Originally published in our Summer 2011 newsletter.
We all want glowing, healthy skin! While topical products help, they are only “icing on the cake” compared to how inner health impacts your skin. My approach to treating skin conditions, such as acne and eczema, works from the inside out. In addition to addressing digestive health and diet, a few key nutrients can make a difference.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent oxidation reactions, which produce free radicals, compounds that damage tissues. Vitamin A is necessary for the healthy growth, maintenance, and repair of skin cells. Isotretinoin (a pharmaceutical medication to treat acne) is a derivative of vitamin A. This vitamin is also a well-known topical wrinkle-reducer! Natural sources include liver, eggs, and fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, greens, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Caution! High doses of vitamin A can be toxic and cause birth defects so talk to your naturopathic doctor about the right dose for you.
Vitamin E is another fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that prevents cell damage and is essential for skin healing both topically and internally. Vitamin E also plays an important role in protecting other fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin A) from destruction. Vitamin E is found in “healthy fats” such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds, as well as leafy greens.
Zinc is a super-mineral that supports your immune system. Zinc is essential for skin healing, prevents scarring, and necessary for the healthy function of sebaceous (oil-producing) glands in the skin. Zinc also supports absorption of vitamin A and maintains the correct level of vitamin E in your blood! Food sources include brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, fish, sea vegetables, legumes, and pumpkin seeds.
Biotin is a lesser-known member of the B-vitamin family that is necessary for healthy hair and skin. Biotin is a key player in normal cell growth and the correct use of other B vitamins. Brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, meat, milk, poultry, fish, soy, and whole grains are all good dietary sources of biotin.