Human skin condition and its associations with nutrient concentrations in serum and diet

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):348-55. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/77.2.348.


Background: Nutritional factors exert promising actions on the skin, but only scant information is available on the modulating effects of physiologic concentrations of nutrients on the skin condition of humans.

Objective: The objective was to evaluate whether nutrient concentrations in serum and diet are associated with the skin condition of humans.

Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted in which data on serum concentrations of nutrients, dietary intake of nutrients, and the hydration, sebum content, and surface pH of skin were obtained from 302 healthy men and women. Skin condition was measured with the use of noninvasive techniques. Dietary intake was assessed with 2 complementary food-frequency questionnaires. Multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate associations of serum vitamins and carotenoids and of dietary micro- and macronutrients with skin condition.

Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, including sex, age, and smoking, statistically significant associations were shown in the total population between serum vitamin A and skin sebum content and surface pH and between the dietary intake of total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and skin hydration. Monounsaturated fat intake was also associated with surface pH. Associations between serum beta-cryptoxanthin and skin hydration and between surface pH and fluid and calcium intakes were observed in men only.

Conclusion: Several associations between nutrients in serum and diet and skin condition were observed, indicating that changes in baseline nutritional status may affect skin condition.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Micronutrients / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sebum / metabolism
  • Skin / chemistry
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamins / blood


  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamins