The Science Behind Skin and Nutrition
It’s often said that “People are like Oreos. The good stuff is on the inside”. In the science world, this statement is nothing but the truth! Beauty comes from the inside. Research has connected the link between general inner-health status and outward appearance of your skin. This is the reason why flavonoids, tocopherols, carotenoids, vitamins, and other plant extracts have widely been used in skin care industries either as oral supplements or topically applied agents in an attempt to prolong the youthful appearance of your skin (1).
“While there’s no mistaking how our diet affects our overall health, we’re just beginning to understand how certain foods – or lack thereof – can impact our skin’s health,” said Dr. Taylor MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York.
It is, therefore, correct to conclude that the adage “people are what they eat” is applicable to not only your overall nutrition and health but also how your skin looks and feels. Being the largest organ in your body, your skin can benefit a lot from nutritional foods that have a positive impact on other major organs such as the heart.
One of our biggest drive to adopt nutritionally based products is the desire to improve your total skin health. People of all ages are struggling with skin conditions such as sun damage, wrinkles, dry skin, rosacea, and acne, among other. These issues are very upsetting for those who are yet to understand the science of skin and nutrition. If you fall into this lot, read on!
Start with the Basic…
Drink a lot of clean water! This is basic enough, right? Water is readily available, so you have no excuse. Drinking a lot of clean water is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin in good shape (2). It keeps your skin moist making your wrinkles less noticeable (3)—plus it’s a huge help for those people with dry skin. The science behind this is that water helps your cells take in nutrients and kick out toxins (2). Moreover, it helps in blood circulation keeping your skin active and glowing. We recommend 8 glasses of water a day! But if you consume a lot of fruits, milk, juice, and veggies you can take less because water in these foods counts towards the required daily intake.
Seek Important Minerals
The importance of minerals on your skin has heavily been overlooked, especially compared to the attention vitamins get. You should know that minerals are like “spark plugs” in your body—they carry out very important functions through enzyme reactions. Together with vitamins, they facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes in your body (4). In general, minerals help in;
- Turning what you eat into energy,
- Controlling body fluids inside and outside cells, important for skin health,
- Maintaining proper nerve conduction and PH balance,
- Providing structural support, and
- Regulating tissue growth (4).
The best place to obtain these is through consumption of whole food diets with a range of high-quality foods. The most important types of minerals that are important to your skin include Zinc, Sulfur, and Selenium.
And of course, Vitamins
Most likely you know this; Vitamins A, C, and E, among others, can all improve your skin health. But here's how: all these vitamins contain important components that help keep your skin in shape (5). For instance, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, Vitamin E and C contain important elements that are vital in reducing damages caused by free radicals (6)—damaging byproducts of pollution, smoke, and sunlight. Free radicals guzzle up elastin and collagen that are responsible for supporting skin structure, causing signs of aging such as wrinkles.
Vitamin A (retinol) is widely recognized for healthy skin (7). Since the 1980s, this nutrient has been used as an effective treatment for psoriasis and severe acne, showing how essential this vitamin is for your skin. The science behind this is that Vitamin A together with other nutrients influences the psychology of your skin by inhibiting sebaceous gland activity, moderating dermal growth factors, indorsing epidermal differentiation, and quashing androgen formation (1). It also promotes cell turnover in your skin and prevents comedones formation—the most common form of acne (Shills & Shike, 2006).
According to Georgiana Donadio, Ph.D., DC, MSc, founder, and director of the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston, "Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body's internal needs, including its nutritional needs."
Understand the needs of your skin and go for the right kind of foods for a glossy and more youthful skin.