Have you ever looked in the mirror and ran your hands over dry skin or wrinkles? You sit there and wonder what you can do to not just repair your skin to maintain healthy skin too. To keep skin looking youthful and healthy, try supplements! The main goal of supplementing for healthy skin is to limit inflammation, sun damage and provide antioxidation. The secondary goal is to provide the needed nutrients for maintenance, repair, and rebuilding. In this blog, we will be discussing the top supplements to meet all your skin health goals.
Kelp is part of the brown algae family and primarily grows in the Pacific Ocean. However, the Atlantic Ocean’s ice-cold waters produce rich, nutrient-packed kelp richer in minerals like iodine, magnesium, and iron. The minerals found in Atlantic kelp can help calm and soothe dry skin, reduce the appearance of breakouts, and even has significant anti-aging effects.
Did you know that external factors cause 80% of premature aging? The antioxidants within kelp can help protect the skin against harmful UV rays and daily pollution. This protection will help maintain the skin’s elasticity and reduce wrinkles, effectively “slowing” the aging process.
As far as reducing the appearance of breakouts, kelp contains minerals that penetrate the skin and remove toxins. Pair this with kelp’s natural anti-inflammatory properties, and it becomes the perfect treatment for blemishes as it will reduce redness and banish toxins, leaving clearer skin.
Zinc’s anti-inflammatory effects are perfect for those looking to reduce acne and prevent scarring. It also helps skin heal after injury, as zinc is necessary to help keep cell walls stable and divide and specialize as they grow. Like kelp, zinc may also protect skin from UV damage. It also acts as an antioxidant, effectively combatting free radicals or unstable atoms that cause cell damage and death.
Zinc also happens to be one of the most widely studied forms of acne treatment. Its anti-inflammatory properties help relieve some of the redness and irritation associated with moderate to severe acne. A 2012 study showed that oral zinc was adequate for inflammatory and bacterial forms of acne. Though a few cases showed that oral supplementation of zinc could cause nausea and vomiting, and topical zinc carries more minor side effects, it is less effective than oral supplementation. However, topical zinc still can help clear acne-causing bacteria from the skin and reduce oil production.
A zinc deficiency looks like eczema, but the rash will not get better with the use of steroids or moisturizers, and even mild deficiencies can impair collagen production, fatty acid metabolism, and wound healing. Zinc is also vital to the production of keratin and collagen and is responsible for the cross-linking that gives collagen durability and stability. It’s known that decreased zinc results in decreased total collagen, and because of the skin’s high concentration of zinc, a deficiency rapidly leads to rough skin and impaired wound healing.
Daily Dose: Men-12mg/day; Women-8mg/day
As a mineral that helps certain antioxidants protect your skin from UV rays, deficiencies in selenium are linked to greater risks of skin cancer. When paired with vitamin E, selenium helps increase glutathione, a critical antioxidant in your skin cells. This means that selenium helps fight inflammatory causing substances that eventually result in skin damage. In other words, selenium helps heal skin and reduce any incidences of acne. Be careful while taking selenium supplements because while the body needs it to function, too much of it can be toxic.
Daily Dose: 55mcg (micrograms)/day
When paired with vitamin C, l-lysine can repair and regenerate collagen. Like zinc, this combo is specifically essential for collagen cross-linking and organized “smooth” collagen regeneration. Collagen is responsible for your skin’s elasticity and firmness. Making sure you are producing enough of it can help you stay looking young longer.
L-lysine also improves wound healing. Studies have shown that it may act as a binding agent, increasing the number of new cells at a wound. It may also promote the formation of new blood vessels.
Daily Dose: 38mg per kg of body weight
Vitamin A/Beta Carotene
Both the upper and lower layers of skin need vitamin A (retinol). It prevents sun damage by interrupting the process that breaks down collagen. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant that may protect your skin against sunburns (but not as much as sunscreen). The antioxidant properties mean that vitamin A can help the oil glands around your hair follicles and may help wound healing when it comes to cuts and scrapes, especially if you’re taking steroids to reduce inflammation.
