Article created by Solgar
Nothing boosts confidence like beautiful skin, nails and hair! And, keeping them at their healthy best starts with great nutrition.
This means following a balanced diet incorporating protein, carbohydrates (providing vitamins and minerals), essential fats and enough water.
Let’s take a closer look…
Vitamin C is for cell protection and collagen
Skin naturally has a high concentration of vitamin C and this helps protect delicate skin cells against oxidative stress. Vitamin C doesn’t absorb UVA or UVB light, so it isn’t a sunscreen but its antioxidant activity may help protect against free radicals caused by UV radiation.1
Did you know that vitamin C is needed to make and maintain collagen?2 Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is an essential component of all skin and joints.
With ageing, collagen content in skin drops and may result in the appearance of crow’s feet and fine lines.3
The good news is that eating a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, exercising and limiting sun exposure may help to limit oxidative stress (caused by an excess of free radicals) that can cause collagen breakdown and speeds up its loss.4
And, studies using hydrolysed type II collagen have shown positive benefits for beauty including supporting skin elasticity and reducing skin wrinkling.5,6
Along with your favourite vitamin C supplement to support skin health, there are also numerous collagen supplements available on the market too.
Handpicked content: 10 reasons why we love vitamin C for skin
Skin loves zinc
Skin uses zinc to produce specialised cells called keratinocytes, the cells that make keratin. Keratin (like collagen) gives skin elasticity and strength.8
Because zinc can function as an antioxidant in the body, this trace mineral helps protect skin against free radicals.9
An excess of free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which is known to accelerate skin ageing and may contribute to fine lines and wrinkles due to loss of collagen. 10,11
Its common not to meet intake recommendations for zinc, especially in those following plant-based lifestyles, so try to incorporate zinc-packed cashews, almonds and pine nuts into your diet.12,13
Quench thirsty skin with hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a compound found in skin that helps to maintain its natural water content. Mature skin tends to be drier and more prone to fine lines partly because hyaluronic acid levels decline with age.14
Hyaluronic acid is found in foods like bone broth and organ meats and some collagen supplements.
Hyaluronic acid is rapidly used up by the body, so daily replenishment may be necessary.
Handpicked content: Hyaluronic acid benefits
Eating a healthy diet can help you get these essential fats. They are called essential as we rely entirely on the foods we eat because we cannot make them ourselves.
They have many functions in the body including normal skin function.15
And, a lack of essential fatty acids may cause skin to become irritated, itchy and dry.16
Try to eat more flax seeds and nuts and don’t forget to include fish. Eating at least two (140 gram) portions of fish a week (sardines, salmon, mackerel and anchovies are great options) is recommended.
Consider taking an omega-3 and omega-6 supplement if eating fish isn’t an option for you or if recommended by your healthcare practitioner.17
Great skin deserves great hair
Copper, biotin, selenium and zinc all help keep your locks looking gorgeous. Nails are supported by zinc and selenium too. 18,19,20,21
Biotin is a B vitamin that supports healthy skin and flowing hair. It does this by supporting keratin production. Studies suggest that keratin helps maintain healthy hair and keeps it shiny and lustrous.22
Copper, like vitamin C, is needed to make collagen and helps to maintain skin and hair pigmentation.
Lifestyle tips for hair, skin and nails
Eating a well-balanced diet will provide the nutrients needed to keep your skin, nails and hair gorgeous but here are a few additional tips to support your beauty from within journey:
Quench your skin’s thirst
Try to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
Limit time in the sun
Adopt a “less-is-more” approach to the sun and wear sunscreen.
Get your beauty sleep
Sleep may be the ‘fountain of youth’. While you sleep your body recovers and repairs itself. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours a night.
Handpicked content: Comprehensive guide to sleeping better
Stop or reduce your smoking habit
Smoking depletes important skin nutrients like vitamin C and is known to accelerate skin ageing because smoking contributes to oxidative stress.23,24
Manage your stress
High amounts of stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels, which is associated with inhibiting hair growth and may result in increased hair loss.25
Luckily this isn’t permanent and hair should grow back.
Make sure you have some relaxation strategies at hand when you’re feeling under pressure, like taking some deep breaths or taking regular five-minute breaks while at work.
Exercise improves blood flow and can provide valuable nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
Recommendations are to attempt to achieve around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week.26
Handpicked content: How to get perfect skin holistically
Last updated: 1 July 2021