New research using high-resolution imaging shows reduced measures of wrinkle width and severity in postmenopausal women who ate almonds as a daily snack
India: Anti-aging regimens abound but emerging research suggests that one delicious addition to your skincare routine may be in your pantry instead of your makeup kit: almonds.
new pilot study by researchers at the University of California, Davis found that a daily snack of almonds in place of other nut-free snacks improved measures of wrinkle width and severity in postmenopausal women. The study was funded by the Almond Board of California and is the first of its kind to examine almonds’ effects on skin health. A larger and longer-term follow-up study is underway.
In this 16-week randomized controlled trial, 28 healthy postmenopausal
women with Fitzpatrick skin type 1 or 2 (characterized by increased tendency to
burn with sun exposure) were randomly assigned to one of two groups. In the
intervention group, women ate almonds as a snack, which accounted for 20% of their
total daily calorie intake, or 340 calories per day on average (60 grams). The
control group ate a nut-free snack that also accounted for 20% of calories: a
cereal bar, granola bar or pretzels. Aside from these snacks, study
participants ate their regular diets and did not eat any nuts or nut-containing
Skin assessments were made at the start of the study, and again
at 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks. At each visit, facial wrinkles were
assessed using high-resolution facial imaging and validated 3-D facial modeling
and measurement. “These high resolution cameras allow for 3-D reconstruction of
any wrinkles so that they can be mapped for their key characteristics of width
and severity. The severity score is a calculation of the depth and length of a
wrinkle,” explains Raja Sivamani, MD MS AP, integrative dermatologist and lead
researcher on the study. Skin barrier function was also assessed, by measuring
sebum production and transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Skin barrier function examines the strength
of the skin barrier and how well it protects skin from moisture loss (TEWL) and
from harmful irritants coming from the environment.
By the end of the study at 16 weeks, photographic image
analysis showed statistically significant improvements for participants in the
almond snack group compared to the control group (P<0.02):
There were no significant changes in skin barrier function
“Food as a means of
promoting skin health – the “health from the inside out” idea – is of growing
interest to those looking for options for healthy aging,” says Dr. Sivamani.
“It’s also a growing area of scientific research. Almonds are a rich source of
antioxidant vitamin E and deliver essential fatty acids and polyphenols. They’re
a smart choice for overall good nutrition. And, as seen in this study, almonds
may hold promise as a food to include as part of a healthy aging diet,
especially for post-menopausal women.”
Study at a Glance:
The Study: 28 healthy, postmenopausal women
with Fitzpatrick skin type 1 (always burns, never tans) or 2 (usually burns,
tans minimally) were randomly assigned to either an intervention or a control
group. Almonds were provided as 20% of total daily calorie intake for the
intervention group (340 calories/day on average), about 60 grams. The control
group consumed a calorie-matched nut-free snack in place of almonds daily: cereal bar, energy bar or pretzels. All
participants were advised not to consume any nuts or nut-containing products
over the course of the study (except for the almond snack for the intervention
group). They otherwise were advised to continue their usual daily energy
After a four-week
dietary wash-out period, participants were randomized to one of the two study
groups detailed above. Study visits occurred at
baseline, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks.
wrinkles were assessed using high-resolution facial photography and validated
3-D facial modeling and measurement at baseline, 8 weeks and 16 weeks. Skin
barrier function was assessed by measurement of sebum production and
transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
Study Limitations: Aging is a long-lasting process so the findings from this 16-week
study may be difficult to reproduce and generalize to extended periods of time.
Skin-aging is also multi-factorial in nature and although certain groups were
excluded (i.e., those with a smoking history), there is variance in aging
confounders, such as frequency of UV light exposure and emotional stress, which
were outside the scope of the study. This study was limited to cosmetic
evaluation, as no measurements were made regarding collagen production. Study
did not evaluate disease or younger subjects, so results are limited to
otherwise healthy post-menopausal females. In addition, this was a pilot study
with a limited number of participants. Future studies should expand to a larger
Conclusion: Results of
this pilot study suggest that daily consumption of almonds may play a role in reducing
wrinkle severity in post-menopausal women. The outcomes warrant future studies
with expanded population groups and additional evaluations for signs of skin
 Foolad N, Vaughn AR, Rybak I, Burney WA, Chodur GM, Newman JW, Steinberg FM, Sivamani RK. Prospective randomized controlled pilot study on the effects of almond consumption on skin lipids and wrinkles. Phytotherapy Research. 2019;1–6. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6495
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