Monday, January 15, 2007

Better Living Through Chemistry, Part 1 (Vitamins)

Now that we are a few weeks into the new year, the tendency is for people to forget about their resolutions and to slide back into their old habits. If one of your resolutions was to eat better and take your vitamins, you may want to get back on the bandwagon.

It's not news that nutrients you put into your body have an effect on the way you look on the outside. Even though we may not have the hard data to back us, we often relate eating bad foods (fried/greasy foods) with bad skin. And we also know that smoking ages the skin and leads to wrinkles and find lines around the mouth.

So, if you want a more radiant, youthful appearance, what should you be doing? According to those in the know in the beauty and health world, you need to take your vitamins. Here's a quick guide to what vitamins are beneficial to your look and why:
  • Vitamin A is a familiar weapon in the battle for acne-free, well hydrated skin. For year, we've used Retin-A to help keep our skin clear and supple. Vitamin A should be applied topically to the skin to keep it flake-free, help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and to prevent acne. Look for anti-aging creams containing retinols to get Vitamin A's benefits, notably MD Formulation's Vit A Plus Clearing Complex ($39).
  • Vitamin B Complex, or biotin, is an important foundation in building healthy skin, hair, and nails. Though we usually produce enough biotin on our own, a lack of it may lead to itchy skin or hair loss in extreme cases. Get your B from bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and rice or look for it lotions or creams like L'Occitane's Shea Butter Lotion ($30).
  • Along with keeping your immune system strong, Vitamin C aids in repairing sun damaged skin when used topically. There are tons of microderm kits containing a topical version of Vitamin C, including Philosophy's Microdelivery Peel ($65). But don't think rubbing Vitamin C all over your face will allow you to bake in the sun without worry of a burn or skin damage. Nothing can promise that! Be sure you get enough Vitamin C in your diet from yummy citrus fruits, bell peppers, and leafy greens, or take a supplement--about 500 to 100 milligrams a day will do it.
  • Vitamin E, long know for its ability to flight free radicals (that sounds a tad political!) is also effective at decreasing the look of lines and wrinkles, and can even out your skin's surface. Used in combination with Vitamin C, Vitamin E can protect collagen from bad things like pollution and smoke. Vitamin E is found in olives, nuts, and asparagus, though getting your 400 IUs a day is easier through a supplement.
  • Vitamin K causes blood to clot, and though that may not sound like a beauty benefit, it can reduce the look of undereye circles and bruises, especially when combined with Vitamin A in a cream form. Try Skyn Iceland's Icelandic Relief Eye Cream with Biospheric Complex ($45).
Next time, I'll tell you about how minerals work in conjunction with vitamins to make your skin fabulous.

1 comment:

Beauty Bug said...

Great post Lydia. I went to buy some Vitamin A the other day, but after talking to the pharmacist I opted for a multi-vitamin b/c she said that Vitamin A builds up in your system and you have to be careful not to take it everyday. Thought I'd pass along the tip!