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5 Foods That Naturally Exfoliate Your Skin

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5 Foods That Naturally Exfoliate Your Skin

We probably all have a favorite exfoliant on hand and go crazy with some scrub scrub scrubbing when some breakouts rear their ugly heads. It can be helpful, but the wrong type of exfoliant may be too much and actually irritate the skin. Or perhaps you’re used to applying them to fight aging, motivating skin to keep itself fresh. However, there is one way you can exfoliate naturally AND see smoother skin – by eating! That’s right, there is an amazing vitamin out there that can improve your texture, reduce pimples, and decrease blackheads. Want to know what it is?

It’s VITAMIN A! This nutrient is most responsible for healthy skin cell turnover (a.k.a. natural exfoliation). You see, our skin wants to naturally exfoliate. Dead skin cells are meant to move to the surface of the skin and slough off on their own. However, with most SAD (standard American) diets deficient in crucial vitamins and minerals, skin cells stick together longer and stubbornly stay on the skin. This increases our chances of clogged pores and once that happens, the bateria that exists normally in the pores begin rapidly replicating resulting in a pustule. YIKES. It also holds back our basal layer from making new skin cells and keeping that new glow going if we’re retaining these pesky dead keratinocytes.

Vitamin A is so well respected by the medical community, that prescriptions like Retin-A (vitamin A-based topical) are highly used in treatment for acne and wrinkles. But instead of risking an increase in sun sensitivity or dryness, why not eat your way to healthy skin with these delicious foods? Check out my top 10 list of foods that naturally exfoliate your skin.


Sweet potatoes. Oprah’s love for this nutritious food wasn’t off! Just one cup of baked sweet potatoes delivers a whopping 438% of your daily vitamin A value.

Carrots. Rich in beta-carotene, this orange goddess doesn’t just help with eyesight. It promotes healthier skin too! Just don’t go crazy on juicing this guy too much or you might end up with some orange-appearing skin! 408% daily value of vitamin A can be found in one cup of carrots.

Spinach. Popeye was a smart man for choosing this delicious plant. Dark, leafy greens are skin superfoods and this one packs 377% daily value of vitamin a.

Kale Very possibly my FAVORITE green. If you haven’t fallen in love, try my Lemony Kale Salad for some total kale goodness. The key? Massaging in the dressing to break down the tough plant walls. It pays off with over 350% daily value vitamin a in one cup of yummy kale.

Winter squash. Whether it’s pumpkins, butternut squash, or acorn squash, these yummy gourds aren’t just delicious roasted – they’re skin health helpers too! Good news for those of us addicted to roasted butternut squash (sprinkle with a little rosemary and artisan salt…mmmmm). One cup of these goodies equals 214% daily vitamin A value.


Elise May, CN + LE, is the owner and practitioner behind SKINutritious. She has helped over 1,000 clients clear acne with detoxing treatments, clear skin coaching, and holistic skincare. 

Work with Elise. Book online here.