If we asked you to guess what the heaviest organ in your body is, you would probably say your brain or heart, but did you know it’s actually your skin? It’s true — your skin is an organ, and it is the body’s largest organ, covering the entire outer surface of our bodies. Just by itself, it accounts for 16 per cent of your total body weight.
As it is considered our ‘outer layer’, our skin is our first line of defence when interfacing with the environment, and it plays an extremely important role in protecting the body from all external harm. This includes germs and harmful bacteria, damaging sun rays, and freezing cold air — your body acts like a tough physical barrier against the elements.
With such an important role to play, it only makes sense that we should take good care of our skin, but sadly, most of us tend to take it for granted. Looking after your skin should be an essential part of your daily routine, so what better time to start than right now?
Eat Your Vitamins
There are many ways to take care of your skin, like making sure you don’t stay out in the sun too long, and to wear sunblock or sunscreen when you have to be out under the sun for an extended period. But did you know there are other easier ways to achieve healthy skin?
One such way is to watch what you eat. Your diet actually plays a big part in skin maintenance, and this is due to the vitamins and minerals in your food. A healthy diet will not only nourish your skin from the inside out, but it also has the added benefits of preventing obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Most vitamins have skin-boosting effects, but knowing which vitamins are able to produce what effects will help you gain a deeper understanding as a whole, and with that knowledge, you will be able to know what you should be eating to get the improvements you want. Here are some of the most beneficial vitamins to getting good skin.
In alphabetical order, vitamin A acts as a natural antioxidant, and it aids with eye health and enhances our vision. This vitamin is also necessary for maintaining skin health as it is able to reduce the fine ageing lines and wrinkles that sprout up when the skin loses elasticity. To get your dose of vitamin A, sweet potatoes are a great source of this essential vitamin. Other foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, spinach, salmon, and mangoes.
Also known as niacin, vitamin B3 is not just needed for healthy skin, but it also benefits your brain, central nervous system, and blood cells. Niacinamide — a by-product of vitamin B3 — can usually be found in beauty products like moisturizing creams and lotions, because this vitamin keeps your skin looking flawless by naturally firming your aged skin. Look to avocados, green peas, mushrooms, and tuna for your daily dose of vitamin B3.
Another vitamin from the B family is vitamin B5. Also known as pantothenic acid or panthenol, this nutrient is proven to be effective at hydration for your skin. Studies have shown that it prevents your skin from losing water and improves the skin barrier functions. Similar to vitamin B3, many beauty and skincare products contain this hydration-boosting vitamin because of how it prevents skin from drying. Avocadoes are full of pantothenic acid and other useful nutrients like potassium and monounsaturated fats. Lean meat like chicken and pork, egg yolks and milk are also good sources.
Ah, good ol’ Vitamin C — is there anything you cannot do? Found in citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, bell peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes, vitamin C is vital for our overall health — it boosts our immune system and fights colds, promotes the growth of healthy skin and blood vessels, lowers blood pressure levels and high cholesterol levels — the list goes on and on. It also aids in collagen production, which is needed smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.
We mentioned earlier that staying out under the sun for long periods can be damaging to the skin, but did you know short doses of sun exposure generates vitamin D? Our skin absorbs the sunlight, and in the process, cholesterol is converted to vitamin D. It plays a big role in skin tone, and can even help skin disorders like acne breakouts and psoriasis. To get a vitamin D boost, get a maximum of 10 minutes worth of sun exposure a day. Foods that contain vitamin D include fish like salmon and tuna, and fortified foods like cereals, orange juice, and yoghurt.
If your skin is wounded and bruised, you’ll need more vitamin K if you want to speed up the healing process. It helps the body’s process of blood clotting and is also useful with healing stretch marks, spider veins, and dark circles under your eyes. Increase your intake by eating veggies like kale, spinach, lettuce, and cabbage.