Over the last few weeks, I’ve realised that I answer a lot of questions on how to handle misbehaving skin and I dole out a lot of info about which product is good for what and what to avoid etc, but I’ve been thinking, it’s about time to also focus on the skin, but from the inside, looking at what we NEED to be eating for good clear balanced skin specifically focussing on vitamins and antioxidants.
A diet that is rich in vitamins and antioxidants really helps to protect the integrity of the skin, combat the damage from free radicals, pollution and the ageing process. Your skin will grow old gracefully if you eat your vits! I don’t want this to be science lesson, so this is just a brief over view of what I think are some of the most important elements for healthy skin.
Helps keep skin cells intact and stop them from dying before they reach the skin’s surface. If cells die prematurely, it increases the likelihood of blocked pores which can then cause a host of other skin complaints. Like one of my favourites ‘why is my skin so dull?’ So eat your green leafy vegetables and carrots. Oily fish is also good. Salmon, anyone?
Important for collagen, which is what holds everything in the skin together. No collagen, droopy and saggy skin. So skin then looks older. Very simple. So eat kiwi, so much more vitamin C in them than oranges and eat berries.
I love me some vitamin E. With my dark skin and legendary ability to scar, I always have it to hand in a topical form. But I also make sure I eat foods that are high in vitamin E because it reduces scarring, quickens healing, tackles dry skin and improves the overall quality of skin. Liver (eeeww) is high in vitamin E. Great if you can stomach it, otherwise wheatgerm, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, green veg and egg yolk are good.
I cannot talk about the benefits of this mineral enough. Without it in our diets, we would just wither. It is so necessary for growth, repair of cells and wound healing. Lack of zinc can cause excessive dry skin as well as excessive oily skin which can lead to all manner of things including acne. Zinc is also helps the healing of persistent infection and slow wound healing. When my OH (who is also diabetic) suffered from razor bumps for over 3 years, the one thing the trichologist recommended was zinc supplements. It really made a difference to the speed of healing and razor bumps are GONE!
Zinc rich foods include seafood, popcorn (cinema does have benefits), wheatgerm, eggs and pumpkin seeds.
Bioflavonoids & Selenium
These are other minerals that work in synergy with vitamins to keep the body and skin ticking over nicely. Research shows that bioflavonoids work to improve the potency of antioxidants, support cells and collagen. Honey and the rind of lemons are a good source. Honey and lemon tea anyone?
With selenium, which is also an antioxidant , only tiny amounts are needed. It works together with vitamin C and E protecting against free radical and pollution damage to the skin. A deficiency in it can show up as dry and flaking skin. Can be found in cashew nuts, onions and tomatoes.
If you’re eating a balanced diet, the likelihood is that you will be getting your recommended daily allowance of these vitamins and minerals. But if you’re not, help can come in the form of multi vitamin pills. There are many types and its best to do some research as to what would particularly work for you.