Skin Nerd: How to choose a supplement for a more resilient skin barrier

Healthy winter skin requires internal nourishment as well as topical skincare...
Skin Nerd: How to choose a supplement for a more resilient skin barrier

Skin Nerd: Healthy winter skin requires internal nourishment as well as topical skincare.

According to research, global food, drink and supplement launches containing functional beauty claims have increased by 78%. This merging of beauty and wellness presents a more holistic approach to self-care — and one that I fully stand behind!

Reflecting The Skin Nerd’s 360-degree approach to skin health, interest in ingestible beauty encourages consumers to be more mindful of the importance of a balanced diet and adequate hydration when it comes to addressing skin health issues. Our philosophy at The Skin Nerd is “inside, outside, on top”. The inside is your diet and supplements, outside is your skincare and on top is SPF and mineral makeup (if makeup is desired). In the winter months, many find that their skin can need a helping hand when it comes to tackling issues such as dehydration, redness, and dull skin. The first place to start is your diet. A balanced diet means including foods rich in vitamin A, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, minerals such as zinc and other key skin nutrients as your cornerstone. While there is no replacement for healthy eating, I recommend supplements for those who struggle to get an adequate intake from their diet. The main supplements I’d recommend are vitamin A, vitamin C and essential fatty acids. Let’s examine why we should be aware of our intake of these during the colder seasons:

Vitamin C to manage red, irritated skin

Raw, inflamed skin is a common issue in winter — but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re already prone to redness or suffer from rosacea, the wintry weather might cause a flare up. The rapid changes from hot to cold can disrupt your skin barrier and make you more red-faced than usual. Red skin can also be a sign of dehydration as the cold temperatures strip away your skin’s natural moisture. Upping your intake of vitamin C can be an effective way to combat this as vitamin C can minimise redness, bring down inflammation, and even out the skin tone. We do not make vitamin C ourselves and as we also need it to synthesise collagen (the protein that keeps our skin plump) we need to be proactive in our intake. Look to broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, and pineapple as food sources of vitamin C but be careful not to over-cook any vegetables as ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) is water soluble and is destroyed by heat.

If you struggle to get vitamin C fortified foods into your diet, a supplement will help you to reach the recommended daily allowance. Powered by three key ingredients, Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Vit C is ideal for those looking to support normal blood vessels, boost collagen formation and even out the skin tone. This supplement has a blend of vitamin C, zinc and acerola berry (which is said to include 50-100 times more vitamin C than oranges) to offer a wide array of skin health benefits in a single daily dose tablet.

Vitamin A to support skin health and wound healing

Vitamin A is my holy grail for the skin, inside and outside. Vitamin A in our bodies is essential for the reproduction of skin cells and for providing us with antioxidant protection. You can feed your skin with vitamin A through your diet. A “food first” approach to getting those skin nutrients in is the best way to go. However, vitamin A can be tricky to get in through your diet, as the best sources that contain direct vitamin A are liver and eels, which many of us don’t really fancy including in our meal plans! You can also consume vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, and butternut squash. Solgar Dry Vitamin A Supplement 5000IU is a great affordable supplement which contains 5000 international units of vitamin A (100% of your recommended amount) in the form of retinyl palmitate. Retinyl palmitate is less irritating on your intestines and converts into direct vitamin A within the body. It’s paired with vitamin C, another key skin nutrient, which helps to support your body’s synthesis of collagen, one of the skin’s structural proteins.

One important thing to note — it is not recommended that you take vitamin A supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Essential fatty acids to rehydrate the skin

You may find that your lines and wrinkles appear more prominent during the winter and dehydration could be the culprit. You can combat this by increasing your intake of essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-9 have been scientifically proven to help to hydrate skin from the inside.

We don’t naturally produce omega-3, which means it’s crucial that we serve our bodies these vital fatty acids through a balanced diet or supplements. Great food sources of omegas are cold-water fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel, as well as plant-based options including flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts. So how do essential fatty acids help? To get nerdie, our dermis, aka the middle layer of our skin, needs essential fatty acids to make the lipids, or fatty molecules, which fortify our skin barrier. Without a healthy skin barrier, the skin can become dehydrated or dry through a process known as trans epidermal water loss (TEWL). Research has supported the role of fatty acids in alleviating dehydration with a study by Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology finding that supplementation of fatty-acid-rich flaxseed oil and safflower seed oil led to a significant decrease in skin sensitivity and roughness, while increasing skin hydration and skin smoothness.

Please note: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are on any medication, speak with your GP before taking any supplements.

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