These Are the Vitamins and Nutrients That Are Important for Healthy Skin and Hair
We all want dewy skin and shiny hair. But when it comes to how to achieve them, the options can feel endless. And on top of all the products you put on your body, there are the remedies you put in your body too. But how do you know what actually works? We talked to experts to find out what vitamins and nutrients to make sure to get enough for healthy skin and hair. Scroll on for the scoop.
Vitamins & Nutrients Good for Skin & Hair
For Your Skin: You want to load up on antioxidants, which play a key role in defending against the free radicals that cause aging by helping skin cells effectively detoxify on a daily basis. This then tightens the skin, reduces wrinkles, and repairs age spots, according to Alexandra Catalano, holistic nutritionist and creator of popular lifestyle brand Eat Cute.
Vitamins like A, E, and C are rich in antioxidants and “are essential when it comes to clear, healthy-looking skin," says Taryn Forrelli, a naturopathic doctor and head of product development at vitamin brand OLLY. Vitamin C is crucial for glowing skin as it is not only an antioxidant but also helps create collagen.
Collagen (which seems to be having a moment) is great for your skin because “[it] helps form elastin and other compounds within the skin that are responsible for maintaining skin's youthful appearance and healthy glow. The more collagen you have in your body, the less likely you are to have one of the most visible signs of aging — wrinkles," Catalano points out. And don't forget omega-3 and fatty acids, which help your skin get that coveted glowy look.
For Your Hair: A nutrient that's beneficial for both your skin and hair is zinc. It “helps speed up hair follicle recovery on damaged hair and is also essential for the growth of new healthy tissue for your skin," explains Forrelli.
You may have heard that biotin helps hair grow, and experts concur that it can contribute to lustrous locks. “Biotin supports keratin formation, a protein found in hair, skin, and nails," says Erin Stokes, a naturopathic doctor and medical director at MegaFood vitamins.
According to Forrelli,“Keratin provides a rich source of cysteine which can be used by the body to create hair fibers that resist stress and breakage. The combination of biotin and solubilized keratin ensures your follicles have both the building blocks and the energy needed to grow healthy hair."
And omega-3 doesn't just help your skin glow — it also supports the grown of longer, stronger, thicker hair, Catalano tells us.
How to Get 'Em: Food or Supplements?
Now that we know the nutrients that are good for our hair and skin, what's the best way to absorb them? Some nutrients like biotin are best absorbed in supplement form, while others like antioxidants can be easily ingested through your diet. The choice to consume your nutrients in supplement or food form is really up to you based on what fits into your lifestyle.
To get antioxidants for your skin via your diet, Catalano suggests cabbage, which is rich in vitamin A. For a big helping of vitamin C, she loves camu camu, large berries from a shrub in the Amazon that Catalano promises “have more vitamin C than any food on the planet." And for a good dose of vitamin E, munch on some almonds — just one ounce has 7.4 milligrams of vitamin E, which is about a third of the recommended daily amount.
For your collagen intake, Catalano advises looking for a supplement with collagen or adding some collagen powder to your morning smoothie. Vital Proteins makes a good collagen powder; if you're vegan, Moon Juice makes a vegan one.
Get omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating salmon, sardines, and chia seeds for glowy skin, or take fish oil supplements, which are an excellent source of omega-3 fats that help thicken and hydrate hair, states Stokes. “It also helps combat inflammation that can be a culprit of hair loss," Catalano explains. So “load up on flax seeds which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, and B vitamins, all of which foster growth of stronger, longer, and thicker hair," recommends Catalano.
As for zinc, which benefits both skin and hair, you can get it from oysters, which have more zinc per serving than any other food, along with red meat, poultry, dairy, and seafood like crab and lobster. If you're vegan, try beans, nuts, whole grains, or fortified breakfast cereals, which also are good sources of zinc.
Lastly, hyaluronic acid can help with skin hydration. But simply applying hyaluronic acid to the skin doesn't get it into the skin's layers where it's needed to retain moisture. So Forrelli suggests orally consuming 120mg of hyaluronic acid a day so “it can be absorbed through the digestive tract and work to boost skin moisture and improve skin smoothness for a youthful glow from within." You can take hyaluronic acid in supplement form or you can also find it in OLLY's Vibrant Skin Gummies ($14).
Don't Forget the Basics
While all of these vitamins and nutrients can work wonders, there are some simple things you can do on a daily basis to keep your skin in tip-top shape. For instance, drinking enough water keeps your skin looking fresh. “Proper hydration is important for skin health and overall whole body health. Dehydrated skin is dry, flaky, and more prone to emphasizing wrinkles," says Stokes.
Also, keep in mind that sleep deprivation is really bad for your skin. According to Forrelli it “triggers the body's stress response, which in turn increases skin inflammation. Proper sleep is essential for keeping the stress response in check while promoting skin rejuvenation. Aim for seven to nine hours per night," she recommends.
What are your tips for healthy skin and hair? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo!
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