• The Kensington Diary

How your Diet Can Influence Your Skin

Sharing my beauty expertise from the industry here but did you know that specific vitamins, amino acids and minerals are needed for healthy skin? How wonderful is this as most new parents don't have a large amount of time to spend endless time for a skincare routine, but please don't neglect your diet for this reason! Vitamins and minerals also will help in fighting any free radicals found in your body. Basically free radicals cause symptoms of unhealthy hair and skin such as hair loss and wrinkles. Thus, it is essential to consume specific vitamins to fight free radicals as vitamins act as antioxidants in your body. Research shows that certain nutrients are essential for preventing and reversing many signs of skin ageing. A well-balanced diet is important, of course—eating a variety of healthy foods helps keep skin supple and glowing. But the fact is, your body may not be receiving all the vitamins and minerals you need or may be delivering only a certain percentage of vitamins to your skin, no matter how much you ingest. It's also a good idea if you spend a lot of time outdoors or are exposed to high levels of air pollution and second hand smoke. For best results, incorporate the following vitamins into your daily routine.

Remember to always seek advice from a aesthetic practitioner or dermatologist before purchasing or using any prescription-only product.

Vitamin A or Retinoids

Vitamin A plays an important role in taking care of your skin health. This antioxidant vitamin aids in normalising cell growth, form collagen, maintaining healthy skin and increase your cell renewal rate. This vitamin is also used in several wrinkle creams to diminish the signs of ageing.

Vitamin A helps reduce wrinkles, fade brown spots, and smooth roughness. Vitamin A, or retinoids as it is known when present in topical skin care, are one of the most widely studied and published ingredients.

How to apply: Apply your retinoid at night—sunlight inactivates most forms of vitamin A. Prescription retinoids work fastest, within four to eight weeks. The downside: They're irritating, causing redness, scaling, and flaking that can last for weeks or longer. OTC products are best for beginners; you'll experience fewer skin care side effects because the retinol they contain is slowly converted to retinoic acid, the active ingredient in prescription creams. To avoid irritation, apply an over the counter or prescription retinoid every second or third night, at least for the first two weeks, and build up to nightly use. Apply sparingly; a pea-size amount is enough to cover your entire face.

Food Source: Some of the dietary sources of retinol include whole milk, vitamin A-fortified foods and liver.

Vitamin B3 or Niacinamide

Increases production of ceramides and fatty acids, two key components of your skin's outer protective barrier. As that barrier is strengthened, skin is better able to keep moisture in and irritants out—making B3 a great ingredient if your complexion is dry or sensitive. Another B3 skin care benefit: It inhibits the transfer of pigment to skin cells, minimising dark spots.

How to use: For maximum results, apply B3 vitamins in the morning and evening. To reduce irritation from your retinoid, use it in conjunction with niacinamide. Mix them together in the palm of your hand before applying—they won't inactivate each other. Besides decreasing side effects, the combination produces effective anti-aging benefits.

Food Sources: Chicken and turkey, fish including tuna, beef, liver, pork, seeds, peas, avocado and mushrooms.

Vitamin C

Another vitamin that is important for healthy skin is Vitamin C. Vitamin C mops up the free radicals that trigger wrinkling, sagging, and other ageing changes. Vitamin C also helps smooth and firm skin and fade brown spots. This vitamin helps your skin look younger and also play an important role in forming collagen. Collagen is a protein that aids in the stimulation of skin production and keeps your skin supple and elastic. In one study, women who treated sun-damaged skin with a Vitamin C cream for six months saw significant improvement in fine lines and discoloration. Though the benefits of retinoids (vitamin A) and vitamin C sound similar, using both delivers more complexion perfection. Skin ageing occurs in various ways, so you need multiple forms of defence and repair.

How to use: Apply vitamin C in the morning before sunscreen to shield your skin from any UV-generated free radicals that get by your sunblock. Look for products that contain ascorbic acid or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (the skin-friendliest forms of C).

Food Sources: Vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, broccoli,

grapefruit, kiwi, leafy greens, melons, peppers, strawberries, tangerine and tomatoes. It is essential to replenish this vitamin on a daily basis since your body does not store nor produce it. As an antioxidant, this nutrient helps in boosting blood circulation throughout your body.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that aids in fighting free radicals that can damage your body, hair and skin tissues. Your body requires vitamin E to form red blood cells, as well as stimulates hair growth by boosting blood circulation to your scalp. You can keep your hair healthy by massaging vitamin E oil into your scalp. However, make sure not to apply pure vitamin E or large quantities of vitamin E directly on your face, as it may lead to rashes on the skin.

Vitamin E can help prevent dryness by helping skin retain its natural moisturizers. Also, vitamin E's potent ability to neutralize damaging free radicals makes it known as the protector vitamin. Many clinical studies in skin care document its efficacy. In one, Vitamin E significantly reduced the number of free radicals created after exposure to cigarette smoke. Others show that when it's used before UV exposure, skin is less red, swollen, and dry.

How to use: Apply before and after serious sun exposure. A single strong blast of UV light can destroy half the skin's natural supply of E, so shore up defenses by slathering on a sunscreen supplemented with Vitamin E and C before going into the sun—the Vitamin C helps ensure effectiveness. An after-sun protection with Vitamin E helps, too. Some studies show that the anti-inflammatory action kicks in to reduce damage even after you've been in the sun.

