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Nutrients for Healthy Skin: Inside and Out

Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can give your skin the youthful glow of good health.

WebMD Feature

Of all the news coming from the beauty community, the loudest buzz may be about the power of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to give skin a more radiant, healthy, and, yes, youthful glow.

The excitement is focused not only on creams and lotions you put on your skin but what you put into your body as well. Health experts say that vitamins and minerals in all forms play an integral role in a healthy complexion, whether the source is food, supplements, or even a jar of cream.

"Your skin is the fingerprint of what is going on inside your body, and all skin conditions, from psoriasis to acne to aging, are the manifestations of your body's internal needs, including its nutritional needs," says Georgiana Donadio, PhD, DC, MSc, founder and director of the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston.

If you feed your skin from the inside and out, experts such as Donadio and others say you can't help but benefit.

"There is a lot of important new research showing tremendous power of antioxidants in general, and in some specific nutrients in particular that can make an important difference in the way your skin looks and feels -- and even in how well it ages," says nutritional supplement expert Mary Sullivan, RN, co-founder of Olympian Labs. "When combined with a good diet, the right dietary supplements can help keep your skin looking not only healthy, but also years younger."

So which nutrients do you need to keep your skin healthy and looking its best? According to the experts interviewed by WebMD, plus new information from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the following vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients nourish your skin, whether you take them in supplement form, apply them directly to you skin, or make sure you get enough from the foods you eat.

Vitamins Good for Skin Nutrition

Vitamins C, E, A, K, and B complex can all help improve skin health. Here's how:

Vitamins C and E. Among the most important new dermatologic discoveries is the power of vitamins to counter the effects of sun exposure.

In research presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, Duke University researcher Sheldon Pinnell and colleagues demonstrated that "appreciable photoprotection can be obtained from topical vitamins C and E."

"Topical Vitamin C can prevent the consequences of prolonged sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer," says Karen E. Burke, MD, in a news release. "Supplementation with natural Vitamin E in 400 mg per day has been noted to reduce photodamage, wrinkles and improve skin texture."

This research has been backed up by a more recent study. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported in February 2005 that people who take vitamins C and E in the long term reduced their sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation. Further, researchers saw a reduction of factors linked to DNA damage within skin cells, leading them to conclude that antioxidant vitamins help protect against DNA damage.

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