By: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
Often times people focus on their skin for appearance alone; however it serves many important functions including: wound healing, immunity, and blood pressure regulation.1
Your skin is constantly defending your body from exposure to the harsh environment.1 The aftermath can be skin damage from dryness, sun exposure, bruises and cuts. So how do you take care of your skin to maintain its beauty and functionality?
The common response is for people to list the multitudes of cleansers, moisturizers, masks, creams and sunscreens that they put on their skin daily. The cosmetic industry develops these products to contain essential nutrients that are absorbed into the skin. These are the same nutrients found in your diet that promote skin health!
Nutrition & Skin
If you see a skin care product that contains the ingredient Retinoid, this is a term for a powerful form of Vitamin A used for treatment of acne, psoriasis and commonly found in wrinkle creams.2,3 In your diet, vitamin A is essential to the growth and development of skin cells.4, 5
This vitamin is used in many skin care products for its ability to help produce collagen and protect against damage to the skin tissue.6 Collagen is a protein found in the middle layer of the skin which keeps it strong and flexible.
Vitamins A, C, and E are all antioxidants that are extremely important for skin health. Your skin acts as a barrier to the outside environment. This results in damage to the skin through sun exposure, cuts, bruises, and dryness. These antioxidants prevent further cell damage to allow healthy skin cells to continue to grow.8
Have you ever had a burn or a rash and applied a white cream called Zinc Oxide? This cream contains a form of the mineral zinc, which is extremely important for wound healing and preventing infections.9 Research suggests that zinc has antioxidant properties, similar to the vitamins noted above, that make it even more beneficial to your skin.9
Some face creams contain “B-Complexes”, which means they contain B-vitamins. Included in this group of vitamins are: Vitamin B12, B6, and Niacin, which are essential for supporting healthy skin. A deficiency in these nutrients will result in damage to the skin including, rashes, cracking and altered pigmentation.1, 10,11
Meals for your Skin!
As the largest organ in the body, the skin relies on all the nutrients we need in our diet to support its function. This makes focusing on eating a balanced diet key in improving your skin health.
The nutrients found in the following chicken recipes will inspire you to think about skin health and nutrition:
The dark meat from the chicken legs in this recipe is where you will get your zinc. Like the recipe above, the dark leafy greens will provide the antioxidant power you need to promote healthy cells!
This simple salad provides you with 110% of your Daily Value of Vitamin C. It would be a crime not to showcase this one; and thanks to chicken, it is still a very good source of B-vitamins!
Piccardi, N & Manissier, P. (2009). Nutrition and nutritional supplementation impact on skin health and beauty. Dermato-Endocrinology, 1(5), 271-274. Retrieved December 3, 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836433/
WebMD. (2009). Find a vitamin supplement: Vitamin A. Retrieved December 10, 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-964-VITAMIN%20A.aspx?activeIngredientId=964&activeIngredientName=VITAMIN%20A
Edgar, J. (2013). Retnoids for Anti-aging skin. Retrieved December 10, 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/beauty/aging/retinoids-for-aging-skin
Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health. (2013). Dietary Supplement Factsheet: Vitamin A. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
University of Maryland Medical Centre. (2013). Vitamin A (Retinol). Retrieved December 11, 2013, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-a-retinol
Michels, J.. (2011). Vitamin C and Skin Health. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/skin/vitaminC/
WebMd. (2013). Health and Beauty. Retrieved December 11, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/beauty/facial-fillers/cosmetic-procedures-collagen
WebMd. (2013). How Antioxidants Work. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-antioxidants-work1?page=2
Rostan, E.F., DeBuys, H.V., Madey, D.L., & Pinnell, S.R. (2002). Evidence supporting zinc as an important antioxidant for skin. International Journal of Dermatology, 41, 606-611.
University of Maryland Medical Centre. (2013). Vitamin B3 (Niacin). Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b3-niacin
Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health. (2013). Dietary Supplement Factsheet: Vitamin B6. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-QuickFacts/