Dermatologist's nutritional recommendations for healthy skin, hair and nails- naturally

ask a dermatologist about best diet for skin health
ask a dermatologist about healthy diet for great skin

Patients often ask me for a vitamin that will give them healthy skin, strong nails and thick hair. We’d all like a magic bullet for not having the perfect diet. I’ve kept my eyes peeled for this magic bullet and learned a lot along the way.

Sometimes a scientific study or product claim comes up that holds promise; CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, biotin, selenium, beta carotene, vitamin E or some combination of B vitamins curing wrinkles or dry skin, growing hair, strengthening nails etc.

With some rare exceptions, however, these superfood or supplement magic bullets don’t deliver results when my patients try them. I'm not a fan of looking at nutrition from this perspective. - Dermatologist and Skin Wellness Expert Dr. Cynthia Bailey

By way of full disclosure, I don’t entirely trust vitamin supplements. I remember all too well seeing patients in the 1980s with eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, the deadly and debilitating disease from the popular L tryptophan supplements used as a natural sleep remedy

Nutritional supplements are what I consider 'processed food'.

Each processing step potentially alters nutritional content. My conclusion -there’s no substitute for eating real foods; foods farmed to maximize nutrition- rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids, protein and micronutrients (some that our scientists may not even know about yet). I think our bodies evolved over thousands of generations to get all our nutritional needs from real food and there’s no short cutting it.

I’ve been a 'health nut' since I was 15 and so I’ve looked for natural health remedies all through medical school and my medical practice. I’ve tried many of the modern natural health kicks myself, and collected more interesting experiences from my patients. My intent is to share my observations and recommendations over the course of my blog posts on natural skin health.

I’ve learned over my career in science and medicine that there's no substitute for a healthy diet of real foods.

That said, the 'devil is in the details'!

  • What are real foods?
  • How do we conveniently work them into our real life and our busy daily schedule?
  • Organic and ‘natural’ foods are often expensive, how can we afford them on a budget?
  • Can they satisfy your need for a quick snack, comfort food, a craving?

I've updated this 2009 post in 2021. I have written an eBook on my approach to a diet that promotes overall health and healthy skin. I invite you to download it for free by clicking here.