By Aliza Marogy, Founder of InessaWhen considering skincare, we often focus on topical solutions, whether the aim is for clearer skin, guarding against fine lines and boosting glow, or managing inflammatory skin conditions. But as our skin is the largest organ of the body, what’s going on externally, is often reflective of our overall physical health. Nutrient deficiencies, stress, and hormonal imbalances can all affect the health and appearance of our skin. Many concerns can be addressed topically, but diet and lifestyle measures can and should be used alongside lotions and serums, to help tackle skin issues from within. Here are some of the best nutrients for healthy, glowing skin:
1) Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids not only help keep skin soft and supple, they also help balance hormones and regulate oil production. This can benefit sufferers of inflammatory skin conditions including acne and eczema, whilst also slowing the visible signs of ageing by improving skin hydration;- boosting elasticity and glow.
Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA need to be obtained through diet or supplements. The best food source is oily fish, including salmon, mackerel and sardines, and a regular intake is required to get optimal amounts.
We often recommend our Advanced Omega 3 fish oil to help support dietary intake, as not everyone is keen on seafood. Vegan alternatives to fish oil supplements are also available, so those on a plant based diet can still supplement with omega 3s, but may need to take several capsules per day, as dosing of EPA and DHA in algae-sourced supplements tends to be quite low.
2) Vitamin C
Found in many topical skin care products, Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for skin. When it comes to direct application through the use of creams and serums, vitamin C has robust evidence to show it’s protective powers against ageing of the skin caused by sun exposure, and also helps minimise unwanted pigmentation marks.
Dietary vitamin C is also essential in the fight against premature ageing. It’s required to create collagen, a protein found in our connective tissue that provides strength and cushioning to our skin. Collagen naturally depletes in the body as we get older, leading to wrinkles and sagging.
Vitamin C can be taken through supplements, but is also readily available through food. Fruit, vegetables and some herbs contain this vitamin in abundance, with peppers, parsley, broccoli and other dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and berries amongst the best sources.
Zinc is a key mineral for helping to slow the signs of ageing, owing to the role it plays in collagen production. It can also benefit those struggling with acne, as it helps regulate the amount of testosterone in the body, a hormone which plays a significant role in the development of the condition.
4) Vitamin A
Vitamin A acts as a powerful antioxidant to help minimise free radical damage, one of the main causes of ageing.This nutrient is also used by our bodies to reproduce and grow skin cells. Vitamin A’s role in regulating skin cell turnover means that not only does it help boost glow and overall skin quality, but it also may benefit those with inflammatory skin conditions.
Vitamin A is found in foods such as oily fish, eggs and liver. But you don’t have to eat animal protein sources to benefit. Many plant foods are rich in beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A on an ‘as-needed’ basis. Spinach, kale, carrots and sweet potatoes are all good sources.
5) Co-Enzyme Q10Co-Enzyme Q10, otherwise known as CoQ10, is a popular and well-studied supplement for heart health, which can also help improve energy levels for some people. CoQ10 is also used in some topical skincare lines, as it is a powerful antioxidant known to protect the health of the skin and have anti-ageing properties. There’s evidence to show that when taken as a supplement, CoQ10 can improve skin thickness, hydration and skin elasticity. CoQ10 is hard to come by in food, and is naturally produced in our bodies. However, our production of CoQ10 reduces with age, and supplementation is the best way to boost our levels.
Probiotics are the name given to live bacteria and yeasts that confer health benefits in the body. Supplementing with specific probiotics has been shown to be effective in supporting immune function and reducing inflammation associated with many skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis. Live bacteria strains with evidence to show benefit in sufferers, include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Bifidobacterium infantis and Bifidobacterium longum.