In keeping with my recent articles on anti-aging and skincare basics, I realized it was also important to talk about which vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you can take for great skin.
What’s really terrific is when your skin is healthy, it’s likely that the rest of you will be, too. In this article, I’ll talk about which vitamins will make you look and feel great. And also I will talk about which nutrients you can apply topically for beautiful, glowing skin.
Make Your Skin Healthy And Glowing
Keep in mind that many of these nutrients are available in the foods you eat, particularly if you eat a balanced diet of colorful foods such as green leafy vegetables, fruits in season, whole grains, lean meats, and fish. You’ll notice that many of the vitamins and minerals I list to aid your skin and body because they’re potent antioxidants chemicals that fight the tendency for oxygen-containing free radicals to harm our cells and DNA.
Vitamin C is one of the most common supplements we take, for good reason. We even use its antioxidant properties in the kitchen. Want to keep a cut apple from turning brown in the air? Coat it with a little vitamin C-rich citrus juice. This same action also keeps your cells and DNA from breaking down when exposed to free-radical forming agents such as cigarette smoke and sunlight. Take up to 1,000 mg per day as a supplement, or add more citrus and green vegetables to your diet to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from vitamin C.
Vitamin E is another potent antioxidant that works at combating free radicals in your skin and throughout your body. While it’s safe to take in doses of up to 400 IU per day, usually the amount of vitamin E in your multivitamin will be adequate.
Folic acid is beneficial in supporting cell division and DNA production, both of which can protect your skin cells. Making sure you take at least 400 micrograms per day can help prevent skin diseases, certain forms of cancer and anemia.
Carotenoids including beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein all function as antioxidants. Find these colorful nutrients in supplement form or just add extra red, yellow and orange foods to your diet to tap into their damage-fighting mojo. Beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, another vitamin antioxidant that has been shown to fight the signs of aging, especially when vitamin A is applied topically in the form of Retin-A. (More on that in Part 2 of this article.)
Selenium, zinc, and copper are all important to your skin’s health for different reasons. Selenium is a potent antioxidant, zinc controls oil production and, along with copper, is important in the formation of skin-supporting elastin. Each of these minerals will usually show up inadequate supplies in a diet rich in nuts, meat and grains, and in your multivitamin, so don’t worry about taking extra supplements.
Fish oil is a supplement you may already be taking for its ability to protect your heart and nervous system. The good news is that according to a scientific study published in 2005, one of its Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, also fights sun damage and reduces wrinkles.
Hyaluronic acid, the same compound that’s found in our skin and in the cosmetic fillers Restylane® and Juvederm®, is available to take in supplement form. Taken orally, its water-binding nature can fill out skin for a more beautiful appearance.