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Dark Spots & Your Diet – Discover the Nutritional Secrets for Clear & Radiant Skin as You Age

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We’re living in a time where the pursuit of eternal youth and beauty has morphed into a cultural obsession – at just about any price. Fueled by our society’s insatiable appetite for perfection, the beauty industry has exploded into a multi-billion-dollar juggernaut with no signs of slowing down. 

In fact…

  • Every 5 seconds, a syringe of dermal filler is injected worldwide, totaling over 40 million injections annually.
  • In the United States alone, over 1.5 million neuromodulator injections (like Botox) are administered yearly, making it one of the most popular cosmetic procedures.
  • The average woman spends $300,000 on skincare products over her lifetime, with anti-aging creams and serums leading the charge.

Of course, many of these treatments come with hefty price tags, not to mention a laundry list of potentially toxic, and unknown long-term effects.

But the REAL secret to radiant skin and timeless beauty is not found in the labs of pharmaceutical and cosmetic giants—it’s hidden in the raw power of Mother Nature herself!

In today’s article, we’ll go beyond skin-deep into the key biochemical processes impacting your youthful appearance. From skin tone and texture, to laxity, hydration and more, you’ll discover the research behind physical aging and the science-backed strategies to slow the clock… with the power of your plate!

To get started, let’s take a look at…

Physical Aging: Understanding How Our Skin Changes Over Time

As we age, there are several ways the appearance of our skin changes. Let’s take a look at the seven key factors of radiant skin and how they change over time:

  • Tone: Age can lead to uneven pigmentation, resulting in areas of hyperpigmentation (dark spots) or hypopigmentation (light spots). Sun damage, hormonal changes, and environmental factors all contribute to uneven tone.
  • Texture: The texture of our skin may become rougher and less smooth with age due to a decrease in collagen and elastin production. Fine lines, wrinkles, and areas of roughness or dryness may become more pronounced.
  • Elasticity: Loss of elasticity – or “bounce” – is a hallmark sign of aging skin. Reduced collagen and elastin production result in skin that is less firm and resilient, leading to sagging and laxity, particularly around the jawline, cheeks, and neck.
  • Hydration: Aging skin tends to become drier and less hydrated over time, leading to a dull and lackluster appearance. Decreased oil production and impaired skin barrier function contribute to this loss of hydration.
  • Firmness: As collagen and elastin levels decline, the skin loses its firmness and suppleness. This can result in sagging, particularly in areas prone to gravity, such as the cheeks, jowls, and neck.
  • Radiance: Age-related changes in skin cell turnover and metabolism can lead to a dull complexion. Diminished blood flow and lymphatic drainage also contribute to reduced radiance and vitality.
  • Wrinkles: Wrinkles, fine lines, and creases are among the most visible signs of aging skin. These lines develop as a result of repetitive facial expressions, sun damage, and the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers.

While we can’t stop Father Time, there’s a whole lot we can do with our diet, lifestyle, and non-invasive natural options to address these factors and help extend our skin’s youthful radiance.

To get started, let’s talk about the little-known factor that takes a big toll on our skin…

Skin Enemy #1: Glycation

Glycation, often called “skin enemy #1,” is a biochemical process that threatens our skin’s vibrant appearance in a number of ways.1

It occurs when sugar molecules bind to proteins like collagen and elastin, forming advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This leads to collagen cross-linking, impairing our skin’s elasticity and resilience, ultimately resulting in sagging, fine lines, and a loss of firmness.

Additionally, AGEs can stimulate melanin production, contributing to hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

And while wrinkles are often the focal point of discussions surrounding aging, research shows that skin tone and dark spots play a bigger role in determining one’s perceived age.2

In fact, research suggests that individuals with a more uniform complexion are perceived as younger and more attractive, highlighting the key role of skin tone in age perception.3,4,5,6

Glycation: A Stealthy Dietary Driver of Dark Spots & Wrinkles

And while dark spots – often called “age spots” or “liver spots – are typically attributed to sun exposure, research shows that the process of glycation is at work behind the scenes.7,8,9

Here’s how it works…

As we consume high-carb or high-sugar foods, sugar molecules latch onto proteins through the process of glycation.  The resulting compounds – those AGEs – disrupt the normal functioning of our skin cells, dismantling its scaffolding (collagen and elastin) and triggering an overproduction of melanin, our skin’s natural pigment.

