To keep our skin and hair healthy and radiant, many of us turn to topical cosmetics like creams, masks, and serums. But there’s more we can do. We can nourish our skin (and hair) from the inside.

As your body’s largest organ, skin is often the first visual indicator of a nutrient deficiency. Acne, inflammation, premature aging, oily skin, dry skin, and brittle hair or nails are often external signs that your body isn’t getting enough of the nutrients it needs. Supplementing with certain key nutrients can help give your skin and hair what they need to look great and stay healthy from within.

NOURISHING YOUR SKIN

Skin is composed of two main layers. The epidermis is the thin, outer layer that you can see and feel—it’s what you put cosmetics on. Below the epidermis is the second, inner layer that you cannot see or touch, the dermis.

The dermis is the much thicker inner layer of skin that is the nutritional and structural support for the epidermis. The dermis is also where your skin is constantly renewing itself, at a rate of about 30,000–40,000 cells per minute! It’s where nourishment from the inside really makes a difference.

ESSENTIAL FATS EPA, DHA & GLA

Omega-3s EPA and DHA, along with omega-6 GLA, are considered essential fats. They play crucial roles in skin health as well as the health of many other organs and systems in the body, but especially our cells. The human body can synthesize some fats, but not EPA, DHA, or GLA, which is why we must get them from foods or supplements.

In our bodies, EPA, DHA, and GLA are found in the cell membranes that surround every cell (including our skin and hair cells). There, they help our cells function best—carrying nutrients in, and waste out. They also help retain skin moisture, protect against damage, support a healthy skin barrier, and assist normal skin cell turnover. However, if we don’t consume enough EPA, DHA, and GLA, these vital cell functions can become compromised. And our skin and hair can suffer as a result.

SUPPLEMENTING WITH HEALTHY FATS

Supplementing with omega-3 EPA and DHA from fish oil, and omega-6 GLA from borage/evening primrose oil can benefit all skin types, and support healthy, radiant skin and hair. In fact, these essential fats work best taken together, since the benefits of GLA increase in combination with EPA and DHA.

Increasing the levels of foods rich in these essentail fats in our diets can be a great way to increase our overall intake of them. A variety of seafood such as mackerel, salmon, herring and oysters are a rich source of EPA/DHA, whereas, oils such as evening primrose oil and borage seed oil offer an abundance of GLA.

BEYOND THE SURFACE 

Skin health is a reflection of how well your body is nourished. By supplementing with these key nutrients, we can nourish our skin from the inside, far below the surface, and out of reach of topical cosmetics, in order to promote radiant beauty from within. And since EPA, DHA and GLA benefit not just our skin, but our entire bodies—from our heart to our brain to our joints—the benefits of these nutrients help promote optimal overall health.

TERRA LYNN

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Terra is a regular contributor to the Naturally Speaking blog, and a former marketing writer at Nordic Naturals. She has been writing for the natural products industry for nearly a decade, and revels in providing resources to help people make informed decisions about health, nutrition, and sustainable living. In her former life, Terra was a university instructor and academic researcher. Her daily passions include tending her native plant garden, reading, and hanging out with her dogs.

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