Skin Care: Nutrients for Healthy Skin (cont.)
Topical vitamin A is the form that makes a real difference in your skin. Medical studies show a reduction in lines and wrinkles, good acne control, and some psoriasis relief, all from using creams containing this nutrient. The prescription treatment is called Retin A, and it's used primarily as a treatment for acne. The less potent, over-the-counter formulations are sold as retinols and used as anti-aging treatments.
Vitamin B Complex. When it comes to skin, the single most important B vitamin is biotin, a nutrient that forms the basis of skin, nail, and hair cells. Without adequate amounts, you may end up with dermatitis (an itchy, scaly skin reaction) or sometimes even hair loss. Even a mild deficiency causes symptoms. Your body makes plenty of biotin, and the nutrient is also in many foods, including bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and rice.
Creams containing B vitamins can give skin an almost instant healthy glow while hydrating cells and increasing overall tone at the same time. Niacin, a specific B vitamin, helps skin retain moisture, so your complexion looks more plump and younger looking in as little as six days. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe dry, irritated skin. In higher concentrations it can work as a lightening agent to even out blotchy skin tone.
Vitamin K. As the nutrient responsible for helping blood clot, it won't do much for your skin from the inside. But studies presented to the AAD in 2003 show topical vitamin K does work well to reduce under eye circles as well as bruises. When combined with vitamin A in a cream or serum, vitamin K can be even more effective for those dark circles.
Most health experts agree that most of us don't need to supplement our mineral intake. This is even more true if you drink spring water, which often contains healthful, natural supplies of important minerals. Studies show that washing your face with mineral water can help reduce many common skin irritations, and the mineral content may help some skin cells absorb the moisture better.
Selenium. Scientists believe this mineral plays a key role in skin cancer prevention. Taken in supplement form or in a cream, it protects skin from sun damage. If you do spend any time in the sun, selenium could reduce your chance of burning, lowering your risk of skin cancer. The best dietary sources of selenium include whole-grain cereals, seafood, garlic, and eggs.
Copper. Still another important mineral is copper. Together with vitamin C and the mineral zinc, copper helps to develop elastin, the fibers that support skin structure from underneath. While a copper deficiency is rare (doctors caution that supplements can be dangerous), topical applications of copper-rich creams can firm the skin and help restore some elasticity, according to some study results.