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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.

More Vitamins for Healthy Skin continued...

In another study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, doctors found that foods high in beta-cartotene -- a form of vitamin A -- appeared to reduce the risk of psoriasis.

The prescription treatment for acne called Retin-A is derived from vitamin A. The less potent, over-the-counter formulations are sold as retinols and used as anti-aging treatments.

Vitamin B Complex. When it comes to skin, the single most important B vitamin is biotin, a nutrient that forms the basis of skin, nail, and hair cells. Without adequate amounts, you may end up with dermatitis (an itchy, scaly skin reaction) or sometimes even hair loss. Even a mild deficiency causes symptoms.

Most people get enough biotin without even trying. It's found in many foods including bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and rice, plus your body also makes some biotin on its own.

But recently, greater attention is being paid to topical preparations containing B vitamins. These creams can help give skin an almost instant healthy glow while hydrating cells and increasing overall tone. Niacin, a specific B vitamin, helps skin retain moisture, so creams containing this nutrient can help your complexion look plumper and younger in as little as six days. Niacin also has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe dry, irritated skin. In higher concentrations it can also work as a lightening agent to even out blotchy skin tone.

In one study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2003, a topical form of vitamin B was shown to dramatically improve aging in human skin.

Vitamin K. As the nutrient responsible for helping blood clot, Vitamin K won't do much for your skin from the inside. But studies presented to the American Academy of Dermatology in 2003 showed that topical vitamin K works well to reduce circles under the eye as well as bruises. In research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2002, doctors from the University of Miami School of Medicine found that skin treatments with vitamin K cream after laser surgery significantly reduced bruising. When combined with vitamin A in a cream, vitamin K can be even more effective for those dark circles. In a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, doctors from the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo found that the topical application of a gel containing a derivative of vitamin K, as well as vitamins A, C, and E, was effective in reducing dark under-eye circles while also decreasing wrinkles.

Minerals Beneficial for Skin Nutrition

Mary Sullivan, RN, the co-founder of Olympian Labs, says most of us don't need to supplement our mineral intake, particularly if we already take a multivitamin. This is even truer, she says, if you drink spring water, which often contains healthful, natural supplies of important minerals. Studies show that washing your face with mineral water can help reduce many common skin irritations, and the mineral content may help some skin cells absorb the moisture better.

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