We all yearn for flawless, younger looking skin. One of the biggest motivations to adopt a healthier lifestyle is the desire to improve skin health. The quality of our skin, its appearance and radiance (or lack of it), the rate at which our skin ages, and our tendency towards inflammatory changes are very much influenced by our genetic predispositions, as well as nutrients found in our diet and the skin care products that we use on our skin.
Want fabulous, glowing, younger-looking skin? Then make sure you are getting the right nutrients into your system.
Throughout centuries, women around the world have been enjoying the anti-aging effect of vitamin C. Overexposure to sunlight coupled with environmental pollutants causes premature skin aging by damaging collagen and triggering oxidative stress, leading to formation of free radicals. Vitamin C, a rich source of antioxidants, helps by stabilising these free radicals and prevent oxidative damage.
Vitamin C also increases production of collagen and improve the quality of existing collagen for more youthful skin. A 2007 study published in American Study for Clinical Nutrition showed an improvement in wrinkling and better skin aging appearance with an increase in Vitamin C intake. Topical application of vitamin C is also a well-documented treatment for pigmentation.
Unfortunately, humans are unable to produce vitamin C and must get it from our diet. Those with genetic variations in SLC23A1 and SLC23A2 are associated with a tendency for lower levels of vitamin C. It is recommended to get this vitamin from raw, organic uncooked fruits and vegetables, as vitamin C is destroyed by cooking and heat. Lightly steaming your vegetables will lessen the nutrient loss. Good sources of vitamin C include a variety of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin E is the most abundant fat soluble antioxidant found in human skin. This vitamin first accumulates in the sebaceous glands before it is delivered to the skin surface by the sebum. It is a potent antioxidant and free-radical scavenger. Vitamin E plays a role in protecting the skin from UV-induced photo-damage, limiting DNA damage and premature aging.
Studies show that a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E causes an increase in MED (minimal erythemal dose), a measure used to provide information on photo-protection from sunlight exposure. Scientists have also found that the gamma tocotrienol form of vitamin E has the potential to regulate certain gene signals in the skin that can help prevent damages typically seen after UVB exposure. Vitamin E maintains skin barrier function, and is an excellent moisturiser by locking moisture in the skin and preventing dehydration.
Since vitamin E is fat-soluble, those with a genetic variation in APOB gene tend to develop vitamin E deficiency. The APOB gene provides instructions for making two versions of the apolipoprotein B protein necessary for the effective absorption and transportation of vitamin E. Good sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, avocados, almonds, hazelnuts and whole grains.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin with powerful antioxidant properties, and plays a critical role in maintaining healthy skin. Consuming a diet rich in a variety of different antioxidants is a way to slowing down the aging process. Vitamin A provides the best overall age-preventing property, with proven efficacy to reduce wrinkles, fade brown spots and smooth roughness.
This vitamin is essential for wound healing, and promotes skin regrowth while keeping lines and wrinkles at bay by producing more collagen. The usage of vitamin A has also proven to be effective in combating acne as it decreases sebaceous gland activity, prevents formation of comedones, and suppresses androgen formation.
Deficiency of vitamin A can lead to a poor complexion with scaly, dry and rough skin. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A. Our body converts beta-carotene to retinol, the active biological form of vitamin A. Food sources rich in beta-carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and green leafy vegetables.