No matter your age or station in life, smooth, clear, firm skin is one of the hallmarks of beauty. Glowing skin reflects a combination of healthy diet and careful skin care. The best skin care routine is a simple one, says Dr. David Leffell in his book, “Total Skin.” Wash once a day with a non-soap, and rinse once a day with plain water–no soap. In addition, eat a proper diet that includes vitamins to provide the building blocks your body needs to create and maintain healthy skin cells.
Doctors often prescribe drugs derived from vitamin A to treat acne, both as topical treatments and by mouth. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin and hair, according to the Department of Human Nutrition at Ohio State University. Vitamin A is measured in RAEs–retinol activity equivalents. The recommended daily amount for an adult woman is 700 RAEs, about what you’d get in 1/4 cup of sweet potato. Orange fruits and vegetables and green, leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin A, so pack your diet with cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes, spinach and broccoli.
B complex vitamins are also essential for healthy skin. Each of the B vitamins has specific uses in your body. Niacin and riboflavin–B2–both help keep your skin healthy. An adult woman between the ages of 19 and 50 should get 1.3mg of riboflavin and 15mg of niacin. The B vitamins all work together, however, so it’s important to get an adequate intake of all the B complex vitamins to get the benefits of each. Whole grains and enriched grain products, dried beans, nuts and seeds are good food sources of all the B complex vitamins. Enjoy whole-grain breads, or toss a handful of toasted sunflower seeds into your salad to increase your consumption of B vitamins.
Your body uses vitamin C to make collagen, the protein that makes up most of your skin. Vitamin C also helps maintain capillaries, the tiny blood vessels that distribute blood–and the nutrients it contains–throughout your body. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 should get at least 75mg daily of vitamin C, about what you’d get in one small orange. Good food sources of vitamin C include berries, citrus fruits and leafy, green vegetables. Toss up a spinach salad with tangerine sections and sliced strawberries to get a full day’s supply of vitamin C.
Vitamin E serves the skin in a roundabout way by protecting vitamin A, vitamin C and essential fatty acids from destruction by free radicals. Its antioxidant abilities make it an important skin vitamin. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 should take in 15mg of vitamin E daily, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Good food sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains and avocados. Snack on a handful of almonds, or enjoy guacamole with whole-grain crackers to add more vitamin E to your diet.
- fresh fruit salad image by citylights from Fotolia.com