vitamin A- Vitamin A helps in the repair and maintenance of tissues. A deficiency of vitamin A can cause dry skin and hair.

Foods to include: fish liver oil, cheese, milk, spinach, broccoli, meat, eggs, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots, peaches

  • Vitamin E- This vitamin may help to prevent age spots from appearing, and promotes healthy skin and hair.

Foods to include: green leafy vegetables, beans, vegetable oil, wheat germ oil, soybeans, seeds and nuts (raw)

  • Vitamin B- The complex of B vitamins can be beneficial in preventing hair loss, and helps to maintain cells in the skin and nails as well.

Foods to include: molasses, potatoes, lentils, bananas, lentils, brewer’s yeast, liver, turkey, tuna,  molasses

Minerals: The Forgotten Element

A lack of certain minerals in the diet can also have an impact on your appearance.

  • Iron- A lack of this important mineral may cause spoon-shaped nails and cracks at the corners of the mouth. Deficiency may also cause brittle hair and hair loss.

Foods to include: red meat, fish, kidney beans, raisins, spinach, legumes, apricots, dates, fortified foods

  • Zinc- Deficiency of zinc may cause weak, brittle, and peeling nails, as well as hair loss.

Foods to include: dairy products, seeds, nuts, lentils, beans, and wholegrain cereals

  • Copper, magnesium, selenium, and calcium are also essential for a healthy appearance.


Improving your appearance can be as simple as improving your diet. Making sure to include these elements in your diet can provide healthy, glowing skin, lustrous hair, and long, strong nails.