Jan 102012

vitamins for skinWouldn’t it be nice to pop a supplement and have fewer wrinkles and smoother skin?

Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside 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.

You’ve probably noticed vitamins in facial creams and as skin friendly supplements in the last few years. There’s proof that certain vitamins can reduce sun damage and wrinkles, and improve skin texture. But which vitamins should you wear, which should you swallow, and which should go on your plate?

Vitamin A — Most people get enough in their diets to make supplements unnecessary. Leafy green, and orange fruits or vegetables, such as carrots, mangoes and cantalope are all excellent sources.

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. The cream is most potent in prescription form, but retinol is also available in over-the-counter creams. Bottom line: Wear it.

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.

Most people get enough biotin without even trying. It’s found in many foods including bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and rice, plus your body also makes some biotin on its own.

Recently, greater attention is being paid to topical preparations containing B vitamins. These creams can help give skin an almost instant healthy glow while hydrating cells and increasing overall tone. Niacin, a specific B vitamin, helps skin retain moisture, so creams containing this nutrient can help your complexion look plumper and younger in as little as six days. Bottom line: Eat it, take it, and wear it.

Vitamin C— To make sure your diet includes plenty of Vitamin C, eat citrus fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C such as bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens. These foods can replace the loss of the vitamin through the skin. You can also take Vitamin C supplements, up to 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, to help counteract the effects of the sun by reducing free radical damage.

Topically Vitamin C can decrease sun damage and prevent the consequences of prolonged sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer as well as enhancing collagen production, if it’s in a stable form. Look for L-ascorbic acid, or ascorbyl palmitate on labels. Bottom line: Eat it, take it, and wear it.

Vitamin E–You can find Vitamin E in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, and asparagus. But it’s difficult to get a lot from food, so many people take a supplement. (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.) Look for natural or d-alpha tocopherol on labels. Used in a cream, lotion, or serum form, Vitamin E can soothe dry, rough skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Bottom line: Take it and eat it now, wear it later.

Vitamin K— Include antioxidant and Vitamin K rich foods in your diet. Antioxidants help heal cell damage and repair damaged skin. Vitamin K helps with blood coagulation and circulation. Since both damaged skin and poor circulation can increase the appearance of dark circles, eating foods like broccoli, carrots, cabbage, spinach and strawberries can lighten the circles under your eyes. Most complete multi-vitamins have adequate amounts of Vitamin K.

Topically creams can successfully strengthen the capillary walls and reduce the visibility of blood vessels through the thin skin, especially under your eyes. Vitamin K-based eye products should contain at least 5 percent of the vitamin. Bottom line: Eat it and wear it.

Omega-3 — Some of the most dramatic and positive skin changes come under the influence of Omega-3 consumption. These supplements aren’t just making headlines for preventing heart disease—dermatologists are recommending them to help heal dry skin and rough, red, scaly patches of psoriasis and eczema. These essential fats, which must be obtained from diet or supplements because our bodies cannot make them, are a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin supple.

Eating fish such as salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna twice a week and taking supplements are easy ways to increase your intake. Dermatologists recommend taking 1,000 mg of omega-3 oils a day—about the same dosage recommended to keep your ticker in good shape. Bottom line: Eat it and take it.

Don’t forget exercise–Exercise benefits every part of your body — including your largest organ, the skin. Working out improves circulation, flushing toxins from your skin. Better blood flow also brings more oxygen and nutrients and may help your skin produce collagen, which staves off wrinkles. Don’t fret about sweat — exercise may actually help unclog pores. Wash your face right after a workout and avoid tight headbands, which can trap sweat and irritate skin.

Check out this excellent slide show on skin care for all types, and remember to take the time to nourish your mind and enhance your spirit for a radiant natural glow~

  One Response to “Vitamins and Your Skin”

  1. Fabulously done, Kristine….siempre enjoy your articles. Muah.

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