Category Archives: Skin Health

How food affects hair and nails

Everything you put into your body can have an impact on your appearance – and your skin and hair are no exception. There are a variety of foods and even supplements that can improve the vibrancy of skin and hair, and a couple of sources have already elaborated on the subject.

The Huffington Post recently indicated that some foods may not be the best choices for people who want to keep skin and hair in tip top shape, while other foods could enhance the condition of hair and nails. At the start of the Post’s article, dermatologist Jessica Wu. M.D. told the news provider that hair and skin may be more significant indicators of good health than many people realize.

“Both are a barometer of how well (or how poorly) you’re feeding the body, as well as your overall health.” she said, according to the news provider.

In light of her advice, here are a few lesser-known tips for keeping up hair and nail health.

Make sure you’re getting enough minerals
Pointing to a report from Reader’s Digest, Huffington Post says zinc is often lacking in the diets of individuals who are finding white flakes under their nails. While some people assume these flakes are calcium deposits, the source states that this is not so. In fact, these white flakes may be the result of not getting enough iron and zinc, both of which are frequently found in certain types of fish.  Wu also told the source that protein may be essential to the growth of healthy hair and nails, as the two sometimes fashionable parts of the body are comprised mostly of protein.

Ditto for omega-3s
While the Huffington Post advises against consuming too much fish with a high-mercury content, ​the website Healthy Food makes the opposite case for many other types of fish. The healthy fatty acid in fish oil – especially as it appears in salmon, sardines and tuna may have positive effects for a person’s “dermatitis” and “psoriasis,” which are scientific terms for hair and nails.

Vitamin C and vitamin A
The Huffington Post also points out that too much vitamin A could actually harm hair. However, Healthy Food points out that a small amount of vitamin A could help keep hair, skin and nails shiny. In addition, vitamin C adds to the creation of skin-supporting collagen, and also been said to have antioxidant effects.

Skin health and sleep may be closely related

Studies have suggested that getting a regular night's sleep can have all kinds of long-term benefits for cardiovascular health. However, a new article released by Everyday Health dictates that sleep can possibly have significant impact on skin health as well. 

It would seem getting enough "beauty sleep" is more than just an expression, according to some sources.

"Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones in the body that increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis," Jessica Krant, M.D., a SUNY Downstate Medical Center assistant clinical professor of dermatology, told Everyday Health. "Getting a good night's sleep will help to clear up skin, which allows sleep to improve and, in turn, will improve skin health."

The first two reasons on the Huffington Post's list pertain to acne and other unsightly skin issues, while the third is an example of how immune health related to the skin can be hindered by not sleeping enough. Specifically, it can increase the odds of developing psoriasis. Krant went on to state that psoriasis can harm heart health. On top of the adverse effects not getting enough sleep can have on the external appearance of skin, it can also make weight management more difficult, as being excessively tired has been known to increase appetite while draining the energy a person needs to burn calories.

More reasons to sleep more
Lists of reasons why sleeping enough is good for your health are certainly easy to find. In a Huffington Post blog, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Jeff Deitz, M.D., compared some people's nonchalant attitudes toward sleep to the tobacco epidemic in terms of how damaging it may be for the well-being of the public. 

But getting a proper night's rest can enhance more than just people's physical appearance and health. The Huffington Post has also reported on a study from the Journal of Sleep Research, which showed that well-rested test subjects did better at a game designed to emulate casino gambling than a group that had been sleep deprived. So if you're planning on taking a vacation to Las Vegas anytime soon, it might be a good idea to make sure you get plenty of shuteye in before you hit the card tables. 

Enjoy natural skin beauty boosters with these healthy foods

Has your skin been looking a little dull lately? Getting tired of piling on makeup to get the beautiful glow you want? Well, you might want to consider shifting your diet toward more skin-friendly foods. Believe it or not, there are a variety of different dishes that can boost the overall look and feel of your skin. Even better, many of these foods can help with weight loss and cardiovascular health as well. So which foods should you start incorporating into your everyday diet for more beautiful skin? Consider the following dishes for a healthy, glowing appeal.

Tomatoes
Whether you say tomato or… well… tomato, these delicious FRUITS (no, they're not vegetables – stop calling them that!) can do wonders for your beauty, notes U.S. News & World Report. That's because they're filled with lycopene, a substance that offers a reddish pigment for your skin. As if that wasn't enough, tomatoes may also treat free radicals and ultraviolet (UV) sun damage, which can prematurely age your skin.

