Among the most important new dermatologic discoveries is the power of
vitamins to counter the effects of sun exposure and photo aging.
The following vitamins and supplements have shown to help improve skin health:
Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance and repair of
skin tissue. If your vitamin A levels drop even a little below normal,
you're likely to see some skin-related symptoms, including a dry, flaky
complexion. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamin A. You can
also get vitamin through a good multi-vitamin. Topical vitamin A can
also make a significant difference to your skin. Medical studies show
a reduction in lines and wrinkles, good acne control, and some
psoriasis relief, all from using creams containing this nutrient.
Vitamin B Complex. When it comes to skin, the single most important B
vitamin is biotin, a nutrient that forms the basis of skin, nail, and
hair cells. Without adequate amounts, you may end up with dermatitis
(an itchy, scaly skin reaction). Even a mild deficiency causes
symptoms. Biotin is found in many foods including bananas, eggs,
oatmeal, and rice, plus your body also makes some biotin on its own.
Just recently, greater attention is being paid to topical preparations
containing B vitamins to help hydrate skin cells and increase overall
tone. Niacin, a specific B vitamin, has anti-inflammatory properties to
soothe dry, irritated skin. It can also help skin retain moisture.
Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C and E help by reducing the damage caused by
free radicals, a harmful byproduct of sunlight, smoke, and pollution.
Free radicals decrease collagen and elastin, the fibers that support
skin structure, causing wrinkles and other signs of aging. In research
presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of
Dermatology, Duke University researcher Sheldon Pinnell and colleagues
demonstrated that "appreciable photo protection can be obtained from
topical vitamins C and E."Supplementation with natural Vitamin E in 400
mg per day has been noted to reduce photo damage, wrinkles and improve
skin texture." This research has been backed up by a more recent study.
The Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported in February 2005 that
people who take vitamins C and E in the long term reduced their
sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation. Further, researchers saw a
reduction of factors linked to DNA damage within skin cells, leading
them to conclude that antioxidant vitamins help protect against DNA
damage. According to the American Academy of Dermatology when these two
vitamins are combined in a lotion, they can be highly protective
against sun damage. To make sure your diet includes plenty of vitamin
C, eat citrus fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C such as bell
peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens. These foods can
replace the loss of the vitamin through the skin. You can find vitamin
E in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, and asparagus. But
it's difficult to get a lot from food; so many people take a
supplement. (Be aware, though, that some recent research warns that
large doses of vitamin E can be harmful. Stay with 400 international
units per day or less to be on the safe side.) Used in a cream, lotion,
or serum form, vitamin E can soothe dry, rough skin, according to the
American Academy of Dermatology.
Vitamin K. Studies presented to the American Academy of Dermatology in
2003 showed that topical vitamin K works well to reduce circles under
the eye as well as bruises. When combined with vitamin A in a cream,
vitamin K can improve dark circles under the eyes. In a study published
in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, doctors from the Nippon Medical
School in Tokyo found that the topical application of a gel containing
a derivative of vitamin K, as well as vitamins A, C, and E, was
effective in reducing dark under-eye circles while also decreasing
Alpha-Lipoic Acid. A powerful antioxidant, hundreds of times more
potent that either vitamin C or E, alpha-lipoic acid may turn out to be
a super boost for aging skin. What makes it so special, say skin
experts, is its ability to penetrate both oil and water, affecting skin
cells from both the inside and the outside of the body. Most other
antioxidants can do one but not both.
Copper. Copper together with vitamin C and the mineral zinc, copper
helps to develop elastin, the fibers that support skin structure from
underneath. Food sources of copper includes whole grain cereals,
Legumes, Oysters, Organ meats, Cherries, Dark chocolate, Fruits, Leafy
green vegetables, Nuts, Poultry, Prunes, soybeans, Tofu, Organ meats,
Shellfish, Nuts, legumes.
DMAE. DMAE is a powerful antioxidant that works mostly by deactivating
their power to harm skin cells. It also helps stabilize the membrane
around the outside of each cell so that assaults from sun damage and
cigarette smoke are reduced. Studies show that DMAE also prevents the
formation of lipofucsin, the brown pigment that becomes the basis for
age spots. As with alpha-lipoic acid, DMAE is available in supplements
and in topical creams.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). EFAs are crucial to the production of
skin's natural oil barrier. Without an adequate supply of EFAs, the
skin produces a more irritating form of sebum, or oil, which can result
in problems. Two of the key EFAs are omega-3 and omega-6. Most people
get enough omega-6s from cooking oils, poultry, grains but lack
omega-3s. Omega 3-s are found mostly in cold-water fish, including
salmon, sardines, and mackerel, flaxseed, and flax and safflower oils.
Hyaluronic Acid. Research shows that Hyaluronic acid may play a role in
skin cells, acting as a kind of glue that helps hold them together,
keeping skin looking smoother and younger. It also helps hydrate skin
cells since it has an ability to hold water, up to 1,000 times its
weight, which means more moisture in each skin cell.
Selenium. A number of scientists believe this mineral plays a key role
in skin cancer prevention by combating free radicals. The antioxidant
properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free