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The role of antioxidants and healthy skin

Published on April 7, 2013

David T. Harvey, MD Mohs Surgeon & Cosmetic Dermatologist

The role of antioxidants and healthy skinAntioxidants are being used more commonly today. Many patients asked me about product use topically or what to eat to look and feel better about themselves.

First, I do think that sunscreens and topical retinoids are still the main players behind healthy looking skin, however, there are also some common food sources which can help your skin maintain its vigor and natural beauty. