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Flavonoids (Green Tea and and Chocolate) for Your Skin

Green tea and yes, even chocolate, just might help improve your skin. Research suggests that the flavonoids in green tea are strong antioxidants that may help protect the skin from cancer and inflammation. A German study in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank hot cocoa with a high flavonoid concentration for three months had softer, smoother skin than women who drank hot cocoa with a lower flavonoid concentration.

Another study, this one in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that women whose skin was treated with green tea extract were more protected against the adverse effects of sunlight exposure. Although the results look promising so far, more research is needed to prove that flavonoids work and to determine the best dose, according to Burke.

B Vitamins for Your Skin

The B vitamins are essential for cells throughout the body, including skin cells. It's important to get enough of foods rich in B vitamins, such as chicken, eggs, and fortified grain products, because a B vitamin deficiency can lead to dry, itchy skin.

Research is showing that some B vitamins are beneficial when applied to the skin.

For example, in one study of hairless mice, researchers in Kawasaki, Japan, found topical application of an antioxidant derived from vitamin B-6 protected against sun-induced skin damage and decreased wrinkles.

Other Antioxidants

Many other plant-based extracts are being studied for their positive effects on the skin, either when ingested or applied topically. Examples are rosemary, tomato paste (lycopene), grape seed extract, pomegranate, and soy. Some experts feel that a blend of many different antioxidants and extracts might be more effective than individual products. The final answer about the best doses and extracts remains to be determined by researchers.

Evaluating the Claims on Vitamins for Skin Care

Companies often claim that their products can give you miraculous results, but don't believe all the hype. Although nutritional supplements and cosmeceuticals (products that combine cosmetics and pharmaceutical ingredients) are tested for safety, their benefits aren't necessarily confirmed in studies.

Even though a product may claim to contain useful antioxidants such as vitamin C or E, it's often difficult to know exactly how much of these vitamins and antioxidants are in the bottle. Vitamins and antioxidants need to be in strong enough concentrations, and in the correct forms, to remain stable and to be effective. If you are thinking about using a vitamin or antioxidant for your skin, it's best to ask your dermatologist for advice before buying it.

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