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Check the label of just about any natural beauty product, and you’ll see most formulas contain vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. It’s not just a marketing ploy; these nutrients play a big role in the health of our skin. “Virtually all of the skin’s beauty functions depend on nourishment from the nutrients you consume,” says Kat James, author of The Truth About Beauty. Here’s a look at the beauty benefits of some of our favorite skin supplements:
- Lessens the visible effects of sun damage and rosacea, a chronic skin condition that enlarges blood vessels and makes the face red and blotchy
- Treats acne by reducing the body’s production of sebum.
Vitamin A is vital skin supplement for healthy cell reproduction and regulates how fast skin cells grow and shed from the skin’s surface. “It’s also a strong exfoliant that gives skin a smoother appearance and texture,” adds Manjula Jegasothy, MD, medical director of the Miami Skin Institute.
- Stimulates wound healing
- Prevents acne breakouts
Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is a hydrator that helps skin retain moisture. And research has shown that pantothenic acid skin supplements can help reduce acne breakouts.
- Helps heal wounds
- Decreases wrinkles caused by the sun’s UV rays
As a skin supplement, vitamin C is known for helping to stimulate production of collagen, a protein substance in the second layer of the skin responsible for helping it stay firm and youthful looking. It also neutralizes free radicals stimulated by the sun, which can cause skin damage.
Essential Fatty Acids
- Fight off dry-skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- Improve overall complexion via internal hydration
Essential fatty acids are “good” fats (not formed in the body) that develop a protective barrier within the skin. They convert into prostaglandin hormones, which determine the moistness of skin. “Essential fatty acids are vital in helping the skin combat inflammatory skin conditions and retain its youthful appearance,” says James.
- Helps prevent scarring
- Acts as a natural sunscreen
- Lessens the effects of acne
Zinc works with vitamin A to maintain healthy skin. “It scavenges free radicals that lead to wrinkles and precancerous cells,” says James. “And studies have shown it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.” In fact, while zinc is a staple ingredient in topical natural sunscreens, research shows that it’s also a promising skin supplement for treating acne and atopic dermatitis.
In addition to taking skin supplements, look for dietary sources of skin-nourishing nutrients, including:
- Excellent: carrots, kale, cantaloupe, red bell peppers
- Very good: green beans, cucumbers (with peel), watermelon, Brussels sprouts
- Excellent: corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast
- Very good: whole-grain bread, sweet potatoes, peanuts, wheat germ
- Excellent: broccoli, oranges, strawberries, papaya
- Very good: winter squash, blueberries, plums
Essential Fatty Acids
- Excellent: cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseeds
- Very good: cauliflower, cabbage
- Excellent: walnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts
- Very good: almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds
- Excellent: red meat, shellfish
- Very Good: spinach, cremini mushrooms