Girl with Tomatoes
Part of a great skin regimen is proper nutrition. Getting the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients improves skin's tone, texture and elasticity. In some instances supplementation can also diminish the vestiges of ageing on skin.
A dry, flaky complexion can be a symptom of a vitamin A deficiency. The addition of vitamin A either through supplementation or diet can maintain skin moisture and support elasticity. It has also proven effective in the treatment of psoriasis. Foods high in vitamin A include liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, spinach and cantaloupe.
Vitamin B Complex
Overall, vitamin B complex helps maintain skin's elasticity and tone, but one in particular is most important for skin health. Biotin is integral in the production of skin, nail and hair cells. In fact, a deficiency of biotin can manifest in hair loss. Niacin, another B vitamin, assists skin with moisture retention. According to a scientific study undertaken by Niadyne Incorporated, new cream formulations containing Pro-Niacin, a patented lipophilic (fat-loving) molecule formulated from niacin, have proven effective at increasing skin plumpness and youthful appearance. It is also useful in reducing inflammation in dry skin and evening skin tone. Ingestion of niacin is equally effective in improving skin's appearance and elasticity. To avoid niacin flushing, look for the non-flushing brand. Foods high in these vitamins include turkey, tuna, lentils, bananas, wheat bran, potatoes, tempeh, barley and oats.
According to the "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology," scientists at a German University found that vitamin C helps protect the skin against the sun's ultraviolet rays. According to Linus Pauling, ingestion of vitamin C helps increase collagen production which can slow or in some cases reverse the signs of ageing. Per noted physician Christiane Northrup, topical preparation of vitamin C is also effective in improving skin elasticity. Citrus fruits, orange juice, bell peppers, broccoli and dark leafy greens are all high in vitamin C.
Per Karen E. Burke M.D., a researcher from Duke University, vitamin E is effective against sun damage and wrinkling. It also improves skin texture. There are concerns about vitamin E toxicity, so the maximum recommended dosage is limited to 400 IU per day. Vitamin E can be found in foods such as olive oil, nuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds.
Vitamin C and E are both antioxidants which means they help to rid the body of free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that have an unshared electron. They are the byproducts of exposure to the sun, pollution and smoking and also cause significant cellular damage. Many chronic diseases are associated with free-radical damage.
According to researchers at the University of Masstricht in the Netherlands, vitamin K has proven effective against psuedoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). PXE is an inherited condition that results in excessive wrinkling of the face and skin. However, no studies have been undertaken looking at the correlation between vitamin K and age-related wrinkling and loss of elasticity. Foods high in vitamin K include kale, greens, scallions, turnips, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and sauerkraut.
CoQ10, Ellagic Acid, Proanthocyanidins,DMAE, Glutathione, Polyphenols and Alpha Lipoic Acid are all part of a crop of super antioxidants. The American Dietetic Association touts them as powerful fighters in the battle against cancer, as well integral to boosting systemic immunity. They increase lost collagen as well as elastin. Elastin is a protein that increases skin flexibility and tautness. (For more information on these super antioxidants, please check the Resource section.) Find these antioxidants in foods such as apples, raspberries, cocoa, green tea, black tea, pomegranate and strawberries.
Essential Fatty Acids(EFA)
Omega-3 and omega-6 (linoleic acid) are considered "good fats" and they have been getting a lot of press. According to a study by Agriculture Research group, Owington and Associates, EFA's found in emu oil are also useful in improving the appearance of skin elasticity and texture. Omega-6 is quite plentiful in the food supply; however, most people are deficient in omega-3. Add salmon, sardines, mackeral, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, canola and pumpkin seeds to your diet.