As summer comes ever nearer it’s natural to start thinking about skin health and about how to look our best for the months of better weather and outdoor leisure. Any drive towards improving skin health should start with a nutritional assessment. Are we eating right to feed the skin and, if not, how can we change that? Are we drinking enough water for hydration? Are we exercising enough to promote proper elimination through the other channels because, don’t forget, the skin is our largest organ of elimination? Are we smiling enough? I believe it’s a way better facial exercise than a grimace😀
What follows is a bit more specialist as we take you on a tour of the supplements that science has shown to be beneficial for different aspects of skin health and what we can realistically expect from them.
Collagen is the most predominant protein in the human body and studies show that taking a collagen supplement literally ‘plumps up’ the skin’s dermis layer improving skin elasticity and hydration and improving wrinkle depth into the bargain.
Hyaluronic Acid, which can absorb 3,000 times its own weight in water, is an important hydrating agent for the body’s tissues. It has a high daily turnover so large amounts may be needed for maintenance. The decline in Hyaluronic acid which accompanies aging has been proposed as a causative factor for the dryness and wrinkling that is characteristic of aging skin.
COQ10 is supportive of collagen in that it’s antioxidant properties prevent collagen degradation by UV rays in sunlight. It can support skin firmness and the avoidance of wrinkles, especially on those areas most exposed to UV rays such as the face and neck, arms and legs.
Pycnogenol, or French maritime pine extract, is one of nature’s most potent scavengers of free radicals which are a major contributory factor in damage to collagen and elastin and so to skin’s youthful appearance. Studies have shown that it improves skin elasticity and reduces roughness, increases hydration and reduces skin fatigue.
Astaxanthin is the carotenoid responsible for the pink colour of both salmon and flamingos. It has been referred to as an ‘internal sunscreen’ for its protective abilities against the damaging effects of sun on skin. Studies have backed up Asthaxanthin’s abilities to reduce crow’s feet wrinkles, water loss and age spot size while enhancing moisture content, elasticity and skin texture in both men and women.
Recent studies have shown that the active ingredients in fish oil can also mitigate the damaging effects of sun on skin while it’s anti inflammatory effects can benefit acne and eczema sufferers.
These are some of the more recently researched skin health supplements. The supportive properties of others like Vitamins C and A, Zinc and Biotin (also beneficial for out of condition hair and splitting nails) have been appreciated for longer.
So love your skin this summer as always, eat oil rich foods like fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, drink plenty of water, use natural products on your skin, don’t get too much sun, exercise and try not to stress, and, if you want your skin to have that ‘special glow’, maybe some of these supplements could help.