The 10 Best Nutrients For Skin Health, Inside and Out
With the cold weather ahead, it’s important to ensure adequate availability of the nutrients that best protect skin from the inside out. After all, dewey, youthful skin is often the result of both a healthy daily diet and a well-thoughtout skin regimen.
Here are the top 10 skin protecting nutrients you should focus on:
1. Hyaluronic Acid:
Hyaluronic acid (HA) has the remarkable ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water and is, therefore, 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). The key is to find an HA product that uses a small enough molecule to penetrate deep beneath the surface of the skin so that it can lock in the kind of moisture that lends to a plump and rejuvenated looking complexion.
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Astaxanthin is the pink-hued compound found in foods such as shrimp and krill. It is one of the only carotenoid compounds that is not converted to retinol in the body, therefore, 100% of its antioxidant strengths are reserved for fighting free radicals. With prolonged use, studies have shown astaxanthin is incredible for restoring elasticity of the skin and supporting overall skin heath. In fact, one study indicated that astaxanthin may visibly improve the appearance of skin by correcting dry skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots if taken consistently for 6-8 weeks. When choosing a brand, just make sure it’s 100% all natural, as there are synthetic astaxanthin formulas on the market that are not nearly as effective.
3. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is excellent for skin both internally and topically. Its antioxidant properties protect your skin from harmful free radicals while encouraging the production of collagen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 500 to 1,000 milligrams 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, the use of topical vitamin C has seen a major uptick in recent years. It’s important to choose a brand that uses a high concentrations of lipid-soluble vitamin C, which is vital for maximum absorption.
4. Vitamin A:
Vitamin A, or its precursor, beta-carotene, can be found in carrots or spinach and ensures the proper maintenance, repair and turn over 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 universally.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids:
Omega-3s are associated with reduced inflammation and are known to increase the radiance of one’s complexion by locking in hydration. Good omega-3 sources include walnuts, flax seeds and fatty fish, such as salmon. 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.” Two brands to consider are Now Foods E-Oil and Jason Pure Beauty Oil, Vitamin E Oil 32,000 I.U., 1 oz.
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% organic brand that uses high quality ingredients.
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.
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 the inside and on 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.)