10 essential ingredients for healthy, vibrant skin

You know how important it is to your outside appearance to maintain good skincare. But to really nourish your skin, you need to go deeper than the products you put on the surface.

These days, your skin doesn’t just face the tests of time, but it’s also up against environmental assaults, free-radical damage, stress and food additives that can affect the way your skin looks, feels and ages.

True skin health starts with good nutrition. And adding these nutrients and superfoods to your diet and skincare regimen is a fine place to start…

Seven nutrients that nourish the skin

Vitamin A: This potent antioxidant can help reduce inflammation and assist in wound healing. It also hydrates the skin and lowers your likelihood of developing skin cancer. To make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin A, eat colorful fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, kale and sweet red peppers. Vitamin A is also present in beef liver and tuna fish.

When included in skin care products, vitamin A is a retinoid, and it can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. Retinoids are used to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, relieve acne, balance out hyperpigmentation and improve the skin’s overall elasticity and balance. They work by prompting cells to turn over faster and boosting the production of elastin and collagen, the connective tissues that keep your skin youthful and elastic. Vitamin A is among the must-have nutrients that nourish the skin.

Vitamin B3: Also known as niacinamide, vitamin B3 has shown the ability to help repair DNA that’s been damaged by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Thus, vitamin B3 may be able to protect against skin cancer. When used topically, vitamin B3 can also help tighten and minimize pores and even out skin tone and dullness.

Vitamin B3 has numerous benefits beyond the skin, including protecting against age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, reducing stroke risk and reducing inflammation in people with arthritis. Foods rich in vitamin B3 include turkey and chicken breast, liver, tuna, mushrooms, peanuts, sunflower seeds, green peas and avocado.

Vitamin B5: Known as pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 helps the skin retain moisture, preventing dry, itchy, flaky skin. It also protects the skin from redness caused by exposure to UV rays. And it can increase production of the antioxidant glutathione, which fights free radical damage.

To add vitamin B5 to your diet, consume foods like eggs, chicken, turkey, beef and mushrooms.

Vitamin C: This nutrient is a powerhouse when it comes to skincare. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the formation and maintenance of collagen, and its powerful antioxidant properties prevent the aging and potentially cancerous effects of free radical damage. In skincare products, vitamin C can target signs of premature aging like fine lines and dark spots.

The amount of vitamin C in your skin declines as you age, so the best way to keep your skin glowing is to use products containing the nutrient and eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C. Good sources include fruits and vegetables like strawberries, oranges, lemons, bell peppers and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and leafy greens.

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Vitamin E: One of the best things vitamin E does is absorb UV light, shielding your skin from UV-induced damage. As an antioxidant, vitamin E makes a good team with vitamin C to provide a one-two punch against nasty free radicals. And in skincare products, vitamin E can tighten and rejuvenate the skin. You can find vitamin E in almonds, avocado, sweet potatoes and spinach.

Vitamin K: This anti-inflammatory nutrient promotes good blood vessel health, which can help reduce bruising and swelling. For this reason, vitamin K is great at minimizing spider veins and those dark circles under your eyes. To get vitamin K, add Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, broccoli or asparagus to your diet.

DHA: Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil and krill oil. DHA can inhibit melanin production, which may also reduce the risk of UV-induced hyperpigmentation or dark patches of skin.

Three superfoods with skin-protecting properties

Moringa: The moringa tree is native to parts of Africa, Asia and South America. Its leaves are loaded with nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin E, iron, potassium and protein. It contains several nutrients that nourish the skin making it an excellent superfood for skin health.

Powdered moringa is taken as an herbal supplement, and its oil is used in shampoos, conditioners, skin creams and massage oils. When used in skincare products, moringa can moisturize and rejuvenate your skin, as well as reduce blemishes and dark spots. One study of moringa extract showed it can revitalize the skin and reduce signs of aging.

Green tea: When taken as a beverage, green tea has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help protect your body from free radical damage. The polyphenols in green tea can help your skin as well by helping to repair sun damage and relieve acne, among other benefits.

In one study, green tea baths helped relieve the itching associated with eczema. There have been other studies of green tea’s main polyphenol component, EGCG, that show it’s an essential among nutrients that nourish the skin because it reduces redness and inflammation in people with rosacea, as well as speeds wound healing and prevents scarring.

Turmeric: We’ve written before about turmeric’s skincare benefits. Because turmeric is an antioxidant, it’s great for fighting off the free radicals that can age the skin. And its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties can help combat acne.

In addition to its antiaging benefits for the skin, turmeric is great for helping to sharpen memory, relieve joint pain, reduce inflammation and promote liver healing. You can consume the spice through cooking, tea or supplements. Some people even apply turmeric directly to the skin by mixing it in a yogurt face mask.

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6 vitamins you need in your skincare products for a healthy glow — Vogue India

4 Key Nutrients for Glowing Healthy Skin — Easy Health Options

8 Vitamins to Help You Get Perfect Summer Skin — Easy Health Options

Is fish oil good for the skin — Medical News Today

3 Amazing Benefits of Moringa for Your Skin! — PharmEasy

Enhancement of human skin facial revitalization by moringa leaf extract cream — Advances in Dermatology and Allergology

Carolyn Gretton

By Carolyn Gretton

Carolyn Gretton is a freelance writer based in New Haven, CT who specializes in all aspects of health and wellness and is passionate about discovering the latest health breakthroughs and sharing them with others. She has worked with a wide range of companies in the alternative health space and has written for online and print publications like Dow Jones Newswires and the Philadelphia Inquirer.