It’s the thing that keeps our insides in. It’s the display window for much of what’s happening inside of us. It’s the largest organ of our body. It is our skin. It is also the organ that is most susceptible to damage from the elements, the sun and wind and cold and from environmental pollution, germs and poisons. Many symptoms of illness and disease are evidenced by the condition of our skin, such as measles and chicken pox. Pale or flushed skin tone shows that something inside is not right. Now, because it plays such an important role, it needs to be well cared for and nutrition has an important part to play in caring for our skin.
Nutrition is vital not only for caring for our skin but also for its development, right from the innermost layer, the dermis. It [the dermis] consists mainly of elastin and collagen. At that stage, vitamin C is the nutrient that causes the manufacture of collagen. Over time, the collagen and elastin fibres become less flexible due to damage by free radicals. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E and others help to reduce that damage.
Let’s look now at a few common skin conditions and find out some of the nutrients that will effectively prevent or reduce those conditions.
Dry or rough skin.
Rough, dry skin can be prevented by vitamin A, both as part of your diet and also by using a skin cream that is rich in vitamin A on sensitive areas of your skin. Essential fats make up the membranes of our skin cells and a lack of these essential fatty acids is another cause of dry skin. We need to keep our skin well oiled from the inside by eating foods that contain these essential fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and seeds, especially flax seeds. Vital to maintaining healthy, supple skin, is our water intake. We need an average of 1.5 litres per day of good clean water. This is not only beneficial for the condition of our skin, but also for many other aspects of a healthy body.
Acne. (The teenager’s nightmare)
Acne is caused by several conditions. Excess fat blocks the skin pores. A deficiency of Vitamin A causes skin cells to be over-gelatinized, bringing about a congestion of the skin. It also brings about a lowered ability to fight infection. The solution is to eat foods that are low in fats and sugar. Drink plenty of water. Eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. The supplements to add to your diet are Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Niacin.
This could be caused by an allergic reaction to some foods, especially dairy products or wheat, combined with a lack of essential fatty acids. Combat eczema by a diet low in saturated fat, but with a higher content of essential fats from seeds and their cold pressed oils. These are strong anti-inflammatory agents. Cut down on meat and dairy products. Replace meat with fish. Increase vegetable intake. Supplement with essential oils like flax, evening primrose and borage oil. Add Vitamins B6, biotin zinc, magnesium as well as the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.
Just looking at these few common conditions shows that good nutrition plays an important part in caring for your skin. So, to sum up, eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. If possible, stick to the organically grown types. Each day, try to eat nuts, seeds or their cold pressed oils. Last but not least, pure water is vital. Drink about 1.5 litres each day.
To quote the words from a local skin care product advertisement, “Love the Skin You’re In”.