Skin is the barrier between our inner body and the environment. The condition of our skin can also be an indication of what is going on inside our body and mind. For example, stress and anxiety can contribute to breakouts. For these and other reasons it’s vital that skin is healthy.
While cleansing the skin and topical creams are beneficial for healthy skin, it is nutrients or lack of them that has the most significant effect on the skin. So, it’s essential to have a diet that is rich in nutrients. That said, there are, however, some vitamins and supplements that are specifically beneficial for the skin.
The right nutrients may reduce wrinkles, rough and dry skin, redness, breakouts, dark spots, and unevenness in color. They can also help repair and heal skin damage. Here are a few vitamins and supplements (Nutrients) that have skin health benefits.
Vitamin K helps the body with blood clotting which can help heal bruises, cuts, and wounds. It also helps to prevent stretch marks, reduce swelling from surgery, dark spots, dark under eye circles, scars, and spider veins. The recommendation for the daily intake of vitamin K is between 90 and 120 mg daily. While vitamin K is found in some topical lotions, it is also found in these foods:
- Green beans
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and therefore fights free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that harm cells. They damage skin and contribute to its early aging. Vitamin E also helps the skin from absorbing too many UV rays from the sun and is good for dry skin. Vitamin E in skin products can become less effective with sun exposure. You can increase your daily requirements of 15 mg a day by eating these foods:
- Nuts and seeds, especially sunflower seeds and almonds
- Wheat germ
- Swiss chard and collard greens
Vitamin C is one of the most essential skin nutrients. It is also an antioxidant found in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and the inner layer (dermis). Vitamin C helps with collagen production. Collagen gives skin its elasticity, makes it supple, and helps prevent wrinkles and sagging skin. Vitamin C can also improve the effectiveness of sunscreens and helps heal damaged skin. The recommended dose of vitamin C is 1000 mg daily. Besides skin care products, vitamin C is found in these foods:
- Citrus fruits such as grapefruit and oranges
- Sweet peppers
Vitamin D is made when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Many experts say that most people who live in northern hemispheres are lacking vitamin D. A study found that a topical cream containing a synthetic form of Vitamin D reduced skin inflammation caused by psoriasis. You can get your dose of vitamin D by spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun. However, sun exposure is not suggested for those who have had skin cancer. Also, some medications can cause the skin to react to the sun.
Common foods like milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D. The recommended the daily intake of Vitamin D should be around 600 IU daily. Vitamin D is found naturally in these foods:
Collagen is a protein that is central to skin health. It helps keep skin firm and supple. As we age, collagen reduces which can lead to wrinkles and dry skin. Many skin care products contain collagen. Collagen is in foods made from animal bones, such as bone broth and comes in supplemental form.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the body. Essential nutrients are those that the body does not make them. You need to get them from food or supplements. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, so they protect the skin from inflammation and can help aid skin issues like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. They also help protect skin from UV damage. Fish oil is an excellent source for essential omega-3 fatty acids. Foods rich in omega-3s are:
- Flaxseeds (grounded)
- Hemp seeds
Curcumin is found in turmeric; it gives turmeric its yellow color. Curcumin has many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show curcumin reduces skin inflammations, helps with wound healing, and improves psoriasis. Turmeric is also sold as a supplement.
Zinc is a trace mineral found in all cells in the body but is particularly important to skin. In fact, the top layer of the skin has six times more zinc than other layers of the skin. However, the body just needs small doses of zinc. Zinc helps to rejuvenate and heal skin from wounds, cuts, and abrasions. It controls skin inflammation so is good for acne, and zinc is needed for skin cell renewal. As mentioned, the body needs only small amounts of it. The suggested dosage is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men. These foods contain zinc:
- Shellfish such as oysters, crab, and lobster
- Fortified cereals
Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA)
Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA) is found in primrose and black currant oil. Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D, a pioneer in integrative medicine recommends (GLA) for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Gamma-linolenic acid is hard to obtain from foods. So, he recommends getting it from primrose oil or black currant oil. He suggests taking 500 mg of either one twice a day for six to eight weeks.
Great skin begins from the inside out with foods that have plentiful amounts of nutrients and especially those mentioned above that play a significant role in healthy skin.
- 7 Beauty-Boosting Supplements (April 23, 2014). Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/g20453029/7-beauty-boosting-supplements/
- Bowman, Joe and Cherney, Kristen. The 4 Best Vitamins for Your Skin (August 1, 2016). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/4-best-vitamins-for-skin#7