As you get older, your body produces less collagen, which means your skin gradually loses its elasticity and you start to develop more fine lines and wrinkles. Your complexion will also start to show the signs of sun damage, as well as the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle – like smoking or not eating a healthy diet.
Skincare and professional skin treatments can make a big difference, but let’s not overlook the importance of looking after your skin from the inside out. Making sure you take in plenty of age-busting vitamins and minerals can give you a glowing complexion and shave years off your appearance – here are some of the heavy-hitters!
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Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is used to make connective tissue in your skin, bones, muscles, tendons and cartilage. Your body produces 1% less collagen a year once you hit your mid-20s, but you can speed up that process due to sun exposure, not sleeping enough, smoking, drinking too much, and not getting enough exercise. Studies have shown that collagen supplements can help combat fine lines and wrinkles, boosting the firmness and hydration levels of your skin. Some foods like bone broth and chicken skin contain collagen, though taking a collagen supplement may be easier. Supplements come in liquid, capsule or powder form.
Vitamin B7, otherwise known as biotin, plays a vital role in helping enzymes to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins in food. A deficiency in biotin can lead to skin problems as well as hair loss and weak nails, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of it. Biotin is found in foods like eggs, salmon, avocados, pork, sweet potato, nuts and seeds, or it often comes in supplements alongside collagen.
Most people know that vitamin C helps your body to fight off infections like colds and flu, but it also boosts your skin health by stimulating collagen production in your body and protecting against wrinkle formation and premature ageing due to sun damage. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and broccoli. It’s also a common ingredient in skincare products, as studies have shown applying it to your skin can improve its texture, reduce redness, and smooth out wrinkles.
Zinc helps your skin heal after an injury and can also act as an antioxidant and protect your skin from sun damage and free radicals. It’s found in foods including oysters, red meat, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, and dairy products. If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough zinc through your diet, you could ask your doctor about a supplement.
Selenium is another mineral that protects your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays, and deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of skin cancer. You can find selenium in tuna, chicken, Brazil nuts, brown rice, eggs and bread. If you have a varied diet, you’re probably getting enough selenium, but it’s also a common ingredient in skin supplements.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that guards against cellular damage. Your body produces CoQ10 naturally, but its production tends to decrease as we get older. Eating a lot of foods rich in CoQ10 (like fatty fish, spinach, oranges, strawberries, nuts and seeds) or taking CoQ10 supplements could potentially work by reducing oxidative stress, which is a condition that speeds up the aging process as well as the onset of age-related diseases.
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