June 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm EDT | by Cheryl Burgess
Tips for improving your skin

Can vitamin supplements improve the skin? The latest medical research certainly supports the theory.

The skin is the body’s largest organ and requires nourishment as with all organs. The World Health Organization has documented systemic and cutaneous effects of malnutrition on the body and has recommended minimum daily requirements of vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and minerals for optimal function of the body.

Vitamins C and E are two of the most beneficial anti-oxidants for the body and skin. Oxidative processes cause our skin to age and anti-oxidants prevent the oxidizing effect in aging tissue. Eating fresh vegetables, cereal and nuts will provide sources of vitamin C and E. Although studies have shown that the majority of oral vitamin supplements are more beneficial than topical preparation, topical vitamin C and E are among the few that are very effective topical agents for the skin.

Vitamin E can be an effective emollient and skin protectant. In addition to its anti-oxidative effects, vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid stimulates collagen production and inhibits the breakdown of collagen; has chemical properties to lighten the skin; displays photo-protective properties and is anti-inflammatory in nature. When taken in combination, vitamins C and E provide double the anti-oxidative properties and therefore, are twice as effective.

Retinol, a topical source of vitamin A, is an extremely beneficial vitamin for problem or acne-prone skin and treating the signs of aging. Carrots, among other vegetables, are a high source of vitamin A. Clinical studies have shown that retinol is beneficial for treatment of fine lines, discoloration and rough skin texture.

Niacinomide (niacin-vitamin B3) is plentiful in meat, fish and wheat and is beneficial for dry skin and wound healing. It is also photoprotective and prevents photoaging. It is also used in dermatology for the treatment of acne and has properties that reduce oil production.

Ferrulic acid is an iron derivative with significant photoprotection properties. It is used in anti-aging serums. Zinc has natural antiseptic properties and is used in the treatment of bacterial and anti-inflammatory skin conditions.

Vitamin D is used to fortify milk and is found in large quantities in fish oil. Fish oil is an essential free fatty acid that improves circulation in the body and to the skin, hair, and nails.

Did you know that the most prescribed anti-aging preparations are retinols (vitamin A) and vitamin C.

Tired of people asking “are you mad or angry about something”? Do they perceive tension in your face? One of the most common involuntary facial expressions is frowning. Frowning can make us appear unapproachable because people may think that you are angry or mad about something. Persistent frowning can lead to permanent etched lines in the skin between the eyebrows.

The most popular solution is to relax the muscles that cause us to frown. This is achieved by five tiny needle injections to the muscle between the eyebrows with botulinum toxin type A (Botox®/Dysport®). Within days, the muscle relaxes thus preventing the muscle from fully contracting or frowning.

Did you know that botulinum toxin type A is used to treat many medical conditions such as excessive sweating in the underarms?

Aging Skin? If we live long lives, the aging process will prevail. Multiple processes occur as we grow older. There is a slower skin turnover, increased skin dryness; change in skin color; thinning of scalp and body hair while some women will have increased facial hair growth; and change in facial and body contours.

To delay the signs of aging, most will be successful in prevention versus reversing the changes once they occur. For people in their 30s, cosmeceutical skin care products and a diet rich in antioxidants are the entry point to addressing aging skin and body. Non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox®/Dysport®, soft tissue fillers and skin tightening are more common in those over 40 years of age.


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