The result? Dark spots and discoloration begin to emerge on our skin over time, fine lines and wrinkles form, reducing skin’s radiance and vibrant appearance.10,11

gelatin for healthy skin radiant skin search for eternal youth

Better Skin Comes from Within

The great news is that our diet and lifestyle choices play a big role on the process of glycation, and therefore how our skin ages.12

In fact, recent research shows that low-carb and keto diets not only reduce glycation… but also provide a bevy of essential nutrients that enhance skin hydration, elasticity, and overall appearance.13,14,15

  • Ample Dietary Protein Contributes to Hydration & Elasticity: Low-carb and keto diets are rich in high-quality protein, which serve as building blocks for glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) – essential components of the extracellular matrix that contribute to skin hydration and elasticity.16,17,18
  • “Beauty Proteins” from Animal Foods Promote Skin Firmness & Resilience: The “beauty proteins” – collagen, elastin, and keratin – are found abundantly in ancestral-based low-carb and keto diets. Nutrient-dense animal foods – including grass-fed beef, pastured pork and poultry, wild fish, and eggs – play an essential role in maintaining skin structure and resilience.19,20,21
  • Moisture & Wrinkle Depth Improved on Keto Diet: Recent research found improvements in skin moisture levels and wrinkle depth among individuals following a ketogenic diet rich in protein and healthy fats.22
  • Dietary Protein & Omega-3 Boost Skin Barrier Function & Reduce Signs of Aging: A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reported both enhanced skin barrier function and reduced signs of aging with increased protein intake and omega-3 intake.23
  • Key Micronutrients Support Collagen Synthesis & Rejuvenation: Low-carb and keto diets pack a hefty punch of micronutrients and antioxidants that are key for skin health. Nutrient-dense nose-to-tail eating (including liver, heart, and collagen-rich broths), wild shellfish and organic nutrient-dense plant foods such as organic leafy greens, nuts, seeds, berries and avocados provide a wealth of vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin E) and minerals (zinc, selenium) that support collagen synthesis, combat oxidative stress, and promote skin repair and rejuvenation.24

Basing your diet around these ancestral beauty foods offers more than just glycation reduction—it’s a holistic approach to skin health that supplies essential nutrients, proteins, and antioxidants that promote a youthful appearance from within.

Beauty-Boosting Meals to Improve Your Skin at the Cellular Level

Ultimately, achieving healthier skin isn’t just about surface-level treatments—it’s about nourishing your skin at the cellular level with deep nutrition.

Our skin is a reflection of our overall health, and by adopting a nutrient-rich ancestral diet, you can support your skin’s vitality and radiance at any age.25,26,27,28

Here are a few of my favorite beauty-boosting meals that are not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients that promote skin health. From grass-fed bone broth to wild salmon, each meal offers a powerhouse of skin-loving ingredients that can help you unlock the secret to radiant and age-defying beauty:

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Don’t miss out on the fantastic articles by Kelley Herring and other trusted sources on our US Wellness Meats Discover Blog!


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Kelley Herring

Looking for healthy and delicious, keto-friendly holiday recipes? From sumptuous appetizers… to meltingly- tender meats… comfort- food side dishes… as well as low-carb cocktails and desserts, you’ll find everything you need to bring festive and delicious, low-carb and keto-friendly holiday meals to the table that will delight your family and guests. Grab your copy of Keto Holidays, 100% free.