Dark chocolate
While it's not healthy in the traditional sense, chocolate can aid with the look of your beautiful skin, reports FitnessMagazine.com. Not only is cocoa great for hydrating dry skin, but dark chocolate in particular is rich with antioxidants known as flavonols, which help counteract signs of aging skin. Of course, you might want to limit your chocolate intake if you're concerned about weight management.

Almonds
Just like dark chocolate, almonds pack quite a punch when it comes to antioxidant levels. According to Men's Health, these delicious nuts contain plenty of vitamin E, which can help combat sun-exposure damage to your skin caused by UV rays and free radicals. So if you're looking for an indulgent snack that's also good for your skin, you might want to consider a few dark chocolate almond squares.

Mussels
If you're a fan of seafood, you're going to love this next entry. U.S. News & World Report recommends eating mussels to keep your skin from looking worn out and pale. This is because these tiny shellfish are loaded with iron, which can keep your skin looking its best. In fact, even a few ounces of mussels each day can take care of about a third of your recommended iron intake.

Peppers
Have you noticed a few crow's-feet developing around your eyes? Well, FitnessMagazine.com suggests eating a few flavorful peppers for treating wrinkles. The best varieties for improving the skin around your eyes are green and yellow peppers, and the source also notes that antioxidants orange vegetables can help reduce damage from the sun.

Physician assistant calls antioxidants ‘the James Bond of the body’

 

In the battle against everyday pollutants, toxins and unhealthy behaviors, antioxidants are one of the best weapons. That's because these vitamins work in the body to fight free radicals, highly charged ions caused by many of the toxins people encounter on a regular basis. Even though antioxidants have been a major health topic for many years now, there are probably a fair amount of people out there who still don't understand exactly what these vitamins are and what they do.

Recently, CNN published an article by dermatology physician assistant Sarah Neumann, who explained how antioxidants are the "James Bond" of the body.

Stealth health heros

"They team up against disease and diffuse free radicals while combating the aging process.Their name: Oxidants – antioxidants. Just like James Bond, they work to save the world and beautiful women from bad guys. Only this time the beautiful woman is you and the free radicals (bad guys) are invading your body. They're working to keep you feeling healthy and looking young," Neumann wrote for the news source.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are many antioxidant substances. These include lycopene and vitamin C, which can be found in many foods such as tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, bell peppers and some cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli.

For people who aren't big fans of fruits and vegetables, there are alternative sources of antioxidants. Coffee, green tea, beans, ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger and even chocolate are all rich with antioxidants, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Multiple benefits

Neumann wrote that antioxidants can help the body from the inside out. For example, she stated that while sunscreen and moisturizer keep the skin looking young, a person's diet can also have an impact. Studies have shown that consuming antioxidant-rich foods  fight off the effects of aging on the skin. Furthermore, antioxidant serum may help with dull complexions, fight wrinkles and potentially even out skin tone.

The physician assistant added that antioxidants don't only fight off the effects of aging, but also prevent some of the harms caused by everyday pollutants. These vitamins have been shown to help protect the body from pollution and secondhand smoke.

Clearly, there are many reasons to get more antioxidants into your diet. Taking a multivitamin may also help you consume more of these healthy, important substances.

New study links pycnogenol to skin health support

A powerful antioxidant known as pycnogenol may play an important role in supporting skin health, according to a new study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology.

A team of German researchers assessed the appearance and physical properties of the skin of 20 postmenopausal women both before and after pycnogenol supplementation. The investigators were looking for signs of aging measurements associated with poor skin health.

The results showed that pycnogenol supplementation improved skin elasticity and hydration. Additionally, the participants boosted their skin levels of hyaluronic acid, a compound commonly associated with good skin health, and collagen.

Based on the findings, the team concluded that individuals who are looking to support the condition of their skin may benefit from taking pycnogenol supplements. The products were linked to improvements in a number of areas of health.

Findings from the study confirm earlier research linking the antioxidant to support for skin health. The growing knowledge of pycnogenol's dermatological effects could help make the nutrient more widely used.

The antioxidant has gained notoriety in recent years, as a growing number of scientific investigations have linked it to a broad array of health benefits. It is derived the bark of a French maritime pine tree, so there are relatively few natural food sources of pycnogenol. Individuals who are interested in its effects may need to take supplements.

Doing so is easier today than it ever has been, as the growing scientific evidence supporting its use has caused an increase in demand. Pycnogenol supplements are now more common than they have ever been, and shoppers can find them in many retail locations.

