To master skin health, remember the adage, "you are what you eat.”
We tend to stress about what to put on our skin to stay healthy and youthful. Creams, sunscreens, moisturizers, toners, and serums.
But it turns out - what we put in our bodies is even more important!
Your skin is an incredibly complex organ. But its core components - like hair and nails - are synthesized using the nutrition you ingest through your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Although creams can help, the skin is unable to absorb the nutrients required to maintain and regenerate its appearance and function.
Evolving scientific studies show that to regenerate and support skin effectively - nutrients must be taken orally and metabolized. That’s why your diet is so important!
Ultimately, ingredients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are responsible for your skin’s ability to:
Maintain collagen production
Control inflammation & skin conditions
When you fail to consume enough of these nutrients from daily nutrition, your skin shows it!
Lastly, without proper nutrition - you're more susceptible to Sun-based damage, which causes 90% of the visible signs of aging.
9 ESSENTIAL SKIN NUTRIENTS
Collagen is the main structural protein of connective tissue, including the skin. It comprises about 80% of the skin’s dry weight. However, collagen production declines with age and exposure to factors such as smoking and UV light.
Collagen is not absorbed through the skin and must be ingested to be absorbed by the GI tract. Once absorbed, collagen directly stimulates cells in your skin to produce more collagen and connective tissues, which then acts as a building block for more production.
Although there are various collagen products, not all are created equal. At HealFast®, we use a specific peptide known as VERISOL®. It’s been shown to improve skin elasticity, reduce fine lines, wrinkles, maintain skin tone, and support skin healing after surgery and injury in as little as four weeks.
2. HYALURONIC ACID (HA)
HA is a major & natural component of the skin’s extracellular matrix (ECM) and plays a vital role in dermis metabolism. It’s a natural hydrophilic molecule and has been described as “nature’s moisturizer.”
With aging, your epidermal HA content decreases from 0.03% in women aged 19 to 47, to 0.015% in women aged 60 years, then halves to 0.007% in women aged 70+ years.
Although you may have heard of HA being used in serums, lotions, or creams, HA is a huge molecule that’s incapable of fully penetrating the skin. Thus, it’s another ingredient that needs to be taken by mouth.
Oral HA solutions have been tested in clinical studies and shown to significantly increase skin elasticity, skin hydration, and a decrease in skin roughness and wrinkle depth.
We know free radicals damage healthy cells. But antioxidants hunt & neutralize free radicals. They are also essential for skin strength, growth, and healing.
They’re so essential that when amounts are low, your skin gets rough & dry, takes longer to heal (e.g., bruises & sunburns); and existing wrinkles become deeper. You may even get eczema, psoriasis, or dandruff!
So, what are these antioxidants? The most well-studied antioxidants in skincare are vitamins E, A, and C.
Vitamin C, for example, has been shown to prevent & treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photo-damage, dry skin, and the formation of new wrinkles and pigmentation.
Natural sources: berries, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables.
4. VITAMIN B COMPLEX
B-Vitamins are responsible for some incredibly diverse functions in human physiology, including skin physiology. The most common include thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, biotin, pantothenate, B-6, B-12, choline, inositol, and folate.
B vitamins aid in cell growth and are critical for wound healing, combating infections, and mitigating acne & sunburns. By boosting your metabolism and circulation, they also slow down premature aging.
Vitamin B Complex deficiencies often result in a pale complexion, dandruff, eczema, pigmentation issues & even skin lesions.
Natural sources: fish & poultry, beans, legumes.
5. VITAMIN D
Your skin produces most of the Vitamin D in your body when the Sun’s rays hit it. The rest is found in your diet.
Interestingly, Vitamin D helps treat psoriasis and decreases skin inflammation. Deficiency can result in reduced skin vitality, tone, and texture.
Natural sources: Sunlight (only 15 minutes of daily direct sunlight is needed), fish, milk, fruit, and juice.
Minerals like Zinc & Copper are essential co-factors in your skin’s health and collagen creation. They support wound & skin recovery by promoting rapid cell growth and boosting the immune system. Along with vitamins A & B; Zinc & Copper help treat acne and support hair growth.
Other minerals, like Iodine, can increase the skin’s oxygen consumption and metabolic rate, which may help fight infections.
Natural sources: vegetables, nuts or seeds & fruits.
7. ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Essential fatty acids are vital for beautiful and healthy skin. The only way to get them is through food (fish) or supplements (e.g., Omega-3 or -6).
For example, Omega-6 fatty acids soften skin and aid in healing eczema, psoriasis, and skin wounds. Also, they boost skin moisture and balance skin oil & sebum production.
Natural sources: Fish (Salmon or Mackerel), flaxseed, soybeans, tofu, and nuts (e.g., walnuts).
Fiber is a well known and essential internal cleanser for your body. It helps remove toxins & metabolism byproducts and helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Too much bad cholesterol reduces your skin’s vitality. A telltale sign is usually seen as small, yellow skin bumps around the eyes near the eyelids.
Natural sources: whole grains, vegetables, nuts.
Water is an essential but critical element in combating skin aging and poor complexion. When dehydrated, your skin looks dry, dull, and flakey. It also makes those fine lines and wrinkles more prominent.
As you age, your cell membranes get weaker and lose some of their ability to regulate their water content.
You’ve heard that the human body is ~80% water. Well – by age 50, it drops to ~50%. As such, daily and consistent water consumption and level maintenance are critically important. It is also why it’s important to moisturize after age 30!
Staying hydrated is critical to maintaining healthy skin.
So drink as much as you can each day. You should aim to drink (in ounces) half your body weight each day, and more if you tend to exercise or sweat a lot.
A secure telltale sign of whether you are dehydrated or not is to check your urine’s color. Dark yellow? Drink more water!
Read more in our White Paper
We hope you enjoyed this post and found its material useful and insightful. Feel free to leave us comments or questions below.
~The HealFast Medical Team