Lack of skin exposure to sun is as high a risk as too much sun for skin cancer. Preventing burns is important but also be careful what products you are using.  If you wouldn’t eat it most of the ingredients then don’t put it on your skin. Here is part one in a series on skin health I’m publishing soon.  Enjoy and stay tuned for more!

Interesting that conventional medicine largely discounts the connection between diet and skin yet synthetic retinoids (vitamin A) have been used to treat both acne and psoriasis for the last thirty years. This is because retinol promotes epidermal differentiation, cellular regeneration as well as inhibits the sebaceous glands. Retinol also suppresses androgen formation. A deficiency suppresses too much keratin and not enough mucus. Dry, rough skin, wrinkles, sun damage, rashes and fungal infections are more likely.

Skin issues like acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis polaris and rosacea are common. In fact, 40% of adults in the developed world have keratosis polaris.

Vitamin A in the form of retinol, the active form, is found in organ meats like kidney and liver. Grass-fed dairy, pastured egg yolks and cod liver oil at 1 tsp per day offer a significant amount. Aim for four to five ounces of grass-fed beef liver per week.

Increase omega 3’s from cold water fatty fish while reducing omega 6 from industrial meat and seed oils. Whole food omega 6’s don’t seem to increase inflammation or skin conditions. Avocado, nuts, poultry and pork are fine despite their omega 6 content.

Zinc is essential for protein and DNA synthesis, wound healing and cell division. It is protective against UV and is anti-inflammatory. Zinc works with vit A to increase the blood levels of retinol though by binding its proteins. Studies show that dietary zinc may reduce acne as effectively as tetracycline, a popular antibiotic. Those suffering with bad acne have lower levels of serum zinc

Zinc is more bioavailable in animal food because phytic acid in plant foods binds zinc. Organ meats, red muscle meats and shellfish are good sources. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source if prepared properly by soaking and sprouting.

Vitamin C helps produce and regulates collagen which maintains the skin’s cellular stability. It also protects against loss of structure like wrinkles and sagging. Scurvy is a severe deficiency and has early signs that include red, dry, rough skin and bleeding gums. Keratosis polaris is a moderate deficiency characterized by damaged hair follicles as collagen formation is impaired. Vitamin C is an anti oxidant. It prevents UV damage, reduces transdermal water loss, supports wound healing and improves scar tissue repair.

Food sources include strawberry, citrus fruit, leafy greens, broccoli and a wide variety of plant foods. Steaming lightly or raw (fruit) is best b/c this vitamin is heat sensitive.