What does “skin care” mean to you? Most of us will first think of the ways we care for our skin from the outside – with things like serums, moisturisers, and exfoliants that we apply topically. But we at 100% PURE believe that topical skin care works best when it’s one component of a complete holistic effort, which encompasses important lifestyle factors like a healthy balance of diet and exercise. By also adding the right vitamins and other nutrients to your diet, you supply your body with the building blocks it needs in order to heal and defend itself – and you can help take care of your skin from the inside out!
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the key nutrients for skin, filling you in on the benefits of different vitamins and minerals, as well as the latest research. And if taking supplements isn’t your thing, no problem – it’s actually more important to consume enough vitamins through your diet than it is to take them as supplements, so we’ll take you through some of the best food sources for each nutrient on our list, too!
Nutrients for Healthy Skin
1. Vitamin C
Antioxidant vitamin C is essential to the health of your skin. It helps to fight skin damage and promote wound healing, and to protect your skin from environmental stressors. It’s also one of the key nutrients your body requires in order to create collagen, a building block that helps to keep your skin healthy and youthful.
You can get vitamin C from food sources by incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet–especially leafy greens and citrus fruit. Green tea is also a good source of vitamin C.
Supplementation with vitamin C is generally considered safe*, and vitamin C can be found in many health drinks and shake mixes.
2. B Vitamins
B-vitamins might be notorious for their mood support properties, but they also play key roles when it comes to maintaining the health of your skin. Different B-vitamins have different benefits for the skin. For instance, research has shown that vitamin B12 helps your body to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria–leading to a reduction in acne-causing bacteria. Some emergent studies have even suggested a link between vitamin B3 and a decreased risk of skin cancer.
Good food sources of B-vitamins include milk, eggs, and cheese; meat and fish; green, leafy vegetables; soy products; and whole grains. It’s best to eat a wide variety of these foods in order to get a diverse range of B-vitamins in your diet.
You should only take a B-vitamin supplement if directed to do so by your doctor*. If you’re deficient in one or more B-vitamins, then supplementation can work wonders toward your skin and overall health. However, it’s best to get these vitamins through your diet, and supplementation can actually be harmful to some individuals.
3. Fatty Acids
Among other benefits, Omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain your skin’s natural barrier, protecting it against exterior damage. Research has shown that these healthy, fatty acids can also help to diminish the symptoms of inflammatory acne, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. Further research has suggested that Omega-3 can help to reduce skin dryness; this is probably because it bolsters the skin’s barrier, helping to lock in moisture.
You can get Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating seafood, nuts, seeds, seaweed, and certain legumes.
If you’re considering an Omega-3 supplement, we recommend choosing one derived from natural fish, krill, or mussels that are sustainably sourced. Another excellent (and vegan) option is algal oil, which is derived from marine algae.
4. Evening Primrose Oil
Research has shown that evening primrose oil supplementation in adults can help to improve overall skin health and appearance. Evening primrose oil contains healthy, fatty acids, and is thought to help maintain hormone balance. We love evening primrose oil supplements that combine the powers of this plant oil with other fatty acids, like Nordic Naturals’ Omega Woman supplement.
5. Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Tulsi is an ancient remedy with wide-ranging benefits supported by modern science. Research has shown that tulsi has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antifungal properties, which make it useful for combating acne and maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the skin. To use tulsi as a skin supplement, you can drink it as a tea or ingest it in capsule form.
Turmeric root has recently gained a lot of attention as an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Many studies have suggested that turmeric supplementation can improve overall skin health, and reduce the risk and severity of certain skin diseases. You can incorporate turmeric into your diet by eating it in curries and other recipes, or even drinking it in juices, or you can take it in capsule form.
Supplement Tips and Tricks
If the idea of taking five or six different supplements to support skin health seems like a chore to you, you could simplify your supplementation regimen by opting for a multivitamin* that checks off multiple boxes. While it’s recently become popular for non-pregnant women to take prenatal vitamins for the purposes of skin care, we recommend evaluating your diet before resorting to these measures.
Many vitamin capsules are made out of non-vegan gelatin; if you’re a vegan, you’ll want to seek out vegan-friendly alternatives to these capsules. In contrast to non-vegan options, vegan vitamin capsules will generally be made from plant-derived cellulose.
If you’d like to learn more about the best vitamins for skin, check out our Vitamins for Skin post!
*The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA. Always consult your physician before starting a new vitamin or supplement. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your physician to see which supplements are safe for use.