Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Good Skin Care Begins with Nourishment From the Inside Out

by Len Simpson

We nourish our bodies and we even nourish our skin from the outside in, but we often forget that nourishing our skin from the inside out can help to prevent a host of skin and health conditions, such as dry skin, premature aging and so much more.

Good skin care begins with quality vitamins in our daily diet. It’s always better to get the vitamins from the source – natural whole foods, rather than supplements, but supplements can help fill in the gaps in today’s busy world. Nutritionists and dermatologists recommend the following supplements for healthier skin:

· Selenium – New research shows this mineral is necessary to the antioxidant known as glutathione peroxidase, which helps protect the body from cancers, including skin cancer caused by sun exposure. The best dietary sources of selenium include whole grain cereals, seafood, garlic and eggs. Oral doses are effective in daily supplements of 50 to 200 micrograms.

· Vitamin E – This most important antioxidant in the body protects cell membranes and prevents damage to membrane-associated enzymes. It can be found in vegetable oils, especially sunflower oil, grains such as wheat germ, brown rice and oats, nuts, dairy products, meats and margarine. As an antioxidant, vitamin E supplements of 400 milligrams per day help to inactivate free radicals.

· Vitamin C – This is the most abundant antioxidant found naturally in the skin. It is commonly found in vegetables and citrus fruits. Much like vitamin E, vitamin C in doses of 500 to 1000 milligrams per day is important in repairing free radicals and preventing them from turning into cancers and accelerating aging.

· Vitamin K – This vitamin has recently been found to be successful for the dermatological treatment for dark circles under the eyes and bruising on the face. Best way to get your daily dose is eat plenty of lettuce, cauliflower, green beans and spinach.

· Vitamin A (Retinoids): Helps to prevent dry, flaky skin; reduces lines and wrinkles; anti-aging properties, helps reduce stretchmarks; helps to treat acne. It can be used topically, as a supplement, or gotten from your diet. It can be found in your diet in such things as eggs, organ meats, whole milk dairy, carrots and broccoli. Unless you suffer from a deficiency, topical use is best when treating the skin, as megadoses are not wise.

· B-complex: The B vitamins as a whole, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine) and B12 (Cyancobalamine), help prevent dermatitis and hair loss, treat stress and depression, as well as helping with acne, eczema, and psoriasis. They are absolutely necessary for proper skin (and hair) nutrition, as they form the basis of skin, hair, and nail cells. They can be used topically, taken as supplements, or found in your diet. In the diet, they can be found in such things as bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and rice. Unless you suffer from a deficiency, supplements shouldn’t be necessary, but are not likely to be harmful.

· Vitamin D: This is a powerful antioxidant and anticarcinogen. However, because the main source of this vitamin naturally is exposure to sunlight, the anticarcinogen properties can get lost amid the other carcinogenic properties of being in the sunlight for long periods of time. You can supplement this topically, but avoid megadoses.

· Chromium: Helps to fight acne and reduce infections. Recommended dose when taken internally is around 150 mcg daily Whole grains, ready-to-eat bran cereals, seafood, green beans, broccoli, prunes, nuts, peanut butter, and potatoes are rich in chromium. Sugary foods are low in this mineral and may even promote chromium loss; vitamin C may increase its absorption.

· Zinc: Helps to promote healing, reduces scarring and acne, as well as treating eczema and psoriasis and is also an antioxidant. Recommended dose when taken as a supplement is around 25-30 mg daily. A serving of lean beef or plain yogurt will do it.

Good skin care is a matter of diligence and quality living. Knowing what vitamins and nutrients are most beneficial and researching the best food sources to obtain those vitamins can help to turn back the hands of time. Vitamins can help thwart dry skin, premature aging and other skin disorders. http://www.skincarenet.org
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Len Simpson is a freelance writer based in Pasadena, CA. She has worked for award-winning newspapers for more than ten years and now writes about health issues, alternative and natural remedies.
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