Antioxidants support skin health, experts say

Most people who want to improve their skin health look to creams and soaps. However, experts say that the best thing a person can do is to eat a healthier diet and get plenty of vitamins and antioxidants.

Baylor University researcher John Wolf told the school's news source that many people overlook the importance of diet when it comes to the condition of their skin. They may think that a chocolate bar or fast food meal can cause an acne breakout but they rarely stop to consider the degree to which beneficial nutrients support skin health.

In particular, he said that resveratrol has been shown to have a major impact on supporting the condition of a person's skin. This is because it may neutralize potentially damaging free radicals in the skin.

"Resveratrol is found in dark colored foods such as grapes, blueberries and pomegranates," Wolf told the news source. "These may help slow the signs of aging, in the body and on the skin."

Since resveratrol is not recognized as essential nutrient, there are no formal daily intake recommendations, but research published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine has shown that the body can handle about 250 milligrams per day.

Pycnogenol® shown to support skin health

Regardless of how old a person is or how the present condition of their skin health looks, it is still possible to support a healthy appearance. New research suggests that the antioxidant Pycnogenol® may play an important role in this.

A team of investigators from the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany assessed the impact of a daily Pycnogenol® supplement on the skin health of 20 women between the ages of 50 and 68.

The results showed that the supplement increased the production of several compounds that are key to supporting skin health, including hyaluronic acid. The researchers said their findings underscore the important role that Pycnogenol® can play in supporting healthy skin.

"To date, Pycnogenol® is the only natural supplement that stimulates hyaluronic acid production in human skin. And, we are encouraged by the molecular evidence confirmed in this study that shows nutritional supplementation with Pycnogenol® benefits human skin," explains Dr. Jean Krutmann, who led the study.

Individuals who are concerned about their skin health may benefit from taking Pycnogenol® supplements. 

Eat your vitamins to boost your beard

Some men are lucky enough to have been able to grow lush facial hair since their early teen years. Others struggle through most of their adult lives unable to sprout more than a couple whiskers. Fortunately, experts say men in the latter group may be able to support their facial by consuming high levels of vitamins and other nutrients.

"The condition of your facial hair directly corresponds to the health of your body," Jim White, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, told ABC Montana. "The same nutrients that have a positive effect on our heart and other major organs also benefit our skin and hair."

He added that vitamin A is one of the most important nutrients for facial hair. This nutrient is known to play a role in the growth of new cells, which could be important when it comes to the production of fresh facial hair.

The National Library of Medicine adds that vitamin C provides powerful support to skin health, which may include the healthy growth of hair.
 

Supplementation is key to maintaining adequate vitamin D levels

While there may be a number of ways individuals can get more vitamin D, any one on its own is likely to be inadequate. This is part of the reason why many experts recommend that individuals consider taking nutritional supplements.

Mary Ann Giacona, who operates the Center for Wellness in Auburn, New York, wrote in the Auburn Citizen that there are many different ways people can get vitamin D. The most obvious source is food. However, only a few foods, including fish, mushrooms and fortified products, have the nutrient.

The skin naturally produces vitamin D following exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds. However, these sources may have unintended consequences, such as poor skin health.

"The other option is supplementing through cod liver oil, which is a great source of vitamin D," Giacona wrote.

Alternatively, people can take multivitamins, which contain most of the 600 to 800 international units of vitamin D that an individual should get on a daily basis. For those who think even this level is inadequate, there are also specialty supplements that contain larger doses. 

Skin health issues become common in the winter

The winter months can take a serious toll on a person's skin health, particularly when it comes to the appearance of their eyes. Many individuals have had the experience of looking into the mirror to find that they appear significantly older during the coldest stretches of the year. A person's vitamin status may play a role in this.

A team of researchers recently assessed skin health in a group of women and found that many were in greater need of support during the winter, according to the Daily Mail. They said that a tired and lethargic feeling associated with low vitamin D levels may impact the appearance of the skin. During the winter, many people experience vitamin D deficiencies, as their skin gets less sun exposure.

Furthermore, the researchers said that many people begin to put on weight during the winter, as they are less likely to be active. Excessive weight gain can have a negative impact on skin health.

In order to avoid these types of cosmetic problems, individuals may want to pay attention to their nutritional status. Taking steps to boost vitamin D levels by eating more fish or taking dietary supplements may be a good place to start. With one-third of adults experiencing low levels, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many people may be in need of this nutrient.