The skin is the biggest organ in the body (13), so we owe it to ourselves to take extra special care of it. But what does healthy skin look like, and how do we ensure we maintain healthy skin? Let’s find out.
Healthy skin does not necessarily mean that it is free of all blemishes and glowing all of the time. Birthmarks or occasional acne are not necessarily indicative of poor skin health. It is more important to consider that the skin remains free of disease over the longer term (19).
This means that the skin is well taken care of, and protected from ultraviolet (UV) rays. It is also important to keep the level of inflammation in the skin down, as these lead to acne, rashes, and lesions (13).
Avoid sun damage by staying out of the sun where possible. When this is unavoidable, make sure you wear clothing that covers the majority of your skin and that you are regularly using sunscreen with an SPF or sun protection factor of 30+ or more (15).
Smoking makes the skin age more quickly as the nicotine in cigarettes causes constriction of the skin (16). This hampers blood flow, and the ability of the skin to heal (16).
Among the tips for healthy skin is to moisturise well. Moisturiser helps the skin repair itself, whilst reducing the likelihood of unhealthy dryness or oiliness. Moisturising can also help hide skin blemishes (17).
Stress can lead to skin conditions like irritation and acne flares. Studies have shown that practicing stress-relief techniques like meditation can help people with skin disorders (18).
Eating a healthy diet can help ensure you have all the nutrients you need to keep your skin supple and strong. Here are some of the nutrients you may need.
Healthy skin is able to heal more quickly from wounds. Having the right amount of zinc can help with this (1, 2).
Other than promoting immune and metabolic function, this nutrient improves wound healing by supporting natural killer cell action, macrophage and neutrophil functions among other mechanisms (1). According to a study, zinc is an active ingredient for various dermatological conditions (2).
Zinc also acts as an antioxidant that can prevent UV damage and whilst maintaining skin health and promoting skin repair.
A study found that non-toxic doses of iron supported collagen formation (3), a protein that forms connective tissue - bone, skin, tendons, muscles, cartilage - in the body (8). Another study said that iron is necessary for healthy skin, mucous membranes, hair and nails4.
*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.
Another nutrient that contributes to the appearance of healthy skin is astaxanthin, which can be found in microorganisms and some marine organisms. It supports collagen formation and maintains collagen health in the skin. It also helps alleviate some skin issues due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
Astaxanthin maintains skin elasticity by influencing various steps in the oxidative stress process and affecting physical changes in the skin: wrinkles, dryness, delayed wound healing, among others. It protects skin elastin from breaking down by preventing the expression of certain proteins that degrade collagen in the dermis layer, which is responsible for producing connective tissue and plays a role in wound healing (5).
Healthy skin is generally believed to have lower levels of inflammation. B complex, a combination of essential B vitamins, supports skin health by proliferating epidermal cells responsible for inflammatory reactions and immune responses.
Some studies suggest that vitamin C supports wound healing and assists in the healing of minor body tissue injuries. As an antioxidant, it fights oxidative damage, supporting collagen formation. Observational studies said that greater intake of the vitamin was linked to better overall skin appearance and less wrinkling (7).
This fruit has been regarded to have anti-ageing benefits10. It maintains collagen formation as an antioxidant. Oxidative stress causes signs of ageing and collagen degradation (11).
When considering what healthy skin looks like, more than likely you envision supple, elastic skin. Evidence suggests that collagen supports skin elasticity. It is marketed to enhance skin, hair and nails, appealing to women in particular (8). A study in which female participants drank a mixture of collagen, hyaluronic acid, vitamins and minerals showed a marked decrease in wrinkle depth. It also supported skin firmness and skin hydration in females.
Otherwise known as vitamin B7, biotin may maintain skin health as a deficiency in this nutrient can result in hair loss and issues with skin and nails (12).
While these nutrients can be taken in through a healthy diet, you may not always be able to get the right amount of them. If this is the case, you may consider supplementation to better support skin health.
Enter Vitable vitamins. Our vitamin subscription service allows you to make your own pack of personalised vitamins for skin health and beyond. These daily vitamins only contain the nutrients you need, when you need them. Make use of our vitamin delivery services to get your personalised packs delivered right to your doorstep.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.