Youthful Beauty That's More than Skin-Deep: Benefits of Vitamin E on Skin

Benefits of Vitamin E on Skin - Do anti-wrinkle creams really turn back the clock? Many products can certainly make your skin look better at the time of application, but the real test is when they are washed off. For the lasting beauty of healthy skin, your options are plastic surgery, or the beauty generated from the inside out by healthful nutrients such as vitamin E.

If you want to accelerate the development of wrinkles, all you have to do is to drink lots of alcohol, smoke cigarettes or live with people who smoke cigarettes, and get lots of sun, but aging skin is mostly due to the exposure to the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation penetrates the skin and strikes molecules of oxygen.

The UV ray makes the oxygen molecule "spin," causing it to split into two free radicals. These toxic free radicals of oxygen attack lipids, proteins, and DNA. They cause proteins to link together to make skin "leathery," and they deplete the collagen that makes skin smooth and supple. The damage caused by UV rays results in wrinkling, age spots, and cancer.

Natural nutrients can stop the effect of UV sunlight on the skin: the carotenoids, a group of nutrients including beta-carotene and lycopene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Of this group, the benefits of vitamin E are among the most dramatic but most frequently neglected. Let's look at these nutrients, as we investigate the benefits of vitamin E on skin, one by one.

The carotenoids are a group of colorful chemicals found in common foods such as carrots, pumpkin, and tomatoes. In the skin, they are among the most effective fighters of free radicals oxygen released when the skin is exposed to UV rays. Beta-carotene performs double duty by providing a yellow pigment that adds a golden hue to tanned skin. Of all the carotenoids, however, lycopene, the pigment found in tomatoes, red grapefruit, watermelon, and mixed carotenoids supplements, works the hardest to repair sun-damaged skin.

Beta-carotene, lycopene, and the other carotenoids, all forms of vitamin A, are especially helpful in preventing damage from sunburn. In persons over 80 years of age, skin creams are especially effective way to deliver these analogs of vitamin A to sun-damaged skin.

One of the benefits of vitamin E on skin is providing a chemical known as alpha-tocopherol to recharge lycopene and the other carotenoids so they can continue doing their job. Taking vitamin E will not increase the concentration of carotenoids in your skin, but if you have adequate carotenoids in your diet, vitamin E will help them work longer and better, allowing you to have the benefits of vitamin E on skin.

The essential fatty acids found in fish oil also protect skin from blistering, although not from subtle UV damage, after exposure to the sun. DHA and EPA prevent the formation of inflammatory chemicals in the skin, allowing it to regenerate at a normal pace. One of the important benefits of vitamin on skin is helping DHA and EPA stay free-radical free, both in the bottle (most fish oils are mixed with vitamin E before encapsulation) and in the body.

It's a better idea to get your fatty acids from fish oil rather than from flaxseed oil. One clinical study of men found that a tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day reduced risk of sunburn. It also, however, lowered immunity. If you suffer an autoimmune condition such as lupus, scleroderma, psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis, you can consider adding flaxseed oil to supplement routine. No one should rely on flaxseed oil alone, however.

If you live in the United States, you have trouble getting sunscreens that protect you from the part of sun's spectrum called UVA. Taking vitamin C by mouth or using vitamin C creams are especially helpful preventing the skin irritation caused by UVA.

Vitamins C and E have a greater protective effect taken together than either has alone. Taking 2,000 mg of vitamin C with 1,000 IU of vitamin E every day for a short time to protect skin (such as for a week during summer vacation) has the protective effect of 3,000 mg of vitamin C a day without the vitamin E. In fact, if you are getting adequate supplies of other vitamins, you can get a noticeable benefit from even very small doses of vitamin C. When vitamin C is used to complement the benefits of vitamin E on skin, as little as 60 mg of C a day reduces the processes the cause wrinkling and age spots. The combination of vitamins C and E is especially helpful in rejuvenating skin damaged by the chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Vitamin E alone, however, does protect skin in persons over 60 years of age. Taking about 1,200 IU a day for 30 days has protective effect against sunburn and seems to stop, although not reverse the wrinkling process.

Can you get the nutrients you need to protect your skin from an ordinary "one a day" multivitamin supplement? Interestingly, the answer is no, unless the supplement also contains zinc. One year-long study of elderly volunteers found that synthetic vitamins without zinc actually increased the risk of sunburn. Taking a supplement that provided at least 15 mg of zinc a day, however, greatly reduced the incident of sunburned skin. The benefits of vitamin E on skin are greatest when the supplement contains a complete vitamin E with beta-carotene, folic acid (or folate), vitamin C, essential fatty acids, and zinc.

What if you protect your skin by using alpha-hydroxy acids? Do you still need a balanced vitamin supplement to get the benefits of vitamin E on skin? The general answer is yes.

Glycolic acid and other alpha-hydroxy acids erase fine wrinkles in aging human skin. Their mechanism of action is to break down old cells at the skin's surface, allowing them to be replaced with youthful cells beneath them. Gingko extracts added to alpha-hydroxy creams help protect the new collagen. But to keep your renewed skin from suffering sun damage, you have to provide your cells nutrition from the inside out, in the form of a balanced daily nutritional supplement providing all of the nutrients listed above.

One company that produces a balanced daily nutritional supplement with vitamin E with beta-carotene, folic acid (or folate), vitamin C, essential fatty acids, zinc and more is Xtend-Life Natural Products from New Zealand. Their flagship product, Total Balance is a balanced daily nutritional supplement containing all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients you need in a single, easy-to-take blend for the health of your skin and the rest of your body.

Taking Total Balance will allow you to get the complete benefits of vitamin E on skin.

We take Total Balance ourselves and are very happy with the results on our skin and our overall health. We cover it in detail in the "what we take tab" on the upper left hand portion of this page.

Besides the benefits of vitamin E on skin, is there anything else you can do to protect your skin? Yes, there is, and it's very simple. Drink more water. Especially if you use moisturizing creams, drinking water increases the receptiveness of skin cells to antioxidants such as vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid and enhances the benefits of vitamin E on skin. Vitamin E, antioxidant nutrients, sunscreen, and adequate hydration help dry, thin, leathery, wrinkled skin return to the beautiful supple, thick, vibrant skin of youth.

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