November has been designated Healthy Skin Month by the American Academy of Dermatology. What many people don’t realize is that healthy skin starts from within. How you eat can really impact your skin. I happen to be one of those lucky people who has pretty good skin and I get asked a lot as an RD is “what can I eat to have my skin look like yours?” Well the following is a list of essential nutrients, how they contribute to skin health, and where to get them in our diets.
Vitamin A repairs and maintains skin, supports new cell growth, reduces dryness and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
Sources: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, mango
Vitamin E protects skin cells from sun damage and helps retain moisture.
Sources: nuts, seeds, olives, swiss chard
Biotin forms the basis of skin, hair and nails.
Sources: bananas, eggs, oatmeal
Selenium protects against sun damage.
Sources: garlic, salmon, brazil nuts
Zinc controls oil production, key in cell growth.
Sources: Pumpkin seeds, pecans, oysters, oats, eggs
Omega-3 Fatty Acids keep top layer of skin strong and intact to protect against toxins and pollutants. EPA is in cell membranes and transports nutrients into and waste out of the cell, regulates inflammation, retains moisture, promotes cell turnover, and distributes melanin evenly. Omega-3’s protect again photo-aging and wrinkles by preventing free radical and oxidative damage.
Sources: Anchovies, bluefish, herring, mackerel, salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed), sardines, sturgeon, lake trout, tuna, walnuts, flax and chia seeds
Water! Our skin is an organ, and just like any other part of the body, is made up of cells. Cells made up of water, so without water, our organs, including our skin does not function at its best. If your skin is not getting enough water, it can be dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling.
Now while it’s important to start from inside, it’s also key to note that our skin absorbs 60% of products that we put on it. That means chemicals in various soaps, lotions, and makeups can be absorbed into the skin and affect the rest of our bodies. Many companies use harsh synthetic fragrances in their skin-, hair-, and body-care products.
Thorne Research, a company that we purchase many of our supplements from at Bordeaux Nutrition®, has a line of cosmetics that are free from chemicals and additives. The Thorne Organics’ formulations are made without the use of 27 commonly used harsh ingredients and are void of any ingredients containing derivatives of wheat or whey. Check out the Thorne Organics Skin Care NO List for more information.
Another great resources is EWG’s Skin Deep database provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market.