Now, there are a few things to call out here: First, the study only measured white women, specifically women with Fitzpatrick skin types I, II, and III—which means pale skin, fair skin, and light-to-medium white skin. So for these results to be confirmed across all skin tones and skin types, we need more research.
Next, the exact reasons behind the skin improvement may be multi-faceted. First, researchers note that these isoflavones may promote cell proliferation, act as antioxidants, and exert anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties in the full body.
On that note, there’s a common fear that isoflavones found in tofu may increase the risk of cancer in postmenopausal women. However, a comprehensive review from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that isoflavones do not increase the risk of breast, thyroid, or uterine cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Still, if you have any lingering concerns, we suggest consulting a health care professional before making any changes to your diet.
In the skin, isoflavones and other phytoestrogens have been shown to increase hyaluronic acid concentrations and improve the content and quality of collagen—both of which decline naturally with age, contributing to drier, looser skin over time.
However, soy protein is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a skin-supporting eating pattern. You’ll want to ensure you get enough carotenoids (most often found in orange and red produce, like carrots and bell peppers), as well as omega-3’s (found in salmon, avocado, walnuts, etc.).
If you really want to level up, consider adding collagen peptides to your diet as well—these have been shown to support skin elasticity and dermal density, which directly impacts the look and feel of aging skin. Here, the best collagen supplements on the market for skin and gut support.