The Ten Best Nutrients for Skin Health
With spring upon us and summer around the corner, it’s important to ensure adequate availability of the nutrients that best protect your skin health. As one of the only organs directly exposed to external elements, skin must be protected from the inside out. Therefore, both your daily diet and skin regimen (you too, men) should include these 10 skin-protecting nutrients.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has natural UV ray-protecting properties. A diet rich in lycopene gives your skin a little added protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Lycopene can be found in watermelon, tomatoes, pink grapefruit and papaya.
Astaxanthin is the pink-hued compound found in foods such as shrimp and krill. It is one of the only carotene compounds that is not converted to retinol in the body. Therefore, 100 percent of its antioxidant strengths are reserved for fighting free radicals.
With prolonged use, studies have shown astaxanthin is incredible for supporting skin heath and elasticity, and has even been shown to visibly improve the appearance of skin by reducing signs of aging such as dry skin, wrinkles and age spots.
When choosing an astaxanthin supplement, make sure it’s 100 percent all natural as there are synthetic astaxanthin formulas on the market.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is excellent for skin both internally and topically. Its antioxidant properties protect your skin against harmful free radicals while encouraging the production of collagen. According to theAmericanAcademyof Dermatology, 500-1,000 mg of dietary or supplemental vitamin C per day is sufficient.
While dietary vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, red peppers and other foods, topical vitamin C is growing in popularity. It’s important to use a brand that you trust so that the nutrient concentrations aren’t compromised.
4. Vitamin A
Vitamin A, or its precursor, beta-carotene, can be found in carrots and spinach, and ensures the proper maintenance, repair and turnover of skin and tissue cells. If you’re deficient in vitamin A, you may notice a dry or flaky complexion because your skin is not repairing itself fast enough.
Topical vitamin A in the form of retinol has been known to dramatically improve the appearance of skin. However, be sure to check with your dermatologist before considering a topical treatment, as it is not recommended for everyone.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are associated with reduced inflammation and are known to increase the radiance of your complexion by locking in hydration. Good omega-3 sources include fatty fish, such as salmon, walnuts and flax seeds. Higher amounts of omega-3s can be obtained from a high-quality, molecularly distilled fish oil supplement.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known to counter the harmful effects of UV exposure and provide superior antioxidant protection. Experts indicate that natural vitamin E at about 400 mg per day has been noted to reduce photodamage and wrinkles and to improve skin texture.
Topical vitamin E has been known to balance complexion and reduce the appearance of sun spots.
Biotin is a B vitamin that is largely responsible for providing the basis for radiant skin and hair. Experts often recommend anywhere from 1,000-5,000 mcg per day, which usually requires a supplement. Food sources for biotin include peanuts, Swiss chard and tuna.
8. Vitamin K
Topical vitamin K cream has been identified as one of the best (and only) treatments available for effectively reducing under-eye circles. We’ve found one, Naturopathica Vitamin K Brightening Eye Serum, that we are really comfortable endorsing, as it is a 100 percent organic brand that uses high-quality ingredients.
9. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid has the remarkable ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water; therefore, it is a great nutrient for maintaining your skin’s hydration. Additionally, it acts as a bonding agent of sorts, keeping your skin cells from separating (i.e., wrinkling).
10. Alpha Lipoic Acid
This potent antioxidant is one of the only nutrients that is both water-soluble and fat-soluble. This means it can protect your skin’s cells from free radical damage both on inside and the surface.
Topical treatments are growing in popularity, but one of the best, organic brands we’ve found is Passport to Organics’ Face Lift – Total 360 Regeneration Cream with Alpha Lipoic Acid. (This formula also contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and a few other skin supporting nutrients.)