Beta carotene is a compound that provides vegetables with their vivid yellow, orange, and red coloring. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A. Beta carotene is also a helpful antioxidant for skin health. Just like vitamin A, beta carotene may protect against harmful UV rays.
Unlike vitamin A, which is toxic in high levels, beta carotene is not harmful.
The known side effects of high vitamin A are dizziness, nausea, joint pain, coma, reduced bone mineral density, and even death. However, the body needs vitamin A to function. For safety reasons, stick to the dietary allowance of vitamin A, or consume more beta carotene instead to ensure you are receiving the proper amount of vitamin A.
Daily Dose: The FDA recommends that people over four years old consume 5,000 IUs of vitamin A/day.
Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid
An ascorbic acid is a form of vitamin C that has the most skin-related research out of any other form of vitamin C. If adequately formulated, ascorbic acid should have a pH level between 2.6 and 3.2. This form helps create younger-looking, firmer-feeling by fading signs of uneven skin tone and spots. Its antioxidant properties also help protect the skin’s surface from free radicals and external stressors. Reading this, you may think you’ve found the miracle solution to skin health, and you just might have. However, if you are insistent on using vitamin C products, you must know that they are susceptible to air and light and will break down over time if you routinely expose them. To avoid this, ensure that your products are kept in opaque, airtight containers.
Another fun fact about vitamin C is that it is incredibly effective at reducing oxidative damage to the skin when combined with vitamin E. Oxidative damage occurs when there is an imbalance between free radical activity and antioxidant activity in the body. When there are more free radicals than antioxidants can balance, the unbalanced free radicals cause damage to DNA, fatty tissues, and proteins in your body.
Daily Dose: Men should consume 90mg/day while women should consume 75mg/day.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may reduce skin damage from free radicals and UV rays. It’s essential to know that UV light and sun exposure and aging can reduce vitamin E levels within the body.
You can also use vitamin E topically. It absorbs quickly into the skin and is an excellent moisturizer for dry, patchy skin. Many vitamin E supplements come in capsule form and can be broken open and used directly on dry areas.
Consuming foods with vitamin E, even in high quantities, is not harmful. However, be careful when consuming supplements, as consuming more than the daily recommended dose may inhibit your body’s ability to form blood clots when needed.
Daily Dose: This depends on age and specific medical conditions that limit the body’s ability to absorb vitamin E, but on average, one should be consuming 15mg/day.
Vitamin D can calm inflammation, protect the skin, and improve cell turnover. Many people are deficient in vitamin D because of a lack of sunlight and a poor diet. A deficiency in vitamin D is associated with poor immune function, increased inflammation, and decreased insulin sensitivity. Poor immune function weakens the skin barrier, which increases dryness and the chance of infections. Increased inflammation can worsen inflammatory conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea, and decreased insulin sensitivity can worsen acne and stiff collagen that ages prematurely.
Daily Dose: 600IUs/day (if not deficient). If you are deficient in vitamin D, consult your doctor or a trusted healthcare professional about how much vitamin D you should supplement your diet.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids-EPA/DHA
Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly a combination of EPA and DHA, help cell membranes stay fluid and flexible and are very important for skin health. For instance, there is evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the severity of symptoms of certain photosensitivity disorders, including skin rashes or fluid-filled blisters following UV exposure.
Aside from protecting skin from UV damage, omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammatory compounds that promote aging. A 2013 research article explained that both EPA and DHA could inhibit inflammation.
Daily Dose: 1,000 mg/day
Try These Supplements Today!
We’ve covered several different nutritional supplements that can help promote healthy skin. The vitamins A, C, and E were among these, which have beneficial antioxidant properties that limit damage and help slow the aging process by limiting free radical damage and UV-induced damage from the sun.
We’ve also reviewed how omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, kelp, zinc, and selenium can fight inflammation and reduce skin conditions like acne and eczema. Overall, it’s vital to know that many different factors play into making sure you have healthy skin. Your skin is the largest organ of the body, which means that skin health is a good marker of maintaining your overall health. Just like your gut or your heart, you don’t want to neglect your skin. Take what you’ve learned in this blog and implement it into your diet today!
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