How Does a Vegan Diet Affect the Skin?

From working with skin hands-on as an esthetician and skin care expert for over twenty years, I have to say that I most definitely have seen similarities in the skin of people who have a vegan diet versus those who are not. What I have noticed is a dull, tired, sallow look to the skin, similar to that of a heavy smoker’s skin, as well as a premature loss of skin tone. By no means am I knocking someone’s choice to live a vegan lifestyle, I’m simply sharing my observations and thoughts.

Because a vegan diet consists of mainly fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains, those that follow it may have trouble getting enough protein—the building blocks for skin. Protein is an essential component that makes up cells in the epidermis, including collagen and elastin fibers to keep skin firm and smooth.

Many vegans rely on beans and soy as their main source of protein, but protein that comes from fish, poultry and meat may be more complete and therefore make for a better effect for the appearance…

Here are skin care tips to get your skin glowing:

-Use skin care products with ingredients like Ginseng, Peppermint and Rosemary. When applied topically to the skin, these ingredients work to dilate the blood vessels, therefore, allowing the skin to accommodate more nutrient-rich blood. With continued use, you can get skin that glows! Try Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel, Revitalizing Ginseng Toner, Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel, Rosemary Mint Cleanser and Mint Buffing Beads.

Read: How is Your Skin’s Circulation? Take the Pinch Test

-Avoid smoking. Smoking causes cells to be starved of oxygen resulting in dull, sallow, tired-looking skin with an absence of a glow. (Do you smoke? Read skin tips for smokers.)

-Avoid wearing yellow-based colors for makeup and clothing. Colors like mustard, olive green, khaki and burnt orange can make the skin appear sallow.

-Wear mineral-based makeup. The natural luminescent properties of mineral makeup make it a great choice for giving your skin the look of radiant glowing skin!

-Massage the skin. When applying your moisturizer, massage into the skin using firm circular motions to help increase blood flow.

-Get professional facials. They are extremely beneficial for stimulating circulation to get your skin glowing. Read: How to Give Your Skin a Facial

-Use skin care products exclusively for your skin type. At Renée Rouleau, our skin care line is based on nine different skin types. Skin type #2, #6 and #7 are especially good for stimulating blood flow the skin making it ideal for those with a vegan diet.

Which skin care products are right for you? See our nine skin types and get products recommended.

For expert skin advice, check out Skin Source–the A-Z guide on all things skin. Also sign up here for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and like our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time!


Skin Care Quiz
Skin Care Quiz


  1. Thankyou for your input! I’m very interested in diets and how they affect our looks and bodies. It would make sense that someone who is not getting amino acids that cannot be found in plant proteins would have duller skin.

    Posted By: Udoka  | 

  2. That’s funny, because since going Vegan my skin HAS firmed up! In fact I’m surfing google, trying to figure out exactly why this is?

    Posted By: Tam  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      That’s great if you have seen positive improvement! Every person’s skin is different.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  3. I couldn’t force myself to eat dead animals and fish for any reason, I can’t even eat food that is designed to taste like meat (quorn, soya meat) because the taste and texture make me feel sick. I’m 30, been veggie (not vegan) since I was 6 and I have been told SO many times that I don’t look anywhere near 30 – although I beg to differ haha! x

    Posted By: Claire (  | 

  4. You are SO wrong! People on the vegan diet get more than enough protein (beans and rice are a protein staple). It’s people who eat meat who have the worse, aged-looking skin. What planet do you come from? Do you want to justify eating meat or do you happen to come across people who are on a junk food vegan or vegetarian diet?

    People on plant-based, whole food diets have the most beautiful skin in the world. I look a full ten years younger!

    Posted By: Sarah  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comments. I’m simply observing what I have personally seen with my clients skin over the past 25 years. My blog is my personal thoughts to share with what I have seen to be true. Your skin care experience certainly may differ from mine and if you observe people with skin looking years younger, then that’s great. And certainly if your own diet is making you look ten years younger, then more power to you. Keep up what is working for you! -Renee

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  5. What nonsense! Do you actually know any vegans or have you ever seen one’s skin? They glow because of their much better blood circulation. And your information about protein is way out of date, vegetable proteins are just as ‘complete’ as animal protein, and comes without all the nasty cholesterol and fat. Oh and most Americans get way too much protein, not too little.

    Posted By: Joe  | 

  6. Agree with everyone here–this article is completely false. Vegans are higher in every nutrient, and it’s nutrients and vitamins that make your skin look beautiful. I have been vegan for almost a year and my skin has definitely improved.

    Posted By: Anna  | 


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