The Best Foods and Vitamins for Skin Health
We often hear how important it is to eat properly for optimal health and to maintain a healthy body on the inside, but few realize nutrition is just as important for nourishing the outside of your body as well. Your skin is a very important organ in your body, and it needs to be cared for with just as much emphasis as the rest of your body. That is why it is vital to know the best nutrients and vitamins for skin health. This article covers the dietary supplementation you need to help your skin look and feel its best.
Your skin is the largest and fastest growing organ in your body. The skin protects your body, helping you stay warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s hot. It keeps all your insides in and keeps the germs and water out. You feel through the nerves in your skin.
Unfortunately, the skin often goes forgotten, and it suffers tremendously from the sun and lack of proper hydration and care. The good news is that the health of your skin can be affected from both the inside and out. With the right nutrients, you can restore your skin, strengthen your hair, and lengthen your nails.
However, the opposite is true as well. Without the correct vitamins for skin health, the skin can become dry or dull, and hair and nails can grow brittle.
Eating for Healthy Skin
There are several excellent foods for beautiful skin. The first rule of thumb is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Make your plate as colorful as possible, and use as much variety in your selection as you can.
Blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, kale, spinach, and peppers are great snack options. Fruits and vegetables are extremely rich in antioxidants and are excellent for your whole body, including your skin.
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C, E, and A help eliminate and prevent the damage that is caused by unstable molecules that are more frequently known as free radicals. These molecules can harm skin cells, cause signs of aging, and even lead to cancer.
The second rule of thumb for achieving healthy skin through food and nutrients is to stock your refrigerator and pantry with items that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep the top outer layer of the skin strong and intact so that external toxins and pollutants are more effectively kept out.
The ideal way to ensure you are getting enough of the nutrients you need for a radiant complexion is eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking the appropriate vitamins for skin health.
Vitamins for Skin Health
It is highly suggested to take a good-quality, whole-food, over-the-counter multi-vitamin each day with added minerals to boost your nutrient intake, especially if you spend a lot of time in the outdoors or are exposed to high levels of air pollution or toxins such as secondhand smoke.
- Vitamin A is required for the proper development of many parts of the body, including the eyes, skin, and immune system.
- Vitamin A is applied directly to the skin to improve wound healing, reduce wrinkles, and to protect the skin against UV radiation. It can also be made synthetically in a laboratory.
- Foods high in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squashes, lettuce, dried apricots, cantaloupe, bell peppers, fish, liver, eggs, whole milk, butter, and tropical fruits.
- The current daily value for vitamin A is 5000 international units (IU).
- Overconsumption of vitamin A can also be harmful. Too much vitamin A can lead to jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability, vomiting, and even hair loss.
- Vitamin E is an important vitamin required for the proper function of many organs in the body.
- Vitamin E occurs naturally in foods such as nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil. It is also available as a supplement.
- Some people apply vitamin E directly to their skin to keep it from aging and to protect it against environmental toxins. It is one of the more common externally applied vitamins for skin health.
- It is highly recommended to consult with a doctor or pharmacist before starting this supplement.
- Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients to be used as a vitamin for skin health.
- The benefits of vitamin C may include protecting against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and skin wrinkling and aging.
- It has been found that a higher vitamin C intake correlates with a lower likelihood of wrinkles and dryness of the skin. It is a great youthful aging tool for better appearance.
- Higher levels of vitamin C found in the blood may be considered a nutritional marker for overall health.
- A cup of orange juice or a half-cup of red pepper is enough to meet your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. Some additional sources include cantaloupe, broccoli, red cabbage, green pepper, kiwi, and tomato juice.
- Vitamin C is not stored in the body, and any excess amounts are excreted, so overdose is not a concern. However, exceeding 2,000 milligrams at once can result in stomach upset and diarrhea.
- The use of collagen foods, creams, and vitamins for skin health can help naturally boost your collagen production with.
- Aging skin may not be producing the same levels of collagen as it once was, and stimulating your collagen production has the potential to reverse the signs of aging on your skin.
- Amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins such as collagen, so it is important to consume foods or nutrients high in these elements. Foods such as lentils, peanuts, eggs, milk, pork, beef, chicken, soybeans, chickpeas, hummus, snap beans and asparagus may all provide benefit to your skin.
How Detoxification and Inflammation Can Affect Skin
There is no doubt that the environment is polluted with toxins and harmful substances that affect our bodies and cause inflammation. Therefore, one of the key elements to achieving optimal health involves detoxifying and reducing exposure to toxins.
The more toxins in your body, the faster you will age both internally and externally. There is a direct correlation between toxins, inflammation, and skin health. Toxin overload can also burden the liver, triggering a variety of dysfunctions and contributing to conditions such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
Note: Detox programs are not for everyone and caution must be exerted prior to beginning any programs. Those who have AFS generally do not do well on detox programs. The more advanced the AFS, the less effective it will be and the higher probability of failure. In some cases, strong detoxification programs can trigger adrenal crashes because the body is too weak to tolerate such an approach.
Caution: When to See the Dermatologist
Wrinkles and signs of aging on the skin are very common problems. However, many conditions that affect the skin could be serious and may need medical intervention. Redness, itching, pain, rashes, and pus are all signs you need to see a dermatologist.
Many of the vitamins for skin health can improve the look of your skin, but regular checkups for skin cancer can save your life. It is vitally important that you take your skin health just as seriously as any other medical condition. With these vitamins, foods, and the help of your doctor, you can have beautiful skin from the inside out.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
What are the best vitamins for skin health?
The best vitamins for skin health are antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C, E, and A, as well as omega-3s and collagens proteins. These may be utilized through foods and can be taken as supplements if needed.