The A, B, C and E of Dry Skin

Posted by Fernanda da Silva Tatley on

Does your skin feel dry, scaly, tight, itchy? Are fine lines more noticeable with time?

It is quite possible that the answer to these two questions is YES for most of us. Why? Because as we age our skin cells:

  • produce less oils, as sebaceous gland activity slows down
  • become less efficient at holding moisture
  • are more sun damaged, with increased pigmentation
  • become flatter and thinner

Besides, as our reproductive hormone levels decrease they exacerbate all of the above.

This means that the collagen and elastin structures are more susceptible to UV damage, becoming more disorganised, less supple and ultimately this shows as fine lines… and not so fine wrinkles!

What can we do?

Ensure that we have the 4 key vitamins in our diet and skin care:

Vitamin A – antioxidant, regulates cellular growth, increases deposition of collagen and elastin, stimulates growth and the immune system, and unrelated to the skin benefits it improves eyesight.

  • Great sources of vitamin A: fish oils, eggs, milk, liver, yellow and orange vegetables, carrots (carotenes), pumpkins and flax seed oil.
  • Of special relevance to skin care: carotenes and flax seed oil, as these are particularly useful to normalise skin conditions such as dry, flaky skin.

B complex - strengthens immunity and is an essential supporter of cellular metabolism.

  • Great sources of vitamin B complex: Flaxseed oil, brewers yeast, potatoes, bananas, lentils.
  • Of special relevance to skin care: flaxseed oil because of its omega 3 oils and their antioxidant support function.

Vitamin C – antioxidant, stimulates the production of collagen and is essential for a healthy immune system.

  • Great sources of vitamin C: broccoli, pomegranate, berries, cauliflower, tomato, Brussels sprouts and cucumber.
  • Of special relevance to skin care: pomegranate oil is a superb anti-ageing ingredient because of its high antioxidant activity; cucumber, as an extract this is particularly useful to normalise skin oil production, besides cucumber oil is a fantastic anti-ageing ingredient due to its hydrating, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamin E – antioxidant, anti-ageing, stimulates the skin natural repair system.

  • Great sources of vitamin E: sunflower seeds, safflower oil, nuts, olives, wheat germ and leafy greens.
  • Of special relevance to skin care: natural vitamin E extracted from sunflower seeds. Normally described as d-alpha tocopherol and not to be confused with the synthetic dl-tocopheryl that is half as active as the natural form. N.B. if you forget which form is best, here is a tip: “dl” = “does less”. 

Safflower and macadamia oils are excellent skin nutrients, and the fatty acid composition of macadamia oil is extremely close to that of our skin, hence it is very easily absorbed.

Tips to reduce the potential for dry skin:

A good healthy diet with ingredients that are known sources of vitamins A, B complex, C and E is vital for great looking skin. 

Remember also that many of these ingredients, e.g. flaxseed oil, salmon, tuna are also sources of EFAs (Essential fatty Acids) such as the omega 3, 6 and 9. EFAs cannot be synthesised by the human body but help the antioxidant activity of many substances.

And, apart from a healthy diet look for natural skin care products that contain at least some of these ingredients to ensure that vital nutrients are readily and directly accessible to your biggest organ, the skin. 

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