If you're looking to improve your skin health, try adding these essential vitamins and minerals to your diet for a boost of essential skin-boosting nutrients. Discover the role they play in your body's wellbeing and how to get more from your food and supplements. Learn all about the best vitamins for skin health and the role they play in your body's essential functions.
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10 essential vitamins for healthy skin
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential part of your skin's overall health and condition. It helps regulate calcium and phosphate in your body, decreases inflammation and helps cell turnover, which prevents a build-up of dead skin cells.
Often referred to as the 'sunshine vitamin', you should be able to get all the vitamin D you need during the sunnier months of the year through sunlight. Other good sources of vitamin D include oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods.
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Biotin plays an important role in energy production and helps to formulate fatty acids that nourish your skin. Keratin is the key structural material that makes up our hair, nails and skin and biotin helps to improve the infrastructure of Keratin. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means our bodies do not store it. This means we must consume it regularly in order to maintain its levels.
Biotin rich foods such as egg yolks, sunflower seeds and nuts, or sweet potatoes and bananas are all ways you can naturally get biotin into your system which boasts restorative properties.
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Zinc deficiency is more common than you might think with older people and pregnant women amongst the affected categories. Pregnant women need more zinc than usual because the zinc in their body is needed to help the developing baby. Likewise, the bioavailability of zinc is lower in vegetarian and vegan foods, so people following these diets may risk running low on zinc.
This is an essential vitamin found in every cell in the body. It's an antioxidant with strong anti-inflammatory properties, so great for calming redness and relieving the symptoms of eczema, acne rosacea and irritation. Zinc is also known to support wound healing and has antibacterial properties.
Seafood and other meats are a good source of zinc for non-vegetarians, whereas high-protein foods such as nuts and beans are good for a plant-based diet. High-protein dairy foods also contain zinc and milk, yogurt and cheese are considered high-quality protein-heavy foods which contain all essential amino acids your body requires.
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4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports our overall health through helping to reduce oxidation. Like vitamin E, vitamin C helps reduce oxidative stress, something which can have an effect on skin wrinkling. Praised for its anti-aging and brightening benefits, vitamin C is also involved in the production of collagen, which helps rebuild the keratin that makes up your hair, skin and nails.
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5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is crucial to support a healthy scalp and nourish the hair follicles. Found naturally in almonds, avocados and leafy greens, it can help boost hair growth with its conditioning effects. For those using heat and styling products on their hair this can damage it, but vitamin E rich foods and oils can support shine restoration. You can also buy shampoos and conditioners that are vitamin E-fortified.
The vitamin's antioxidant properties also help to reduce the amount of oxidative stress and free radicals that cause the hair follicle cells in a person's scalp to break down, causing hair loss and aging.
6. Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex refers to a combination of water-soluble vitamins which can only be stored in limited amounts in the body, meaning it's important to top up with dietary sources. They're responsible for a whole host of functions, but two of the most significant properties are cell renewal and development. These 8 essential nutrients are key in promoting the growth of new skin cells, maintaining the barrier layer of skin and supporting skin structure.
Iodine might be one of the lesser-known ingredients for healthy skin. Iodine helps to control the function of your thyroid gland, metabolic processes and supports the immune system. It plays a role in regulating hormones, which can lead to acne breakouts. This essential mineral helps to regulate your skin's moisture levels and when applied topically, also helps to heal cuts and scars. Foods such as cranberries, yogurt, eggs, dairy and seaweed are all top sources of iodine.
Protein is essential for creating and building cells, the building blocks of your body. Elastin is a key skin protein, which helps to give your skin shape and texture. A well-balanced diet including protein-rich, skin-friendly foods will help to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Foods like salmon, eggs, yogurt and plant-based options like almonds, lentils and tofu all contain high levels of protein.
9. Healthy fats
Foods that contain healthy fats are an excellent addition to a skin-boosting diet. Your skin cells are surrounded by two layers of fat, which incorporates dietary fats and gives your skin a plump, healthy appearance. Look out for foods rich in omega-3 and fatty acids. Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties and supply the essentials for healthy skin cells. Fresh fish and nuts and seeds like walnuts, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are all good sources of omega-3.
10. Vitamin A
The final piece of your skincare puzzle is a dose of vitamin A, an important part of your skin's healing process and promoting natural moisturising. It's also a key ingredient in preventing breakouts.
You can get vitamin A from two main sources; retinoids, (found in foods such as animal livers, eggs, salmon and dairy products) and carotenoids (which can be found in dark green veg and carrots).
More top tips to take care of your skin
Protect your skin from the sun
Sun damage is one of the biggest factors that can affect skin condition. Using an SPF sunscreen every day can help to alleviate this. In particularly sunny areas, seek shade during the hottest parts of the day and wear protective clothing to block harmful UV rays.
Get enough sleep
The phrase 'beauty sleep' might be more appropriate than you think. A good night's sleep allows our bodies to rest and recuperate from the stresses of everyday life. Lack of sleep impacts your skin's ability to rebuild and heal. As you sleep, your skin makes new collagen which prevents sagging and keeps your skin plump and less likely to wrinkle. If you want a glowing complexion, getting enough sleep needs to be a key component of your routine.
Read our guide on how to get a better night's sleep for more in-depth advice on getting adequate rest and relaxation.
Manage stress & anxiety
Chronic stress is not only detrimental to your overall health and mental wellbeing, but it can make a number of skin conditions worse. When you experience stress, your body releases various hormones which can lead to physiological changes. One of these chemicals is cortisol, which causes your brain to produce oil-releasing hormones. Excessive oil production can lead to clogged pores and acne.
Smoking over a long period of time deprives the skin of oxygen, as nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow. Smoking also increases melanin in the skin which can lead to dark spots. The chemicals in cigarettes can also contribute to the destruction of collagen and elastin, the fibres that keep skin strong and supple.