Our skin is a living, breathing organ, which means that a lot of factors can affect its health. As it is with our general wellness, diet, exercise, mood, and hydration all play critical roles in keeping our skin healthy. So, how important is it to supplement your diet with vitamin and minerals for glowing skin health? Very, as anyone who’s read our previous blogs on superfoods for your skin would know. If your goal is to be healthy and have glowing skin, these tips are essential.
Fruits and Veggies Are Your Friends
We all know that we should eat a minimum of five to six portions of fruit and vegetables a day for overall health. But did you know that choosing the right produce can play a pivotal role in getting us the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that our skin and our bodies need for optimal nutrition?
To recap, antioxidants are powerful allies in the fight to protect your skin from cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals break down the cellular structure causing your skin to show age and wrinkles prematurely. A free radical can be anything from external factors like pollution and sunlight to personal habits like smoking. All of these work to degrade the overall health of your skin. Eating a rainbow of beautiful colors in vegetables and fruit will fill you up with natural vitamins and fiber.
The Essential Vitamins and Minerals That Everyone Needs
Beta-carotene—Needed for vision and the immune system. This antioxidant converts to vitamin A in the body, beta-carotene is found in brightly orange-colored carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and orange squash. Vitamin A is also found in spinach and kale. If you’re an omnivore, another type of vitamin A called retinoid can be found in beef and eggs.
Vitamin C—For skin, Vitamin C can add that inner glow we all seek! This powerhouse vitamin works to produce healthy collagen, build the immune system, and expedite healing from wounds. Sources include oranges, lemons, blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, papaya, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin E—Among the most well-known supplements for good skin health, this powerful antioxidant is employed by our bodies to help protect skin from cell damage, to aid in wound healing, and to support healthy skin-cell growth. Eat foods like almonds, avocados, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts.
Selenium—This is a misunderstood and valuable antioxidant helps protect the skin from damage, age spots, and studies have also linked selenium to aid in protecting against skin cancer. Selenium also supports brain health! In studies on dementia and memory loss, selenium has been shown to be the most powerful natural vitamin source for a healthy brain. Just one Brazil nut a day is enough selenium for most individuals. Other foods containing less selenium include broccoli, tomatoes, fish and shellfish, as well as sunflower seeds.
Zinc—This is another vitamin that we don’t need that much of, but the absence of it in our diets can cause a disruption in the normal process of our oil glands. The sebaceous glands in the skin help repair skin that has been damaged and keep it supple. Foods rich in zinc include fish, lean red meat (especially pasture raised meats), nuts, seeds, and chicken.
Vitamin D—Although not normally talked about in a skin care regime, vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin” is very important for overall health in addition to an amazing supplement to boost good skin. A healthy exposure of 15 minutes a day in the sun may be enough to help the body produce vitamin D, although some people’s bodies do not produce it as well as others. Some people, especially those in cold climates, may have a particularly difficult time finding enough D. Research has shown that a diet deficient in vitamin D is more inclined to get sick and have sallow skin. A deficiency in this vitamin is also linked to acne because it plays a role in fighting infections and keeping bacteria at bay. Look for vitamin D in fish, eggs, and mushrooms. Many dairy products have vitamin D added to them.
Vitamin K—Vitamin K is unknown to many people, especially when compared to the popularity of Vitamin C for skin. There are two important vitamins, K1 and K2, and your body needs both. They are important for overall circulation and blood clotting. Along with vitamin D, K helps build strong bones and helps prevent heart disease.
If you have dark circles, spider veins, stretch marks or slow healing wounds, chances are you are low in vitamin K. Vitamin K and D work together, and they are fat-soluble vitamins, so they need to be eaten with food to be used in the body. K1 is both found in green leafy vegetables like kale, collards, mustard greens, and spinach. K2 is found in organ meats, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy. It is impossible to get K2 on a vegan diet, so should be taken as a supplement. The Right Fats—The low-fat diet fad has led to many problems in overall health. Fats are much needed in the diet, but getting the right fats is critical. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats provide the right fatty acids which naturally keep our skin supple and elastic as we age.
A diet too low in healthy fats can speed up the aging process in skin. Fats also affect brain health and the body’s overall ability to recover from stress and illness. Make your diet rich in olives and avocados. If you are not vegetarian or vegan, consider choosing fish that is fat and oily like salmon, tuna, and sardines. Salmon, in particular, is rich in omega fatty acids, too, so it is a particularly valuable source. Eat a variety of nuts and seeds and use cooking oils like avocado and olive oil.
Why Use Vitamins & Minerals for Skin Care Products?
Making sure that you have a varied diet, rich in nutrient-dense foods and vitamins, will help your overall health and result in skin that glows! It all starts with proper nutrition. If you are already eating a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients, with a dose of healthy fats and protein, your skin may already be nourished from within. Is diet enough? There are many skincare formulators and chemists that might argue no. There are benefits not only in eating well and taking supplements but also in adding vitamin-rich skincare to your regimen.
When we at Ayr formulate our skincare products, we add vitamin E to almost every formulation. Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant that helps extend the life of the rich, natural vegetable oils that we use. It may also add the other benefits of vitamin E for the skin as noted above.
We also add vitamin C to our night cream, where C can help skin rebuild and strengthen collagen, and also panthenol (B5) to some products for its many skin benefits. Panthenol is used in many hair products, but we also use it because it promotes wound healing, helps restore damaged skin, and reduces inflammation. It also is a well of help with rough, itchy, dry skin, and helps skin retain moisture through improved skin barrier function. The addition of panthenol in skin products helps moisturize, hydrate, and keeps that moisture in by reducing transepidermal water loss.
Your Skin Is a Window to Health
Remember, your skin may be telling you something! Constant dryness, irritation, or chronic acne, may all be ways your skin is telling you that you need to look at how to add supplements and vitamins for good skin health.
Acne, for example, can be stress or hormone related, but it can also be the way that signs of food sensitivities, medication allergies, or skincare ingredient reactions show up first. For example, you may have a stomach ache after eating cheese without realizing that the cheese caused your stomach ache. The next day you have forgotten the cheese, but your face breaks out in acne. Your skin is telling you something did not agree with your body. Many vitamin deficiencies also show up on the face first, so pay attention to what you eat and how your face feels and looks as a clue to your overall health.
A Few Reminders
Vitamin C and all B vitamins are water-soluble. If you take too many, you end up flushing the excess down the toilet. Finding the right balance of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and B for skin can help you build a daily health ritual, as well.
Vitamins like K and D, best taken together, and A and E are fat soluble. Read your FDA guidelines on the bottle of vitamins that you buy, and remember that fat-soluble vitamins work best when you eat them with a meal including fat. They can accumulate in your body if you take too much.
If you struggle with eating real meals rich in nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, and healthy oils, then you may have to add vitamins to your daily routine, but it is always best to try to get as many of your nutrients from good food. Think colors when you look for vegetables and find new and creative ways to prepare them so that you don’t get bored.
Your body is easily the most wonderful machine ever invented. Its various systems and organs operate without your having to think about them, but they do need our help in getting the proper fuel like Vitamin C and other minerals for your skin and whole body health.
Your body and the health of your skin are here for the long haul, so you can do your part to feed it properly, and take care of it with using healthy skin products to keep it building collagen, hydrating, keeping the moisture in where the skin needs it, and also using the vitamins that you give it. Giving your body love and care will help it last and age gracefully for many years.