Vitamins Good for Skin Nutrition
Studies show that the vitamins
C, E, A, K, and B complex all help improve skin health and
Here is a list of vitamins which are good for skin and nails:
Vitamin C. Among the most important new dermatologic
discoveries is the power of vitamin C to counter the effects of sun
exposure. It works by reducing the damage caused by free radicals, a
harmful byproduct of sunlight, smoke, and pollution. Free radicals
gobble up collagen and elastin, the fibers that support skin
structure, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging. Make sure your
diet includes plenty of vitamin-C rich foods (citrus and vegetables,
among others), which can replace the loss of the vitamin through the
skin. You can also take vitamin C supplements, up to 500 to 1,000
milligrams of per day, according to the AAD. Combined with vitamin E
(see below), vitamin C supplements can also protect skin from sun
Vitamin E. Research shows that, like vitamin C, this potent
antioxidant helps reduce the harmful effects of the sun on the skin.
According to studies published by the AAD, taking 400 units of vitamin
E daily appeared to reduce the risk of sun damage to cells as well as
reduce the production of cancer-causing cells. Some studies show that
when vitamins E and A are taken together, people show a 70% reduction
in basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer. Vitamin E can
also help reduce wrinkles and make your skin look and feel smoother.
(Be aware, though, that some recent research warns that large doses of
vitamin E can be harmful. Stay with 400 international units per day or
less to be on the safe side.) Used in a cream, lotion, or serum form,
vitamin E can soothe dry, rough skin. When combined with vitamin C in
a lotion, it's highly protective against sun damage, says the AAD.
Vitamin A. If your vitamin A levels are up to snuff from the
foods you eat, adding more probably won't do much more for your skin.
That said, if those levels drop even a little below normal, you're
likely to see some skin-related symptoms, including a dry, flaky
complexion. That's because vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance
and repair of skin tissue. Without it, you'll notice the difference.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamin A. Topical vitamin A is
the form that makes a real difference in your skin. Medical studies
show a reduction in lines and wrinkles, good acne control, and some
psoriasis relief, all from using creams containing this nutrient.
Vitamin B Complex. When it comes to skin, the single most
important B vitamin is biotin, a nutrient that forms the basis of
skin, nail, and hair cells. Without adequate amounts, you may end up
with dermatitis (an itchy, scaly skin reaction) or sometimes even hair
loss. Even a mild deficiency causes symptoms. Your body makes plenty
of biotin, and the nutrient is also in many foods, including bananas,
eggs, oatmeal, and rice. Creams containing B vitamins can give skin an
almost instant healthy glow while hydrating cells and increasing
overall tone at the same time. Niacin, a specific B vitamin, helps
skin retain moisture, so your complexion looks more plump and younger
looking in as little as six days. It also has anti-inflammatory
properties to soothe dry, irritated skin.
Vitamin K. Studies presented to the AAD in 2003 show topical
vitamin K does work well to reduce under eye circles as well as
bruises. When combined with vitamin A in a cream or serum, vitamin K
can be even more effective for those dark circles.
Minerals Beneficial for Skin Nutrition
Most health experts agree that most of us don't need to supplement our
mineral intake. This is even more true if you drink spring water,
which often contains healthful, natural supplies of important
minerals. Studies show that washing your face with mineral water can
help reduce many common skin irritations, and the mineral content may
help some skin cells absorb the moisture better.
Selenium. Scientists believe this mineral plays a key role in
skin cancer prevention. Taken in supplement form or in a cream, it
protects skin from sun damage. If you do spend any time in the sun,
selenium could reduce your chance of burning, lowering your risk of
skin cancer. The best dietary sources of selenium include whole-grain
cereals, seafood, garlic, and eggs.
Copper. Still another important mineral is copper. Together
with vitamin C and the mineral zinc, copper helps to develop elastin,
the fibers that support skin structure from underneath. While a copper
deficiency is rare (doctors caution that supplements can be
dangerous), topical applications of copper-rich creams can firm the
skin and help restore some elasticity, according to some study
Zinc. The third skin-friendly mineral is zinc, important if you
have acne. In fact, sometimes acne itself is a symptom of a zinc
deficiency. Taken internally or used topically, zinc works to clear
skin by taming oil production and may be effective in controlling the
formation of acne lesions or help those already on your skin to clear
sooner. Food sources of zinc include oysters, lean meat, and poultry.
Some of the more exciting new skin research looks beyond vitamins and
minerals to other nutrients that when taken internally or applied
topically can have remarkable effects on your skin.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid. A powerful antioxidant, hundreds of times
more potent that either vitamin C or E, alpha-lipoic acid may turn out
to be a super boost for aging skin. What makes it so special, say skin
experts, is its ability to penetrate both oil and water, affecting
skin cells from both the inside and the outside of the body.
More specifically, explains Mary Sullivan, alpha-lipoic acid, like
vitamins C and E, neutralizes skin cell damage caused by free
radicals. Some studies show it can repair the damage to skin's DNA,
thus reducing the risk of cancer. Health experts say it also helps
other vitamins work more effectively to rebuild skin cells damaged by
environmental assaults, such as smoke and pollution. You can take a
daily alpha-lipoic acid supplement or use creams that contain the
DMAE. Another powerful antioxidant, this nutrient has one of
the strongest appetites for free radicals. It works mostly by
deactivating their power to harm skin cells. It also helps stabilize
the membrane around the outside of each cell so that assaults from sun
damage and cigarette smoke are reduced. According to Sullivan, DMAE
also prevents the formation of lipofucsin, the brown pigment that
becomes the basis for age spots. As with alpha-lipoic acid, you can
take DMAE in supplements and in topical creams.
Hyaluronic Acid. Made by the body, this nutrient's main job is
to lubricate joints so that knees, elbows, fingers, and toes all move
smoothly and easily. But now doctors say it also plays a role with
skin cells, acting as a kind of glue that helps hold them together,
keeping skin looking smoother and younger. Another plus is its ability
to hold water, up to 1,000 times its weight, which means more moisture
in each skin cell. Top skin care lines now include creams with
hyaluronic acid. Sullivan and others also believe it's equally
powerful taken in supplement form, though more research is needed to
prove effectiveness. The nutrient isn't readily available in food.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). If your skin is dry, prone to
inflammation, and frequently dotted with white heads and black heads,
you may be lacking essential fatty acids, nutrients that are crucial
to the production of skin's natural oil barrier. Without an adequate
supply of EFAs, the skin produces a more irritating form of sebum, or
oil, which can result in problems. The solution, say skin experts, may
be to balance two of the key EFAs, omega-3 and omega-6. While most
folks get plenty of omega-6s (in baked goods, cooking oils, poultry,
grains, and many other foods), omega-3s are often lacking. They're
found mostly in cold-water fish, including salmon, sardines, and
mackerel, flaxseed, and flax and safflower oils. Taking supplements,
such as fish oil capsules or evening primrose oil, may also help keep
your skin smoother and younger-looking.
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