Sunny spring and summer days expose skin to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, pose the danger of sunburn, and stimulate oil glands to produce more sebum. On the other hand, cooler autumn and chilly winter months bring with them the risk of skin dehydration and chapping (1).
We can help ensure that our skin ages along with us and not ahead of us, and stays healthy throughout the year by receiving sufficient nutrients and vitamins. While a balanced diet is a good source of nutrients and vitamins for skin health, taking the right supplements can complete your year-round skin health regimen.
An optimum skincare regime is medically advised and is vital to safeguard the health and longevity of the largest organ in the human body.
Food for healthy skin
Here are some examples of food that contain specific vitamins and minerals that promote skin health.
The chemical composition of foods with a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fat and water are our best choices to guard skin from premature ageing. Here’s an array of the varied sources of vitamins essential for great skin health.
Prawn, lobster, salmon, rainbow trout, and even seaweed salad are among the best food for skin health. They are solid sources of a carotenoid and antioxidant called astaxanthin. Our bodies depend on antioxidants like astaxanthin to combat the ill effects of oxidative stress—a process that contributes to ageing. The effects of ageing are especially visible on the skin as sun damage and manifest as wrinkling, dryness, sagging, and the deepening of facial lines. These conditions can be exacerbated by changing weather conditions (19).
Foods containing astaxanthin are best consumed during autumn and winter. During these seasons, temperatures drop and skin health issues become focused on dry and damaged ski, dullness and more extremely, severe skin dehydration. Astaxanthin helps by maintaining skin elasticity and integrity, can be especially helpful for those with maturing skin as advanced age naturally affects the skin’s ability to retain adequate moisture. This is also exacerbated during autumn and winter (2).
Astaxanthin may support post-spring and summer skin health by helping shield us from photoageing, which is premature ageing of our skin caused by staying out in the sun for long periods without adequate protection (3). UV exposure breaks down elastin, the protein that gives healthy skin its ability to maintain its shape and texture. Astaxanthin can protect elastin, making skin much more resilient (4).
Leafy greens and veggies are a great way to get vitamin B2 and B9. B2 and B9 are part of the B group of vitamins, or vitamin B-complex.
Consuming sufficient B group of vitamins through dietary intake can help maintain and support skin health. This can be useful for those who experience skin itching, windburn, and flaking or chapping when exposed to cold air during the cooler seasons. Those who are especially prone to sunburn and heat rash can also benefit from adding vitamin B complex to their daily supplement regimen (5, 6).
You can opt for nuts, legumes and seeds for vitamin B1; protein-packed foods and mushrooms for vitamin B3; meats and organ meats (kidney and liver) for vitamin B5; shellfish, meats, and fruits for vitamin B6; poultry, yeast-heavy foods, and nuts for vitamin B7; and meats, dairy products, and other animal products for vitamin B12 (20).
Protect your skin with the intake of these naturally-occurring, brightly colour-coded fruit and veggies in your daily diet (28). Beta carotene rich yellow-oranges like carrots and apricots, antioxidant reds in fresh tomatoes and berries, anti-cancer pinks through salmon and mackerel, a shot of heart health through leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, and protein, fibre and carb-rich browns in nuts and seeds; all make up a smorgasbord of the freshest products, with a bevy of benefits for not only the eyes, palate and our bellies, more so for our skin health.
Australia is home to an abundance of fruits and vegetables right from citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit, mandarin and lime, and even lemon and shaddock (pomelo). These fruits contribute to skin health by providing us with vitamin C that our skin needs (21).
Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis, a process which ensures our skin gets enough of this crucial protein that contributes to skin’s resilience, elasticity, and smoothness. Skin is more likely to suffer from severe dryness in the autumn without enough collagen, whereas during the spring and summer, collagen is broken down by increased sun exposure (7).
Eggs, specifically their yolks, are rich in biotin. Biotin facilitates the body’s efficient use of amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose. These are important elements in the production of new and healthy skin tissue, and the repair of damaged skin.
