The skin is the largest organ in the body and is essential for protection against damage and infection, thermoregulation, and more. Summer can be a rough time for skin health. Although getting a sun-kissed look may be what we envision, the reality of summer stickiness, sweat, sunburn, and more can affect the quality of our skin, and continued over-exposure to UV rays can cause sun damage - breaking down our skin cells and weakening the body’s protective barrier.
Exposing the skin to sunlight is vitally important for our bodies to make vitamin D, but it’s key to avoid getting too much sun and protecting yourself when in the sun. Regularly apply sunscreen that covers both UVA and UVB rays and avoid overexposure to the sun for protection against sunburn and damage. Around 90% of wrinkles are due to sun damage so prevention is the best form of action to support your skin health. Let’s take a look at our top nutrition tips for healthy glowing skin this summer.
How diet affects your skin
Many factors in the diet may affect the quality of the skin. We need to make sure we are eating a balanced diet every day to ensure we get all the nutrition our skin needs to stay healthy.
Antioxidants are important for skin health, as they protect our cells from free radical damage, this includes our skin cells. Berries, leafy greens and colourful fruit and veggies are rich in antioxidants. These are also rich in beta carotene and can be converted into vitamin A which is essential to help skin cells reproduce. They also contain vitamin C which is essential for the body to manufacture collagen and along with vitamin E, is vital for protecting the skin against sun damage and the signs of premature aging.
Healthy fats are key components in supporting our skin health. The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds are anti-inflammatory and help to support healthy skin. These essential fatty acids help to keep your skin moisturised and healthy, as well as the rest of your body. On the other hand, excess intake of omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetable oils and processed foods) is associated with increased inflammation.
Protein is also vital for cell growth and repair, replenishment and growth of new, healthy skin cells. The texture and elasticity of the skin is determined by collagen and elastin which lie under the surface of the skin, anything that harms these, including sun damage, can promote premature ageing.
Hydration is also important, to support the body’s digestion and detoxification functions, and ensure we are eliminating waste products and toxins that cause inflammation and ageing.
There are a few factors that can negatively affect skin health.
Sugar, especially in its refined and processed forms, causes blood sugar levels to increase at a faster rate, and the pancreas to release insulin which causes increased oil production and acne appearance.
Wrinkling, dryness, and the thinning of skin is linked to higher sugar and saturated fat intake. In contrast, a balanced diet rich in healthy fats and antioxidant-rich fruit and veg are linked to fewer wrinkles and less dryness.
Dairy can trigger or worsen acne since milk contains precursors to testosterone and other androgens which influence the hormone receptors in the skin to turn on the process that causes acne.
Vitamin deficiency and skin conditions
All vitamins are important for whole-body health and certain signs and symptoms may indicate low levels of certain nutrients and a need to up intake:
Omega-3 deficiency can cause dry itchy skin, eczema, dry eyes, and more.
Vitamin C and zinc
Vitamin C and zinc deficiency will lead to impaired wound healing. Zinc, niacin and omega-3 fatty acids deficiency can also show up as dermatitis.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with the risk of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, and several studies have suggested beneficial effects of vitamin D in these inflammatory skin disorders.
Biotin deficiency can show up as skin rashes, hair loss and brittle nails. It’s important for several functions in the body, and supports healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes.
All vitamins are essential and deficiencies can cause adverse effects on skin health.
5 Nutrition Tips for Healthy Skin
Focus on consuming plenty of colourful nutrient-rich whole foods as part of a balanced diet to support skin health. Antioxidants are skincare superstars, protecting the skin from sun damage, pollution, and more which play a role in the premature ageing of the skin.
2. Embrace healthy fats
Other key components of healthy skin are essential fatty acids (EFAs). These healthy fats are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and are an integral component of the skin’s moisture barrier. In addition to helping the skin retain moisture and absorb beneficial vitamins and minerals, a healthy lipid barrier keeps out irritants that can cause dryness and inflammation. Regularly include omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts in your diet.
3. Curb your sugar intake
Sugar is one of the worst offenders for ageing skin. In a process called glycation, sugar bonds with proteins to produce free radicals which not only destroy collagen and elastin but also prevent the body from producing more. Without these essential building blocks, your skin loses its strength and elasticity, and fine lines and wrinkles begin to set in.
4. Reduce alcohol
Alcohol deprives the skin of vitamin A by preventing its absorption and speeding up its breakdown as well as reducing its storage in the skin. It also increases water loss which leads to dehydration and dry, sallow skin with more prominent lines.
While many beauty products contain collagen for topical use, it’s real benefits come from within. Collagen gives skin its strength and elasticity, and hair and nails their strength too. It supports skin cells to renew and repair themselves and has a firming effect which makes it a great nutrition choice for summer skin support. Collagen consumption can support skin elasticity, keeping skin looking smoother and more supple, and supporting the integrity of the epidermal barrier which is vitally important for good skin health.
Other health benefits that come with collagen
Collagen has a reputation as an essential beauty supplement, and for good reason as up to 70% of the protein in the skin is made from collagen. That isn’t all though, as collagen makes up the connective tissues it’s important for healthy joints and is also key for the digestive lining.
Many practitioners recommend collagen and collagen-rich bone broths as part of any digestive healing protocol. It’s also important for bone health, lean muscle mass, metabolic, and liver health too.
Most people are not consuming enough collagen-rich foods like bone broths on a regular basis and collagen supplements can provide an easy solution to consume this rich source of nutrition as part of a balanced diet to support the skin, joints, and overall health.
Our Pure and Marine Collagen Powder products are excellent skin supporters, rich in type 1 collagen which provides the foundation for healthy skin.
For extra summer support, we recommend our Primal Goddess blend. We add a range of antioxidant-rich berries, and key beauty nutrients like biotin, hyaluronic acid, and zinc to the collagen to create a full spectrum beauty product. The rich antioxidant content in the blend help to protect the skin from forms of oxidative stress, like sun damage, and help you to look and feel your best this summer.