How can I support my skin health from within?
Our skin is our largest organ, encompassing around 15% of our body weight, and is made up of three separate layers:
- The epidermis: the uppermost layer, which is responsible for many of the skin’s barrier functions. The epidermis renews itself approximately every 28 days.
- The dermis: the middle layer, which gives the skin structure and contains the blood and lymph vessels that provide nutrition to the skin.
- The hypodermis: the lower layer, also known as the subcutaneous This layer stores energy and helps to provide insulation.
Healthy skin is perfectly designed to fulfil a range of functions, including:
- Providing immune defence
- Harbouring free radical detoxifying enzymes and antioxidant molecules
- Controlling thermoregulation
- Preventing excessive water loss
- Allowing sensory input via mechanoreceptors
- Enabling endocrine and metabolic mechanisms, such as the production of vitamin D
...and in order to perform this array of functions, the skin needs a constant flow of energy and nutrients. Skin that is functioning well will also have a healthful appearance. – and it is becoming increasingly clear that the nutrients you provide your body with, can significantly affect the health and agiing of your skin.
Here we look closely at a number of key nutrients to feed your skin from within:
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and supports the structure, strength and stability of the skin. As we age, our collagen production declines, which can lead to visible signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. Supplementing with collagen peptides can stimulate our natural collagen production and improve skin hydration and elasticity.
Vitamin C - In the epidermis, vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, combatting the free radicals produced by UV rays. In the dermis, it is used as a co-factor producing and maintaining collagen. As a key immune supporting nutrient, vitamin C also plays an important role in barrier integrity and wound healing.
Zinc – up to 6% of our body’s zinc is found in the skin, where this trace mineral plays several roles in skin health, including repair and maintenance. Zinc has also demonstrated a therapeutic role in supporting acne.
MSM - Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulphur compound that naturally occurs in some green vegetables and other foods such as dairy and chicken. It has long been popular as a joint supplement, but newer research suggests it can also have an impressive effect on skin health.
Anthocyanins are a group of antioxidants found in red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables that can help to reduce oxidative stress in the body and protect the skin cells from the effects of UV radiation.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan found throughout the body’s connective tissue and, like collagen, its levels decrease as we age. HA is pivotal for keeping your skin well hydrated and can also play an important role in wound healing.
Omega 3 – EPA and DHA, two omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish, (or available as a vegan supplement from algae) may have a number of benefits for skin health, including protection from sun damage, improving skin barrier function and moisture levels and providing protection against a number of inflammatory skin conditions through their role in supporting inflammatory pathways.
Sea Buckthorn Oil provides a unique mix of fatty acids, including abundant levels of omega-7, which is very uncommon within the plant kingdom. It can support skin health in a number of ways, including cell regeneration in the epidermis and therefore supporting wound healing, improving elasticity, moisture levels and strengthening the skin as a protective barrier.
Probiotics – an imbalance of our gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis, is known to adversely affect a number of different areas of health, including the health of our skin, where it is implicated in conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Supporting a balanced microbiome with a multi-strain probiotic rich in Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains can support the skin through reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and improving skin barrier recovery.
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