Taking proper care of our skin is not necessarily just an act of vanity for beauty's sake; it's also a health issue – a serious one if we let it get out of hand. There's the matter of accelerated aging of the skin if we eat too much food that is processed or low in nutrition, as well as other harmful factors such as stress and toxins. There's also the specter of inflammation, cell damage, etc. as it relates to conditions and diseases of the skin ranging from cellulitis to shingles. Some of the threats to our skin's health lurk beneath the surface and can only be seen under a microscope. As mindbodygreen.com puts it, for example, free radicals form in our bodies and can cause significant damage to our cell structures, to include those that comprise our skin, which happens to be the largest organ within our bodies. It is largely up to the nutrient-dense foods that we consume to ward off the various kinds of these damaging free radicals. Our skin is our bodies' foremost protection against disease, working as a living barrier against pathogens that can make us sick if they invade our bodies. If we don't take care of our skin regularly, per healthywomen.org, it can become dry, rough, and chapped – which is not just an aesthetic consideration – those cracks can provide an opening for health-threatening pathogens to gain access to our bodies.
National Healthy Skin MonthProper care for our skin goes beyond creams, lotions, and sunscreens. It also requires proper diet, nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and supplements. We are what we eat, or consume, and that holds as true for our skin as it does for any other part, system, or organ of our bodies. With November being National Healthy Skin Month, what better time to explore how best to feed our . . . skin? Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside of your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body's internal needs including its nutritional needs, says Dr. Georgiana Donadio, director of Boston's National Institute of Whole Health, quoted at webmd.com.
Feeding our Bodies, and Therefore Our Skin, ProperlyFollowing is an alphabetized list of vitamins and supplements that can go a long way toward enhancing and maximizing your skin's health. Be sure, however, to discuss any planned changes to your dietary regimen with your doctor or a licensed nutritionist:
- Vitamin A. Even a minor vitamin A deficiency can produce a dry, flaky complexion, per webmd.com.
- Alpha-lipoic acid. A robust antioxidant that can support skin cells both inside and outside the body, providing a boost to aging skin.
- Vitamin B complex. This health product aggregates the eight B vitamins and aids our skin in numerous ways to include helping with acne and the ability of the epidermis to retain moisture.
- Vitamin C. This strong immune enhancer, found naturally in fruits and vegetables, can prevent skin damage caused by free radicals. It's essential for the repair of damaged tissues and growth of new cells, per top10supplements.com.
- Calcium. Plays a key role in the growth of skin cells as well as cell regeneration.
- Copper. Works in tandem with vitamin C and zinc to enhance elastin, which are fibers beneath the skin that help provide skin structure.
- CoQ10. This natural enzyme and antioxidant is produced by the body, but our ability to naturally manufacture enough of it wanes as we age, meaning we can use a boost with CoQ10 supplements.
- Vitamin D. The best source is the sun, which converts cholesterol in our bodies to vitamin D, which is then absorbed by the liver and kidneys to be spread throughout our bodies to help in the creation of healthy cells, per healthline.com.
- Vitamin E. Yet another potent antioxidant that benefits skin health in various ways, to include preventing cell damage from free radicals, per top10supplements.com.
- Hyaluronic acid. Per webmd.com, this nutrient helps bind together skin cells, helping skin to look smoother and younger.
- Vitamin K. Studies have demonstrated that topical applications of K can minimize circles under the eye as well as reduce bruising.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Has anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to be beneficial in the battle against skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. It can also assist in diminishing inflammation and redness/swelling.
- Selenium. Can help protect the skin from sun damage and by fighting infections.
- Silica. A chemical compound consisting of silicon and oxygen, the earth's two most abundant elements, per top10supplements.com. Supplements can help prevent wrinkles and regenerate damaged skin.
- Zinc. A zinc deficiency has been linked to acne. Food sources include oysters, lean meat, and poultry.