Understand free radicals on the path towards young and radiant skin
Wrinkles - we all have them, and no one wants them. Free radicals, or unstable molecules that can damage healthy cells, can appear in larger amounts if nothing is done to protect the skin. These free radicals are what can lead to the creation of wrinkles and speed up the overall aging of your skin. The key to fighting free radicals and halting their propagation is to ensure sufficient amounts of antioxidative vitamins in our diets. When we talk about skin health, it is important to understand free radicals and how they cause damage to our skin cells.
Vitamins and minerals to consider for beautiful skin
If we strive to ensure that we consume sufficient amounts of the following biomarkers, we are already creating a sound nutritional basis for healthy, glowing skin:
- Vitamin A can influence cellular growth, help regenerate fresh, new skin cells, and improve our skin elasticity
- Not including enough vitamin A in our diets can lead to dry and wrinkly skin
- Foods high in vitamin A include leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and carrots
- Beta-carotene is a provitamin, also known as a ‘previtamin’, of vitamin A. This means that it can be converted into vitamin A in our bodies.
- This nutrient can catch free radicals and stop them from being produced; this has good implications for protecting our cells and cellular membranes
- Foods high in beta-carotene include carrots, hot peppers, and leafy greens
- Vitamin E is like a soldier fighting against free radicals; it protects valuable fatty acids that we want to have in our cells, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, from developing free radicals
- Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, and sweet potato
- Vitamin C is important for our skin health because of its ability to slow down the production of free radicals, which means improved health for our skin cells
- Additionally, vitamin C can help boost the effects of vitamin E. It’s the case that when vitamin E stops a free radical, it gets a free radical attached to itself. Vitamin C in turn can then ‘disarm’ the radical attached to vitamin E, making them a great combination for antioxidative purposes
- Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, kale, and red bell peppers
By taking such antioxidative vitamins as vitamins A, C, and E, we can reduce the creation and propagation of free radicals and ultimately give our skin a thick, healthy armor against the elements.
Interestingly enough, our skin can get some valuable assistance in looking younger if we make sure to have good amounts of the B vitamins in our diets - specifically, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 - as well as folic acid and biotin.
- Vitamin B1 helps produce co-enzymes that provide beneficial, antioxidative effects for our skin cells
- Vitamin B2 is important for skin cell regeneration, and has a strong effect on our bodies’ antioxidant system. A lack of B2 can cause oxidative stress on our skin cells, which for us, translates as ‘wrinkles’!
- Vitamin B3, also famously known as niacin, stimulates production of collagen, which results in more skin cell elasticity. Niacin also reduces fat production in our skin, and less fatty, oily skin means a reduction in acne or pimples
- Vitamin B5 helps regulate certain hormones that reduce oil production and influence the size of our skin pores, meaning less acne and smaller pores
- Vitamin B6 also supports collagen production by regulating certain enzymes. A good intake can result in higher skin elasticity
- Biotin, or vitamin B7, is absolutely essential for both skin cell and hair cell health, and a biotin deficiency could result in skin problems
- Folic acid, otherwise known as vitamin B9, is an essential B vitamin that affects cell production and regeneration; a lack of folic acid in our diets can result in further skin problems
- Vitamin B12, while still a B vitamin, should be consumed in moderation as too much B12 can cause more acne and pimples due to how it interacts with the bacteria behind these blemishes
So, if you want to ensure good skin health, remember to be conscious about your B vitamins to help you with your specific needs. In addition to the aforementioned vitamins, there are certain minerals and trace elements that can be beneficial for our skin health.
Foods rich in the spectrum of B vitamins include leafy greens, lentils, fish, shellfish, poultry, rich dark meats such as liver, cereals such as oats, and eggs.
- Silicon is a trace element that improves the overall moisture and suppleness of our skin
- Zinc contributes to protecting our cells against free radicals as a cofactor of certain enzymes. Being a cofactor means that the specific enzymes can’t work properly without, for example, the presence of zinc
- Selenium acts as a cofactor for enzymes that help vitamin E recharge after protecting cells from free radicals
- Magnesium is an essential mineral for our skin, as it is a strong antioxidant and can reduce inflammation that are caused by acne bacteria, meaning less pimples
- A lack of calcium can cause dry skin, so it’s important that we have some source of calcium in our diets. Calcium also helps stabilize cell membranes.
Aside from these essential skin vitamins, try to ensure eating enough protein as part of a balanced diet, because amino acids that we absorb from protein also play a role in protecting our skin.
The secret lies in our nutrition and lifestyles
Everyone loves a healthy, radiant, and strong face - what if you could always ensure that your skin is strong and well-prepared with little extra effort? This is not only done by ensuring a balanced diet rich in fatty acids, minerals, and proteins, but also by adjusting our lifestyles to be more on the healthy side, and by reducing exposure to the elements, such as too much sun and UV radiation.
However, it is important to make sure we get just the right amount of sun exposure, as it helps our skin cells produce vitamin D on their own. That being said, too much exposure to UV light can be damaging for our skin in the long term.
When it comes to lifestyle, smoking less, drinking less alcohol, consuming more water, and getting more sleep (at least 7-8 hours) can provide drastically good results for our skin health. Most smokers agree that if you take a break or try to quit, your skin and hair health will drastically improve on their own thanks to this change.