Skin health facts
Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies and loses and replenishes a surface layer of dead cells every 24 hours. Both our external and internal environments have an effect on our skin's health and there are plenty of ways to contribute to health and vibrance.
Below are some skin facts which you may find interesting:
- approximately 25 hairs on one square inch of skin
- 7.5 foot of blood vessels
- 30 foot of nerves
- 250 sweat glands
- loses one surface layer of dead cells every 24 hours
- approximately 16% of our total body weight
Which nutrients are required?
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) have been found to reduce facial greasiness. Red, greasy skin down the side of the nose and/or cracking at the corner of the mouth can indicate B2 and B6 deficiency. B12 and folic acid deficiency or even low levels within the normal range can result in a pale complexion, fatigue, fuzzy headedness, and depression. A range of skin conditions such as eczema, acne psoriasis, itchiness and healing have been helped with the B-complex of vitamins.
Skin requires protection so it can act as a healthy barrier to external harm. Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Selenium and Beta Caroteneare all important antioxidants and free radical warriors. Vitamin A has been found to reduce the possibility of scars and Vitamin E has been found to assist in tissue repair. For individuals who have damaged skin from severe eczema for example, Vitamin E can be helpful.
Essential fatty acids (omega oils)
The essential fatty acids live up to their name as essential. They provide waterproofing for the skin and moisturise from the inside.
It is recommended that we should eat an average of two to three grammes of omega-3 each day. Very few people achieve this, particularly if they have an alternative eating style. There are now many plant alternatives for omega-3 which vegans can take advantage of to prevent Omega 3 deficiency and to benefit from their health properties.
It is interesting to note that Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, so to be as effective as possible it requires Omega 3 to aid its absorption. Therefore, a diet low in Omega 3 could cause vitamin E deficiency.
Evening primrose oil
This oil is derived from the evening primrose. The seeds are rich in GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and studies have shown that GLA can inhibit inflammatory processes. It also possesses the hydrating properties that our skin requires to keep it supple. This property can help alleviate some skin conditions such as itchiness and dryness. Always double-check the GLA quantity if you are buying a supplement. A dose of 90mg and above is recommended.
Modern diets which are high in processed foods tend to be low in zinc and the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and 6. For skin conditions, zinc is vital as it is known to reduce inflammation, improve immunity and help with healing processes. Taken in combination with Omegas 3 and 6 can help make the zinc more effective. Use a zinc citrate supplement as it is better absorbed.
Vitamin C is vital for tissue repair and skin health as it too acts as an antioxidant and absorbs free radicals. Vitamin C also helps maintain a healthy circulatory system which in turn contributes to healthy skin.
Simply by drinking six glasses of water a day you can help alleviate dry skin, acne, eczema, itching, redness, puffiness under the eyes, and flaky skin. A very simple place to start if you are looking to improve your skin health.
Research has shown that horse chestnut can be used to help alleviate and reduce bruising. An active ingredient in this plant called Aescin contributes to reduced inflammation, circulatory repair, and efficiency.
As you can see from above, the vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids all work together to maintain and heal healthy skin. This emphasises the need for a varied diet of fresh, whole foods.
Check with a nutritional practitioner to ensure you are taking the correct dose. Often a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement will not have doses which are high enough.