Beautiful skin is firm but soft to the touch, smooth and radiant. To keep skin healthy, it’s important to take good care of our whole body since the skin’s vibrancy and texture is dependent on the health of the rest of our body. This means avoiding habits that are generally accepted as detrimental to good health, habits such as smoking, alcohol or substance abuse, and inactivity. Protecting your skin from sun damage and drinking enough water is also critical in maintaining healthy-looking skin. In addition to making healthy lifestyle choices, you can boost your skin’s health by increasing your intake of the following nutrients:
Vitamin C. Collagen makes up about 80 percent of skin’s deeper layer, called the dermis. As these fibers break down over time, wrinkles develop and skin becomes visibly looser and less firm to the touch. Vitamin C plays a critical role in maintaining the firm network of collagen fibers under the surface of the skin, preventing telltale lines and wrinkles. VC is also potent antioxidant that disarms free radicals before they can cause age spots and other blemishes. Foods that are an excellent sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, red bell peppers, berries, cantaloupe, broccoli and kale. A high intake of these foods will help support smooth, healthy-looking skin.
Vitamin E. Another potent antioxidant, vitamin E helps repair damage from sun exposure and free radicals. Damage from the sun’s ultravoilet rays is the a key factor in the premature appearance of wrinkles, freckles and age spots. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and is found in make high fat foods like vegetables oils, making it difficult to get enough if you’re avoiding fats. To get around this, try choosing vitamin E-rich foods that are sources of “good” monounsaturated fat, such as avocadoes, sunflower seeds, almonds and wheat germ. Vitamin E is also a wonderful topical emollient that is often used in high quality moisturizers.
Retinol and beta-carotene. Retinol is vitamin A from animal sources while beta-carotene, or pre-formed vitamin A, is the vegetable version of the nutrient. Natural retinol is a potent wrinkle reducer because it helps build collagen. It’s also an exfoliating agent, shedding old skin cells so that skin can maintain its youthful glow. Vitamin A is known for reducing inflammation and is particular helpful for people with acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. Carrots, spinach, salmon, sweet potatoes, collard greens and liver are all great sources of vitamin A.
Wrinkle-Free Forever by Howard Murad. St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2003. Chapters 7 and 8, pages, 91 – 108