Our skin is a fantastic indicator of health and nutrition. Wrinkles, acne, inflammation and dry skin, are all indicators that something is going amiss on the inside and chances are you’ll have to go beyond the surface to figure it out.
Although healthy skin is impacted by many factors, often relying on a combination of dietary, lifestyle and product choices to target and improve any issues, it’s well established that nourishing ourselves from the inside out through a nutrient rich diet does wonders for our skin's appearance. The wear and tear that we associate with ageing doesn’t have to be chronological, but instead biological, with the ability to be influenced and even reversed through optimal nutrition and lifestyle choices.
One of the first places to start when looking to improve the health of our skin is through the foods we eat, and although it’s important to ensure we’re consuming a healthy balanced diet, there are some nutrients that are particularly beneficial when it comes to healthy skin. Here are the four superstar skin-loving nutrients and the foods you will find them in abundance.
Essential fatty acids moisturise your skin
The two essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, are ‘essential’ as the body cannot produce them – meaning they must be consumed through our diet. Essential fats are like the skin's natural “moisturisers”, with the right fats literally moisturising our skin from the inside out. The major roles of essential fatty acids in skin health include maintaining the skin's flexibility, keeping it well moisturised and assisting in skin repair. Omega-3 is of particular benefit, helping to visibly decrease inflammation and improve the skin’s moisture level. Studies have also shown its usefulness in helping manage conditions such as acne, dermatitis and psoriasis. Today’s modern diet tends to be very unbalanced in the ratio of essential fatty acids omega-6 to omega-3, due to the prominence of omega-6 in popular foods (such as vegetable oils, grains and many processed foods). It’s vital to ensure a balanced consumption of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, as an excess can be inflammatory within the body, which not only counters healthy skin but can increase the risk of some disease.
Find it in your diet: Foods high in omega-3 include flaxseed oil and linseeds, oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, fish oil, krill oil, and shellfish.
Find it in your skincare: Oil Cleanse is made with sunflower seed oil, which is high in omega-6.
Vitamin C for glowing skin
If we’re talking beauty nutrients, vitamin C is a key player in promoting gorgeous healthy skin. Aside from its immune-boosting properties, vitamin C also acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent the damage generated by free radicals that can lead to tired and stressed out looking skin. It’s also an essential component in the formation and maintenance of collagen, an elastic protein found within connective tissue, which helps to keep skin smooth, resilient, and flexible.
Find it in your diet: vitamin C is abundant in fruits and veggies, particularly dark leafy greens, bell peppers, citrusy fruit, and berries. As your body doesn’t store vitamin C, it’s important to ensure you’re consuming foods rich in vitamin C daily.
Find it in your skincare: Gold Dust is made just two ingredients: vitamin C + CoQ10.
Zinc to repair your skin
Call it the 24-hour on-call mechanic, the mineral zinc is a superstar nutrient critical in wound healing, repairing damaged tissues and preventing scar formation – making it wonderfully helpful in an assortment of skin issues. Acne sufferers may find zinc particularly beneficial, with several studies showing that zinc helps to reduce acne through its contribution to hormonal balance, as well as through controlling the amount of oil produced by the skin.
Find it in your diet: seafood, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder and cashews.
Find it in your skincare: look for zinc oxide is found in most natural sunscreens.
Vitamin A renews the skin
There are two basic forms of vitamin A found in foods, retinoids and carotenoids. Retinoids are derived from animal products and are particularly important in the health of our eyes and in the renewal of skin cells, while carotenoids have the ability to function as antioxidants, neutralising damaging free radicals within the body. They are also anti-inflammatory, helping to slow the ageing process of the skin.
Vitamin A assists skin health in a number of ways – it’s particularly beneficial in helping to manage acne through its regulation of oil (sebum) producing skin glands. In fact, if you’ve used anti-acne or anti-aging skin care products before it’s likely you’ve come across vitamin A on the ingredients list. It also helps promote cell turnover in the skin, as well as increasing the deposition of collagen, all of which are helpful in lessening the appearance and effects of ageing.
Find it in your diet: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, dark leafy greens, liver, egg yolks, and organic butter.
Find it in your skincare: Retinol is the synthetically derived form of vitamin A in skincare. For a natural option, try bakuchiol in Illume.
Author - Sara Quilter | BSc (Hons)
Founder & CEO of Tailor SkincareSara began Tailor with a commitment to education. "With so much information bombarding us these days, it's important to get the facts so you're in the best place to make an informed choice." This ethos underpins every blog written by Sara.
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