How Going Vegan Can Affect Your Skin And Hair

When it comes to changing diets, more than just your waistline can be affected. With the vegan food market estimated to grow to a whopping $24.3 billion by the year 2026, more and more people are making the switch to a plant-based diet (via The Guardian). Some are converting for environmental reasons to decidedly reduce their carbon footprint and prevent animal deaths (via Global Citizen). Others are finding that the lifestyle upgrade also positively affects their decision-making and mental health (via Vegan Food and Living). It's not surprising then that the change in diet can also dramatically affect your skin and hair.


Because the vegan diet excludes all kinds of meat, cheese, and dairy, it has enormous health benefits. Research shows that vegans are less likely to be overweight due to their rich diet loaded with nutrients and antioxidants (via WebMD). The trade-off is that you're losing the some nutrients specific to hefty meats.

So, how exactly does this show up in your hair in nails?

You might notice a new skin glow

Going vegan means ditching dairy — a painful sacrifice for many around the world. That means no more charcuterie boards unless you can find a way to make them plant-based. Luckily, the reward for throwing away cheese could mean clearer, less acne-prone skin. Dermatologist Papri Sarkar tells Insider that he saw improvements in his patients' skin in less than a month following their reduced dairy intake. Another dermatologist reported that his patients noticed "less bloating and brighter complexions" once going plant-based.


One of the best benefits of the vegan diet is its vast diversity of nutrient-rich foods that provide skin-balancing antioxidants. Veggies like carrots and sweet potato, in particular, have lots of beta-carotene that help improve skin pigment (via Vegetarian Times). In contrast, too much meat consumption can lead to chronic inflammation in the gut, thus causing hormonal acne problems (via Live Kindly).

You could experience a detox breakout

If you're just making the jump to an herbivore diet, it's important to remember you might experience some transitional side effects on the way to glowy skin. As you reduce your meat intake, the body can detox the toxins by visibly releasing them through the skin (via Mays Yoga). So, be patient with your body as it's purging your old lifestyle through breakouts. It's also very normal to experience sugar or dairy cravings during this time when your body is going through a withdrawal overhaul.


What you choose to eat as vegan can affect your skin

Technically, under vegan dietary restrictions, you're free to eat endless fries and potato chips. However, switching to a healthier lifestyle should also be paired with better decision-making. Just because you can eat fried veggies and pasta every day doesn't mean you should. Board-certified dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics Maya Hayag advises that "eating more carbohydrates and sugar can directly influence acne production" (via Byrdie).


Equally important is the loss of meat-based protein and other nutrients specific to beef, steak, fish, and chicken. In attempts to counter-balance this deficit, many vegans load up on their supplement game. Unfortunately, low amounts of vitamin B12 especially can lead to the tiredness of the skin and overall fatigue (via Insider). It's important to note, however, that taking too much B12 can also cause face and body acne (via Mays Yoga). So, start slow and steady when choosing supplement replacements.

Eating a balanced diet can prevent hair loss

You might be shocked to find out that your hair and nails are actually accessory organs to the skin (via Inner Body). They are all part of the body's integumentary system and therefore are completely intertwined health-wise. Just like the skin can show signs of inflammation and stress, the hair is just as outspoken about unseen inner workings.


Again, it's very possible to be eating both a vegan and nutrient-deficient diet. If you're still choosing processed foods, sugary snacks, and carb-heavy pastas, your body will alert you to stop with possible hair fallout (via Mane Addicts). Furthermore, a reduction of vitamin B12 that you previously consumed in meat can also lead to hair loss. If you load up on your supplements and eat a diverse vegetable and fruit diet, then you don't have to worry about losing any thick locks.

Plant-based omega rich foods can make for thick luscious hair

Some vegans also report experiencing thicker, shinier, and glossier hair. Since the vegan diet incorporates lots of seeds, nuts, and healthy fats like avocados and coconut oil, there is a huge opportunity to pump your hair follicles with juicy vitamins. Chia seeds that can be blended up into fruit shakes and smoothies contain large amounts of protein, including keratin, that produce healthy fortified hair (via Live Kindly).


The list of fruits and veggies that can provide stronger bouncier hair is nearly endless including leafy greens, energy-boosting fruits, and iron-rich foods. You can even take your vegan game further by using non-toxic and vegan-friendly hair products. Look for products that are paraben-free, not tested on animals, and made with real natural ingredients to give your hair a doubly plant-based experience.