Nutritious diet for the skin
By Dr Venkat Krishnan | Published: 20th October 2013 01:36 PM |
Don’t like popping pills? You can still reap some of the benefits—in your moisturiser or body lotion. How? A couple of years ago, the three magic words in the skincare industry were alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Today it is the topical Vitamin E.
Topical vitamins are not a brand new discovery. In fact, they first entered the beauty arena in the 1960s and their efficacy has been regularly studied and established over the past half century. In the 1980s, it was shown that topically applied vitamins can boost cellular renewal and reverse skin damage. The beauty industry has never looked back.
Vitamin E skin benefits
Before we find out the benefits, it’s important to understand how the skin functions.
Our skin consists of three main layers—epidermis (surface layer), dermis and hypodermis (deepest layer). Each layer is further made of various sections. The outermost and innermost sections of epidermis are known as stratum corneum and stratum basale respectively. Skin cells are continuously being shed from stratum corneum; new epidermal skin cells called keratinocytes, which are formed in stratum basale through cellular division, replace them equally on an regular basis. This regenerative process is called skin cell renewal.
That’s not where it ends. In between the keratinocytes in stratum corneum are epidermal lipids (ceramides, fatty acids and lipids). They act as cement between the skin cells, forming a barrier that minimises trans-epidermal water loss to keep moisture in the skin. This moisture barrier protects against invading microorganisms, chemical irritants and allergens. If the barrier is weakened or breached, skin becomes vulnerable to dryness, itching, redness, stinging and other such problems.
As we age, the rate of cell renewal decreases and the moisture barrier becomes less efficient. The result is excessive dryness, rough damaged skin, uneven texture, wrinkles, and fine lines.
Cue: Time for the Vitamin E treatments, which are like tiny superheroes, which enhance the skin’s normal function by reversing the damage not only on the surface, but also at a cellular level.
What makes Vitamin E a skin saviour?
Vitamin E is a one-stop powerhouse of potent skin benefits that offer smooth and supple skin, despite the environmental toxins that we have to battle every day.
Vitamin E is one of the most powerful natural anti-oxidants known to mankind. It boosts the skin’s natural defences, while simultaneously repairing the damage caused by environmental toxins.
Vitamin E works as a potent anti-inflammatory, combating environmental damage with every application. If not tackled in time, this inflammation can create a host of skin problems, ranging from a weakened protective barrier to itching and a slowing down of cell regeneration.
Vitamin E also nourishes and conditions the skin. Over time, our skin starts losing vitality and suppleness. When this happens, the complexion starts feeling dry or rough, and becomes vulnerable to sensitiveness or itching. Vitamin E is a natural nutrient present in the skin and is one of the most important elements needed to keep skin well nourished, thereby avoiding these problems.
Topical Vitamin E locks moisture back into the skin, resulting in a softer and smoother complexion.
Won’t a proper diet or a multivitamin do the job?
Diet and healthy living are important elements of any holistic skincare regimen. You should always include brightly coloured fruits and vegetables in your meals to receive the proper dosage of vitamins and antioxidants. Supplement this with at least 30 minutes of daily exercise to improve the circulation and help skin breathe. It is also important to get about 7-8 hours of sleep to prevent skin from aging prematurely.
So, while there is no substitute for a balanced diet and nutritional supplements where internal health is concerned, topical vitamins especially Vitamin E is a must-have in your skincare regimen.
What should I be looking for?
It is the combination of ingredients that count. And this depends on your particular requirements. For instance, the skin on your face has different needs than your body and therefore needs a separate moisturiser—one that’s lightweight and easily absorbed (doesn’t clog pores). A body lotion, on the other hand can be heavier, with more emollients.
Similarly, hand creams are another genre altogether. Since hands have fewer oil glands, are washed frequently and suffer continuous sun exposure, they are extremely vulnerable to moisture loss, sun damage and ageing. Hence, you need a twice-daily hand cream that contains skin-boosting Vitamin E to boost cell regeneration, create a barrier against water loss and protect the skin from further damage.
Intrigued? Then time to include a Vitamin E infused soap or lotion in your skincare routine!. The author is chief scientist, Personal Care Products Business, ITC Limited.
Vivel Skin Science, backed by five years of intensive research introduces a carefully crafted skin care solution that helps renew skin cell by cell.