Biotin also maintains and supports skin health by playing an active role in helping skin through various stressors. Studies have found that you could experience fewer instances of mild to moderate skin irritation, faster wound scabbing and healing as well as scar fading, and reduced likelihood of developing skin infections (8). Individuals with very sensitive facial skin can benefit from biotin as it has been observed to help with visible, and uncomfortable, skin problems affecting areas surrounding the nose, mouth, and eyes (9).
Bone broth is a stock made by boiling bones and connective tissue like cartilage for hours. Due to this long and slow extraction process, it produces a rich source of collagen.
Collagen maintains and supports skin health, integrity and structure. For example, getting enough collagen can have visible effects such as decreasing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin elasticity and integrity, supporting skin hydration and firmness, as well as boosting new collagen production (10, 11).
Nuts and beans
Another set of food for maintaining skin health are nuts and beans. They contribute to healthy skin as they contain generous amounts of iron (23).
Iron comes to our skin’s aid by maintaining and supporting collagen formation. Collagen does not only improve skin in a cosmetic sense, but also makes it much more capable of protecting itself from stress and healing from damage (12). An iron deficiency that strains your body’s ability to produce collagen could make skin much more sensitive, which in turn could result in secondary problems like painful cracking from extreme skin dryness, pruritus (intense skin itching), the formation of bumps or scaly patches, and a vulnerability to infections (13).
According to Healthdirect, good food for healthy skin also includes meats such as beef (steak), lamb shank, and chicken breast as they are healthy sources of zinc.
Our body requires zinc, but doesn’t produce it naturally (25). Taking zinc with copper is optimal as they enhance each other’s benefits (14, 15).
Zinc in particular has been touted by dermatologists as essential to skin health as it maintains and supports skin health and collagen production. With zinc, skin can rely on itself to slough away dead skin cells, and find areas of infection or wounding and work on restoring damaged skin to a healthy state. It also helps reduce inflammatory responses, and keeps skin youthful-looking for longer (16). On the other hand, copper helps shield us from bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that could harm the skin itself or enter through broken skin to cause problems in other organs and bodily processes (17).
Cranberries are delicious as a dried snack, as a juice, or even as a jam or preserve. They are an ubiquitous fruit in the Australian diet for the many ways it can be enjoyed.
Cranberries support the health of the connective tissue found in the skin. They contain proanthocyanidins that act similarly to collagen (26) and help repair collagen-based tissues.
Cranberries have also been found to inhibit oxidative stress, which is basically what occurs when our body’s antioxidants are unable to detoxify free radicals.
A balanced diet and healthy lifestyle habits are keys to maintaining skin health. To further support skin wellness, consider personalised vitamins or vitamin packs from Vitable Australia. We provide custom vitamin plans as well as vitamin subscriptions to ensure you receive sufficient nutrients. Our custom vitamin packs include vitamin delivery services that lets you stay on top of your health from the comfort of your home.
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.
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13. Iron deficiency (2021), https://dermnetnz.org/topics/iron-deficiency/. Retrieved August 29, 2021
14. Mount Sinai. "Zinc". Mount Sinai. Published (n.d.) on https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/zinc. Retrieved August 29, 2021
15. Medsafe. "Interacting elements – zinc-induced copper deficiency". New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority: Medsafe. Published March 2020 on https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/PUArticles/March2020/Interacting-elements-zinc-induced-copper-deficiency.html. Retrieved August 29, 2021
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21. Vitamin c (2020), https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-c/. Retrieved August 29, 2021
22. Biotin (Vitamin B7) Sources, Health Benefits and Dosage ( 2021 ), https://www.news-medical.net/health/Biotin-(Vitamin-B7)-Sources-Health-Benefits-and-Dosage.aspx . Retrieved September 10, 2021
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25. Copper (2021), https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/. Retrieved August 29, 2021
26. Collagen-collagen interactions mediated by plant-derived proanthocyanidins: A spectroscopic and atomic force microscopy study (2016), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27208639/, Retrieved, Sept 2, 2021
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