Food Sources: You can get Vitamin E from cereals and breads. Other Vitamin E dietary sources include nuts and seeds, wheat germ, asparagus olives, pumpkin, swordfish, mango, avocado, peanut butter and leafy greens. Leafy greens mainly include varieties of lettuce such as endive, romaine, green leaf and red leaf. Other leafy greens are turnip greens, spinach, bok choy, collards, dandelion greens and mustard greens. Plant-based oils contain high amounts of vitamin E. Some common plant based oils are cottonseed, sunflower, olive and canola oils. Another alternative involves getting this nutrient as a part of a multivitamin or as a solo supplement.

Vitamin K or Phytonadione

Possibly help lighten under-eye circles. Fragile capillaries that allow blood to leak into skin are considered one cause of under-eye circles, and vitamin K (aka phytonadione) may help control blood clotting. Daily use of a K cream significantly lightened circles after 4 months in one study, but because the cream also contained retinol, researchers aren't sure which ingredient deserves credit for the improvement—retinol alone thickens the translucent under-eye skin (making it harder to see the dark blood vessels below) and lightens melanin that makes circles more prominent. Still, it can't hurt to try a cream that contains vitamin K and retinol.

How to use: Apply nightly. First allow skin to become acclimated to the retinol—use once or twice the first week, and add a night every week after.

Food Sources: Kale, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens, collards, swiss chard, turnip greens, dandelion and broccoli.


Biotin, a B-complex, is also a commonly known vitamin that aids in the promotion of strong hair. Biotin supports healthy hair by protecting them against dryness and increasing the hair’s elasticity which also prevents hair fall. Besides, Biotin helps in producing keratin, a major component of healthy hair. Research shows, Biotin is also beneficial in slowing down age-related graying.

The major dietary sources of this vitamin include brown rice, green peas, bulgur, oats, lentils and brewer’s yeast.

Fish Oil or Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for nail health.

Food Sources: Eat a few more weekly servings of omega-rich flaxseed, walnuts, and oily, cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, or take daily supplements with 2 to 3 g of fish oil to get a combined 1 g of EPA and DHA.


One cause of thinning hair is anemia. Hair loss occurs because iron deficiency lowers levels of red blood cells, which are crucial to the health of hair follicles. Save hair with iron supplements paired with vitamin C (which aids iron absorption).

Food Sources: Red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, peas, dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots, iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas


Selenium is a powerful trace mineral that everyone needs. Along with iodine, selenium is great for the thyroid. It supports the immune system and it's a powerful antioxidant for the body and hence skin. Adults need at least 55 micrograms a day and some people consume more, depending on their needs (it's best to stay under 400mcg/day).

Food Sources: Fish, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, whole grains, and nuts and seeds are either good, very good, or excellent food sources of selenium.


Copper, is not a new mineral for skin and hair beauty. Infact, for thousands of years, all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, the element has been heralded as a “fountain of youth'. Investigations into the benefits of copper peptides began in 1973 when biochemist Loren Pickart isolated the complexes from plasma samples.

In 1997, the first skin care products that contain copper peptides were released for sale and now, numerous brands offer formulas that are enriched with the complexes. Copper peptides are naturally occurring complexes that are a combination of the element copper and three amino acids. In the human body, copper peptides are found in trace amounts in all tissues, blood plasma, saliva and urine but is stored primarily in the liver. It is the third most abundant trace element in the body, after zinc and iron.

Copper is used by the body in the manufacture of various enzymes, some of which act as antioxidants. These enzymes are involved in haemoglobin and collagen formation. Copper and iron work together to make red blood cells and it is a major component of the outer coating of nerve fibres and collagen. Copper is needed in the body to produce the antioxidant, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). It helps to develop collagen and elastin, which maintain the strength of the skin, and it promotes the production of skin-plumping hyaluronic acid which equate to less sagging and fewer lines, less hyperpigmentation and photodamage. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which help prevent infections and inflammations, so many present a role in treating acne.

Most importantly, copper-enhanced products pose little danger because it is inherently found in the body, and it is metabolized by the body unlike with other heavy metals, like silver.

How to use: Seek a product that includes copper gluconate in both your skincare and/or makeup. Topical copper facials/skin treatments are provided in selected beauty clinics. There are also copper-oxide pillow cases, which infuse copper ions into the skin as you sleep, to help boost your beauty, on the market,

Food Sources: Wholegrain cereals, legumes, oysters, dried brewer’s yeast, dark chocolate, cherries, fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, chicken, cherries, prunes, soybeans, walnuts, garbanzo beans, flax seeds, tofu, organ meat such as liver, asparagus, summer squash and blackstrap molasses are excellent sources of copper. Daily intake is suggested to be between 0.9 to 1.3 mg/day.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is indispensable to the health, beauty, and longevity of the largest organ in the body: your skin. The problem is that while the body uses sunlight to make vitamin D, sun exposure itself accelerates skin ageing. Over time, UV light damages the skin, leading to wrinkles, sun spots, and higher risk of skin cancer. M of the vitamin D produced in the skin is taken up and used by other systems of the body. Vitamin D plays a role in skin cell development and repair, mobilises your skin’s immune system and helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature ageing.

How to use: Topical vitamin D lotion can deliver benefits directly to your skin, preserving its softness, health, and youthful appearance. Seek a product that incorporates this.

Food Sources: Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, liver and salmon. Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.

#SkinHealth #Vitamins

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The Kensington Diary, South Kensington, London, W8

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