Nutrition for healthy skin

Numerous vitamins, minerals and other nutrients influence the quality, health and beauty of our skin very efficiently.

Vitamins and minerals have a very important role in maintaining a healthy tan, no matter if they are used in the form of creams and skin care lotions or are ingested in the form of food and supplements. Health experts emphasize that our skin is the mirror of processes in the entire organism, and so many of the skin diseases and ageing are just the manifestation of the body’s needs, including the needs for nutrients and vitamins.

To date, many researches have been done that point out to the enormous power of antioxidants and certain nutrients with high contents of them. Combined with a balanced diet, vitamin and mineral supplements also make the skin look healthier and younger.

What are the nutrients required to make the skin look fresh and prettier?

Vitamins that improve skin looks and quality are vitamins of C, E, A, K and B complex.

Vitamin C

Among the most important dermatological discoveries is the antioxidant power of vitamin C, which battles the harmful influences caused by excessive Sun exposure. Free radicals, made by exposing the skin to the Sun, damage the collagen and elastin, fibers that maintain the skin structure, leading to wrinkles, spots, precancerous or other signs of ageing. To be sure that you consume a sufficient amount of vitamin C eat groceries such as paprika, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and citrus fruit. Also, you can take vitamin C supplements, from 500 to 1000 mg a day. Lately there is an increased use of vitamin C creams that stimulate the production of collagen. In order for the vitamin C to pass through all of the skin layers and exhibit its positive effect, it must be used in the form of L-ascorbic acid.

Vitamin E

Like vitamin C, this very powerful antioxidant helps with removal of damaging influences on the skin caused by the exposure to the Sun. By taking 400 units of vitamin E a day cancerous cell damage from solar radiation is reduced. If vitamins E and A are used together, the risk of developing basocellular skin carcinoma, which is a very common skin carcinoma, is reduced up to 70%. Vitamin E also helps to reduce skin wrinkles, it is found in plant oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach. It is difficult to obtain a sufficient amount of this vitamin through food, and that’s why it is recommended to take additional 400 units of supplements a day. Larger doses than recommended can be harmful because they lead to increased bleeding. Also, vitamin E can be used in the form of creams or lotions when skin dryness and wrinkling are reduced.

Vitamin A

If the level of vitamin A in your food is sufficient and balanced, it is not necessary to supplement it with vitamin A, because it can have an opposite effect in the form of skin dryness and peeling. In moderate amounts, vitamin A is necessary for skin tissue regeneration. Fruits and vegetables are overflowing with beta carotene which metabolizes into vitamin A in the organism. In the form of a cream it can be used to reduce wrinkles, treat acne and psoriasis. Its primary use is for treating acne when it is used in the form of Retinol.

Vitamin B complex

When it comes to skin, the most important from the vitamin B group is biotin (B7), the nutrient that makes the base of our skin, nails and hair cells. Without enough of this vitamin a skin inflammation develops in the form of a rash, peeling, sometimes even hair loss. Even a mild lack of biotin can cause symptoms. Biotin is found in many supplies, mostly in bananas, eggs and rice. Lately a lot of attention is given to cream mixtures that contain vitamin B. These creams help with skin hydration and increase the overall tone. Niacin (B3) is a specific form of vitamin B that keeps the skin moist. When it is in creams, the effect is visible after 6 days of application. Niacin has an anti-inflammatory effect, it is used to pacify the dry, irritated skin. In larger concentration it has a brightening effect on the dark spots on the skin. Pantothenic acid (B5) is used widely in damaged and dried skin.

Vitamin K

As a nutrient important for stopping bleeding, vitamin K has no significant effect on the skin if it is consumed as food. Some research says that vitamin K can influence the reduction of dark circles under the eyes and bruises on the skin. In the form of creams, vitamin K is combined with vitamins A, C and E in order to achieve the desired effect.

Minerals that improve skin quality

Most research that concerns skin shows that additional mineral input is not necessary. This especially refers to the persons that drink healthy water with natural supplies of important minerals. Washing the face with mineral water helps to reduce skin irritation, and the minerals themselves help the cells to absorb more water.

Selenium

Scientists believe that this mineral has a key role in preventing skin cancer. Taken in the form of a supplement or a cream, this mineral protects the skin from damage caused by the Sun. If you spend a lot of time in the Sun, selenium will reduce the possibility of burns, and risk of skin cancer. The best sources of selenium are the whole wheat grains, nut fruits such as Brazilian nut, seafood, garlic and eggs.

Copper

Copper, together with vitamin C and zinc, helps the development of elastin, fibers that support the skin structure. The lack of this mineral occurs very rarely, and doctors warn that taking it in the form of supplements can be dangerous.

Zinc

If there are skin acne, zinc is a very important mineral. Sometimes acne can be a symptom of a lack of zinc. Taken orally or in a form of a cream, zinc decreases the production of fats, and can very efficiently control the formation of new acne and treatment of the existing ones. Food rich in zinc is red meat, oysters, poultry.

Also, some of the latest research points out that except vitamins and minerals that influence the look of the skin, a good effect can come from other nutrients that are taken with food or applied locally. Most important for skin quality are:

Alpha-lipoic acids

Alpha-lipoic acids are very powerful antioxidants, stronger than vitamin C or E and so they slow down the skin ageing process. What makes them so special is the ability to penetrate into oils and into water, and therefore influence the skin cells inside and out of the body. The alpha-lipoic acids protect the cells from damage caused by free radical and can be taken in the form of supplements and creams.

DMAE

DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) is a very powerful antioxidant and a nutrient that has an affinity to free radical. It helps to stabilize the cell membranes, and so the damage caused by the Sun or pollution is less prominent. DMAE also prevents the creation of lipofuscin, brown pigment that is a basis for the formation of dark spots. It is available in the form of supplements for mesotherapy or in the form of creams.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a component of every living organism, it has a significant role in joint lubrication, so that the wrist can be moved easily and smoothly. Considering that the hyaluronic acid is an intercellular substance it affects the cells as a sort of a glue that holds them together, making the skin smooth and full. It has a great capability to bind water, even a 1000 times its weight, which means more water in every skin cell. Today, it is popular to use hyaluronic acid creams and hyaluronic acid fillers. It is equally powerful if it is taken as a food supplement but isn’t present in natural foods.

Essential fatty acids

If your skin is dry, prone to inflammations, there is probably a lack of essential fatty acids that are important for production of fats that create a natural barrier of the skin. Without adequate amount of these acids the skin produces other irritating forms of fats that can lead to inflammations. It is important to establish a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the organism. While omega-6 acids are consumed in large enough quantities from pastries, cooking oils, poultry and cereals, omega-3 acids are very often missing. They can be found in fish from cold waters, including salmon, sardines or mackerel. Taking supplements in the form of fish oil we help our skin look younger and smoother.

Most people can get all of the nutrients necessary for healthy skin by healthy and balanced diet. Multivitamins can be used as supplements too. It is necessary to consume a large enough quantity of fluids, use mild skin cleaning products, creams with supplements, and with balanced diet this will result in nice and fresh skin.

Spec. Dr. Sladjana Cvejic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade, Serbia