Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Resolution #3: Take Your Vitamins (and Minerals!)

Vitamins and minerals are important for your overall health. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
Vitamins are important, but minerals also pay a vital role in keeping your skin, nails, and hair looking their best. While it's probably easiest, cheapest, and best to just take a multivitamin each day (therefore getting all the vitamins and minerals you'd ever need, and then some), here's a quick overview of which minerals you need and why:
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid: This super-powerful antioxidant works much like Vitamins C and E in that it attacks free radicals and diminishes skin damage. Some even say that it can rebuild damaged skin cells. You can get alpha-lipoic acid in a supplement or find it in some products like Juice Beauty's Green Apple Peel.
  • Copper: When combined topically with Vitamin C, copper has been shown to improve the skin's appearance by developing elastins. Those who use creams containing copper report fewer lines and wrinkles, better elasticity, and increased firmness. Copper should not be taken in a supplement form since copper deficiencies are rare and taking too much copper internally can be dangerous. Try Neutrogena's Visibly Firm Night Cream with Copper.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Balancing out Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can help heal dehydrated, inflamed, or blackhead-prone skin. Take a supplement containing both Omegas or eating poultry, flaxseed oil, or cold-water fish (like salmon) to get the proper balance.
  • Selenium: In the 1990s, scientific journals reported that skin cancer patients who increased their intake of Selenium had fewer malignancies and a reduced risk of death. Scientists are still studying possible beneficial links between Selenium and cancer and a host of other conditions. Though toxic in large doses, Selenium occurs naturally in Brazil nuts, whole grain foods, seafood, garlic and eggs so deficiencies are rare. The recommended allowance of this antioxidant for adults is 55 micrograms a day.
  • Zinc: I'm a firm believer that zinc helps shorten the duration of a cold. Whether I'm right or wrong is up in the air, but zinc is good for those who suffer from acne. Apparently, in some cases acne is a result of a zinc deficiency (who knew?). You can ingest zinc or apply it topically--either way it helps control the skin's oil production. Eat your zinc with lean meat, poultry, oysters, nuts, and seeds (pumpkin and sunflower). Or, apply zinc to your skin with Dr. Brandt's Poreless Essentials Kit.
While we all should be getting proper nutrients through our diets, we all know that doesn't always happen. In order to have beautiful skin, try adding a daily supplement and see what happens.

Tomorrow: save money!


Anonymous said...

Just stumbled acorss your blog and wow, what a great post! Really informative. Thanks for taking the time to gather all this info and make it available to the uninformed masses! :)

webcake said...

The B vitamins are indeed very good for your hair! ^^

I have very thin hair and it's too soft and whispy to do anything with it most of the time. I found this spritz that's sort of like hairspray, but it's infused with B vitamins, also vitamin C. It made my hair shiny, helped keep it clean, and best of all it made it look thick and full, even just by spraying a little on the top.

People should NEVER underestimate the importance of vitamins in their beauty routine!!

Cheeky Blondes said...

I love the Green Apple Peel by Juice Beauty! I read in SELF magazine that it is Kate Hudsons favorite product too!

john victor said...

Thanks for sharing such informative post. Even i love the green apple peel by juice beauty. Vitamins are essential to sustain life.

All Women Stalker said...

That's a lot of vitamins to take! Can't I take multi-vitamins instead?

jenna said...

Who knew your skin needed so much vitamins and mineral! Sounds like your skin needs just as much as your body! I gotta start taking them to keep my skin healthy! Thanks for the info!