Ever wondered why some people’s skin heals more slowly than others? Or why some people scar and bruise more easily?
Skin is your body's largest and fastest growing organ and how it heals is greatly influenced by the vitamins and nutrients you consume.
Find out the six vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy, glowing skin:
Zinc helps fight inflammation and plays a critical role in immune function and wound healing (1). Without enough zinc, our skin can become dry, inflamed and weak.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include growth and development problems, hair loss, diarrhoea, eye and skin conditions and loss of appetite. Low zinc may also lead to poor absorption of nutrients, such as vitamin B6, magnesium and vitamin A, which can spark a range of other health issues.
The best natural sources of zinc are animal foods, like oysters, red meat and poultry. But plant-based foods like wheat germ, spinach, some seeds and nuts, dark chocolate, beans, and mushrooms are also good sources. Zinc supplements are also available.
Vitamin A helps keep the skin firm and healthy and promotes the turnover of skin cells (also known as keratinization). It also plays a crucial role in normal vision function and immunity. Dry skin, broken fingernails, and eye and vision problems (like night blindness) are common signs of low vitamin A.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, fish and liver are all great natural sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A supplements are also available but may cause side effects (especially during pregnancy). So, make sure you get professional advice from your naturopath or health care professional.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays a major role in the creation of collagen (which gives the skin its strength and structure). It also plays a role in the renewal of dead skin cells. In fact, studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C can improve the rate of skin healing, even when there isn’t a deficiency (4)!
Foods rich in vitamin C include bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes and peas. There’s also evidence to suggest that taking vitamin C supplements is beneficial.
Vitamin D helps boost skin elasticity by stimulating collagen production (5). Studies have also shown that people with eczema are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D, and that eczema sufferers with low vitamin D levels are more likely to develop skin infections (2).
The best way to get vitamin D is via sensible sun exposure - aim for 10 minutes every day in the early morning and/or late afternoon. And, where possible, avoid the sun between 10 am to 2 pm when it's at its strongest. You can also get vitamin D from some foods - including fortified margarine, oily fish, milk or yoghurt, egg yolks and cheese - and through supplementation.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the skin and helps lock in moisture. It has also been shown to improve atopic eczema symptoms because of its ability to reduce levels of immunoglobulin (IgE) in the body (also known as antibodies) (3).
Vitamin E can be found naturally in some foods, like almonds, raw seeds, spinach, kale and plant oils. It can also be applied topically (to reduce scarring) or can be taken as a supplement to promote skin health.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body distribute fat to the skin. Low levels of biotin can contribute to dry, red skin, slower healing, and thinning of the hair and nails.
We produce small amounts of biotin through healthy gut bacteria. But, when our gut is unhealthy, our ability to produce and absorb biotin is also compromised.
Some of the best food sources of biotin include meat, liver, egg, seeds, legumes and avocado. Many multivitamins also contain biotin, but the dose is often not high enough to help symptoms, so try biotin-specific supplements.
Do you struggle with allergy-related symptoms?
PAT is a non-invasive holistic therapy, which:
This blog is intended as general information only. PAT cannot diagnose or cure allergies – it is intended to decrease reactions and help manage symptoms. It is not intended to raise unrealistic expectations. If symptoms persist, consult your GP.