Boosting Beauty from Within this Winter
Summer is over! We’re in the autumn months where typically the weather gets cooler with less sunshine, fewer daylight hours and the central heating kicks in. And with this combination of changes, for many people, the winter season causes chaos for skin health – dry, chapped lips, dry hair and skin breakouts – feeling like you’re going from sun-kissed to sallow in just a matter of weeks!
Hair Skin and Nails
Hair, skin and nails are all living tissue – well technically the visible part of your finger and toenails is hard, protective keratin protein so not “living” cells though nails do start out as living tissue in the nail bed itself. The same is true of your hair where the living cells are hidden in the hair follicle (or bulb) and shaft also surrounded by protective keratin protein. Skin is, of course, a visible living tissue and is made up of several layers of tissue (dermis), proteins like collagen, glands and blood vessels.
The keratin, collagen and elastin proteins that make up the majority of hair, skin and nail structures, provide their strength and elasticity and ward off wrinkles on the skin. However, these proteins can be the target of different lifestyle factors, including free radical attack from UVA and UVB exposure from the sun, smoking and drinking alcohol, dehydration, as well as ageing.
We know that what we eat supports the quality of structural proteins throughout the body, as well as cellular health, so it figures that what you eat, as well as lifestyle changes, is going to support the health and growth of hair, skin and nails.
Here are some top nutrients and tips to support ensure lustrous hair, strong nails and glowing skin this winter:
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body found in skin, nails, blood vessels, joints, tendons, and even your gut. Unfortunately, your natural collagen production declines as you age. In fact, some studies find that collagen production decreases as much as 68% throughout your lifetime. And decreased collagen production leads to a decrease in skin elasticity (causing fine lines and wrinkles), dry, damaged hair, decreased bone density and stiff joints (due to a decrease in healthy cartilage). Collagen supplements are hugely popular but getting the right type of collagen is crucial. The source is everything, and collagen supplements can be derived from bovine (cow) sources or fish. Marine collagen is a Type I collagen protein and has been shown to improve skin hydration, reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, as well as boost strong bones and reduce joint pain.
Selenium, Zinc and Copper
These 3 minerals have super positive hair, skin and nail support properties. They all act as antioxidant support, activating enzymes that mop up free radicals thus protecting skin cells in particular from free radical attack. Copper is also vital for maintaining healthy and even hair and skin pigmentation – basically copper may stop (or at least slow down) hair from turning grey! Copper also contributes to the maintenance of connective tissues including collagen. Selenium and zinc (as well as biotin) are required for the metabolism of proteins contributing to the maintenance of healthy hair, nails and skin tissue.
Iodine is crucial for regulating your skin’s moisture levels, as well as aiding the healing of scars and cuts. Iodine also helps regulate the hormones that are responsible for acne breakouts. Basically, iodine helps in skin repair by supporting the regeneration of the lower layers of your skin – a true beauty from within nutrient!
Polyphenols – Pine Bark Extract, Grape Seed Extract and Resveratrol
Dietary polyphenols (a group of around 4000 antioxidants but prevalent in pine bark and grape-seed extracts) have gained considerable attention for the prevention of UV-induced skin photo-damage including the risk of skin cancer. In fact, polyphenols may act as a natural sunscreen reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the skin. So eating a diet rich in polyphenols, including green tea, dark chocolate (in moderation!) and many different vegetables and fruits, may help prevent your skin from prematurely ageing