  1. Sell, D. R., & Monnier, V. M. (2012). Molecular basis of arterial stiffening: Role of glycation – a mini-review. Gerontology, 58(3), 227–237
  2. Jones, L. L., Griffiths, M. H., Macdonald, L. C., Lai, J. C. L., & Bhowruth, D. (2014). The effects of skin tone and surface topography on the perception of female facial age and health. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 28(1), 72-75
  3. Samson, N., Fink, B., & Matts, P. J. (2010). Visible skin condition and perception of human facial appearance. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 32(3), 167-184
  4. Fink, B., Matts, P. J., & Klingenberg, H. (2008). Lower waist-to-hip ratio and its components: endocrine correlates within the normal range in women. American Journal of Human Biology, 20(2), 259-267.
  5. Gunn, D. A., & Rexbye, H. (2009). Why some women look young for their age. PLoS One, 4(12), e8021.
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  8. Tran, D. T., Salmon, P., & Shumack, S. (2015). Profile of physical signs of facial aging. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 56(3), 181-188
  9. Lee, H. H., Choi, Y. J., & Choi, S. Y. (2017). Skin aging and glycation. The Korean Journal of Dermatology, 55(11), 739-749
  10. Vistoli, G., De Maddis, D., Cipak, A., Zarkovic, N., Carini, M., & Aldini, G. (2013). Advanced glycoxidation and lipoxidation end products (AGEs and ALEs): An overview of their mechanisms of formation. Free Radical Research, 47(S1), 3–27
  11. Vistoli, G., De Maddis, D., Cipak, A., Zarkovic, N., Carini, M., & Aldini, G. (2013). Advanced glycoxidation and lipoxidation end products (AGEs and ALEs): An overview of their mechanisms of formation. Free Radical Research, 47(S1), 3–27
  12. Vlassara, H., & Striker, G. E. (2011). AGE restriction in diabetes mellitus: A paradigm shift. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7(9), 526–539.
  13. Volek, J. S., & Phinney, S. D. (2012). The art and science of low carbohydrate performance. Beyond Obesity LLC.
  14. Bazzano, L. A., Hu, T., Reynolds, K., Yao, L., Bunol, C., Liu, Y., … & He, J. (2014). Effects of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 161(5), 309-318.
  15. Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J. S., & Grimaldi, K. A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(8), 789-796.
  16. Papakonstantinou, E., Roth, M., & Karakiulakis, G. (2012). Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 253-258.
  17. Gelse, K., Pöschl, E., & Aigner, T. (2003). Collagens—structure, function, and biosynthesis. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 55(12), 1531-1546.
  18. Lodish, H., Berk, A., Zipursky, S. L., Matsudaira, P., Baltimore, D., & Darnell, J. (2000). Collagen: The fibrous proteins of the matrix. Molecular Cell Biology, 4th edition. W. H. Freeman
  19. Fisher, G. J., Kang, S., Varani, J., Bata-Csorgo, Z., Wan, Y., & Datta, S. (2002). Mechanisms of photoaging and chronological skin aging. Archives of Dermatology, 138(11), 1462-1470
  20. Varani, J., Dame, M. K., Rittie, L., Fligiel, S. E. G., Kang, S., Fisher, G. J., & Voorhees, J. J. (2006). Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation. The American Journal of Pathology, 168(6), 1861-1868.
  21. Rittie, L., & Fisher, G. J. (2002). UV-light-induced signal cascades and skin aging. Ageing Research Reviews, 1(4), 705-720.
  22. Lee, H. S., Lee, J. W., Kim, K. J., & Kim, K. H. (2019). Effects of a ketogenic diet on body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and oxidative stress in a 12-week pilot study. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 15(3), 383.
  23. Choi, F. D., Sung, C. T., Juhasz, M. L., & Mesinkovsk, N. A. (2019). Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 18(1), 9-16.
  24. Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. C. (2017). The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients, 9(8), 866.
  25. Bickers, D. R., Athar, M., & Oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of skin disease. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 126(12), 2565-2575
  26. Kim, E. J., & Kim, Y. K. (2020). The role of skin and orogenital microbiota in protective immunity and chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease. Frontiers in Immunology, 11, 535.
  27. Hall, K. D., Bemis, T., Brychta, R., Chen, K. Y., Courville, A., Crayner, E. J., … & Gilsanz, V. (2018). Calorie for calorie, dietary fat restriction results in more body fat loss than carbohydrate restriction in people with obesity. Cell Metabolism, 27(6), 1281-1288.
  28. Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. C. (2017). The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients, 9(8), 866