Good skin care starts with top-of-the-line cleansers, moisturizers, masks, and toners, right? Wrong. The secret to healthier skin is proper nutrition. While certain natural ingredients can assist with fine line or wrinkle reduction, nothing contributes to youthful glow, vibrant complexion, and hydrated skin more than a healthy diet.
Now, a healthy diet can mean many things to different individuals. With so many diets that promise miraculous weight loss transformations or better organ function, how can you know which one is right for you? The better question to ask is, “Which one is best for your skin?” Your skin is the largest organ in the body and requires certain vitamins for optimal function, and while there isn’t a skin-specific diet, there are nutrients that can enhance the appearance of your skin.
One last thing before we inform you of the vitamins. While you can supplement with the vitamins on this list, it is beneficial to obtain them through natural foods. If you find that you cannot get a sufficient amount of a certain vitamin through your diet, consider supplementing.
The Best Vitamins For Your Skin
Vitamin A functions both as a vitamin and an antioxidant. Many research studies found that vitamin A works to increase cell turnover, which contributes to better skin tone and a reduced risk of acne. Vitamin A can also increase the thickness of skin by promoting collagen production. A 12-week study found that supplementing with vitamin A helped to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. You can find vitamin A in carrots, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, mangos, cantaloupe, butternut squash, and apricots.
If you don’t regularly consume vitamin C-rich foods, kiss your dream of healthy skin goodbye. Not only does vitamin C work to increase collagen production, but it also has many anti-aging properties. On top of that, vitamin C is naturally found in both the dermis (inner layer of the skin) and the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). When you consume the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C, which is 1,000 milligrams, your skin is better protected from harmful UV rays. It also helps to accelerate the healing of damaged skin, and may even reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Get your vitamin C from guavas, kiwis, bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
While too much sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer and UV damage, daily sun exposure is necessary to optimize vitamin D levels. The skin can synthesize vitamin D from sunlight exposure and you need vitamin D to optimize calcium absorption and bone health. Once the skin absorbs vitamin D, the liver and kidneys transport it throughout the body to create healthy new cells. Vitamin D has been known to improve psoriasis by reducing inflammation and irritation. The best way to get vitamin D is via direct sunlight exposure, but you can also supplement with it or consume foods like mushrooms, fortified juices or yogurts, and wild caught salmon and tuna.
Just like vitamins A & C, vitamin E is both a vitamin and an antioxidant. The body naturally produces vitamin E and it lives in sebum, which aims to protect eh skin from UV damage. Vitamin E is in many skin care products because it is an oil-soluble vitamin that works to protect the skin from oxidative damage. When you regularly consume vitamin E-rich foods, you have a better chance of having balanced skin. Often times, people with dry skin don’t include enough vitamin E in their diet. Most people require 15 milligrams of vitamin E per day. To increase your vitamin E intake, start eating hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, leafy green vegetables, avocados, butternut squash, kiwis, olive oil, and red bell pepper.
Certain B-complex vitamins may help the skin produce healthy new skin cells. There is limited research on how all B-vitamins benefit the skin, but there is evidence that vitamins B3 and B5 may reduce the signs of aging. Vitamin B3, niacin, may help to clear up dark spots on the skin and prevent further discoloration. While it’s beneficial for the skin, it also improves brain and nervous system function. Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, works to keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. It does this by preventing water loss and protecting the skin barrier. You can find vitamin B3 in nutritional yeast, wild rice, brown rice, acorn squash, and quinoa, and you can find vitamin B5 in shiitake mushrooms, avocados, wild caught salmon, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, and lentils.