You only need to walk through the cosmetics section of any department store to know that beauty is a multi-billion dollar industry. Clear skin, diminished wrinkles, and a youthful glow are the promises made by the thousands (yes, thousands) of skin care products offered. Are their claims even possible? Can a jar of expensive cream really take away the years and the sun damage?
But why do some people seem to age more slowly than others, retaining that healthy glow? There is just no getting around the role genetics play – in that way, some people are simply luckier than others. For those who didn’t get the good skin gene, no amount of emollients or strict adherence to a cleansing regimen will make much difference. And then there’s the sun. How much unprotected sun exposure a person gets will have an enormous effect on how their skin looks, especially as they age. Does all this mean it’s out of your hands and there’s nothing you can do to ameliorate your heritage or undo your misspent youthful summers?
Beauty, we’ve heard, is “only skin deep.” If that’s true, then what you do to your skin from the outside should affect the way it looks. And certainly when it comes to the sun, that’s true. We all know sun damage accelerates aging. Moisturized skin also tends to look better than dry skin, so chalk one up for all those beauty products, many of which tout ingredients most of us think of as coming from foods such as Vitamins E, D, and C.
Wait. Vitamins for your skin?
Well, sure. The vitamins you get from food and from supplements (when you can’t get enough from food) are good for every part of your body, including its largest organ – your skin. This is why we also say that beauty actually “comes from within.”
Foods rich in vitamin E are also rich in antioxidants, and we already know that antioxidants are the best defense against the damage caused by free radicals. And it’s that free radical damage that messes with your skin’s health and appearance. Inflammation also plays a role in certain skin conditions that plague many people, such as acne and eczema, so foods and supplements that suppress inflammation, like vitamin E, will also have a beneficial effect on these conditions as well.
Here’s just a short list of foods rich in vitamin E:
- Wheat germ oil, safflower oil, olive oil
- Sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts
- Spinach, Swiss chard, turnip and beet greens, butternut squash, red peppers, broccoli
- Mango, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, apricots
- Trout, shrimp
So it’s a bit of both, as it turns out (or in). Take care of your skin from the outside by keeping it moisturized and protected from the sun, and take care of it (and the rest of you) from the inside by enjoying a healthy diet of foods rich in vitamin E and other antioxidant vitamins (like C and D).
And drink lots of water! Water keeps you hydrated and helps flush out toxins. Your skin will thank you and the mirror will make you happy.