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Key Nutrients for Skin Health

Thursday March 4, 2021
Key Nutrients for Skin Health

Everyone wants softer, smoother skin, but did you know nutrition can influence skin integrity, health and even beauty? We look at how to keep your skin hydrated, food and nutrients for skin health along with practical lifestyle tips.

The role of the skin

 

Skin has many different functions. It is the largest organ in the body, with the average person’s skin covering an area of two square metres. Skin is made up of three layers, the outer layer (epidermis), the middle layer (dermis) and the deepest layer (subcutaneous). Skin plays a role in regulating your body temperature. When you get too hot the blood vessels near the surface of the skin get bigger to allow the warm blood to cool down.


Hydration is a key element in skin health. Dehydrated skin can be caused by external elements such as weather, unhealthy diet and inadequate water. Everyone is aware of the importance of water when it comes to skin health. Without adequate water, skin will not shed its outer layer frequently enough and dead cells can build up on the surface causing the skin to feel rough.


Skin acts as a barrier to help protect against harmful microbes entering the body. Microbes can enter the skin if it is broken. However, if the skin is cut the blood produces a clot which seals the wound and prevents microbes from entering.


Skin protects you from ultraviolet light which is commonly known to damage cells. Exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause aging of the skin and signs of sun damage, including wrinkles, liver spots and leathery skin. There are key nutrients for skin health and practical lifestyle tips to support the health of your skin.



Support for skin hydration

 

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a compound naturally occurring in skin and its main role is to aid in the hydration of skin. It has a large water-retaining capacity and has been labelled as the ‘natures moisturiser’ due to this function.  There is approximately 50% of hyaluronic acid found in the skin, where it operates in maintaining tissue hydration and supporting the transport of nutrients to the dermal cells. Hyaluronic acid is popular for its use in reducing fine lines and wrinkles.


Ceramides

Ceramides are the lipid components of the outermost layer of the skin – the epidermis. They hold together the skin cells to keep the skin barrier intact and healthy. Ceramides are vital to maintaining the health, hydration, and appearance of your skin. They are a major structural component of your skins cellular membrane and make up 50%, the largest portion of the skin’s protective barrier. A reduction of ceramide synthesis with age is a feature of the skin ageing.


Phytoceramides

Phytoceramides are plant-derived ceramides found in wheat, rice, and sweet potatoes. They can be digested, absorbed, and utilized by keratinocytes, the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of the skin, to create new ceramides and improve your skin health.


 

Superfoods for skin health

 

Berries

Berries are a small rounded, brightly coloured edible fruit rich in proanthocyanidins (OPCs). These berries support skin health and boost a youthful appearance. Proanthocyanidins effectively protect collagen structures in many ways. They reinforce the collagen matrix of connective tissue and inhibit collagen damage caused by inflammation and infection.


Avocado

Avocados are a fruit which grow on trees in warmer climates and are the highest fruit source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient known for protecting against cell damage by neutralizing free radicals which causes skin to age.


Onions and garlic

Sulphur is an essential dietary component responsible for maintaining the bonds between certain amino acids. It has a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of connective tissue. Onion and garlic are well known for reducing inflammation and decreasing pain. Onions are a great source of antioxidants and they can help to detoxify the body by removing toxins from the bloodstream.


Omega 3’s

Omega 3 fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory properties which aid in inflammatory skin conditions. Inflammation is the body’s immune response to an irritant and so the body tries to fight against the harmful irritant. Flaxseed and hemp oil are great alternatives to fish oils, and they are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acid – a type of fatty acid that is essential for cell membrane structure and fluidity, aiding with skin appearance.


Flaxseed oil is well known for its high levels of omega 3 fatty acid - alpha linolenic acid (ALA), containing levels between 40%-60%. Supplementation with flaxseed oil has shown significant reductions in skin sensitivity, roughness and scaling. Flaxseed oil has also shown encouraging results in smoothness and hydration of the skin.


Hemp seed has been an important source of nutrition for many years. It contains over 30% of oil and 25% of protein, with adequate amounts of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Hemp seed oil contains high levels of ALA.


 

Practical tips to keep your skin healthy

 

Here are some practical lifestyle tips to help nourish your skin from the inside out:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15
  • Avoid stress & practicing mindfulness activities
  • Eat healthy
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get exercise
  • Avoid polluted environments


Author: Rupinder Dhanjal is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and Health.



The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

 

TAGS: NewsWomen, Women's Health, Skin Appearance, Ultimate Beauty

 

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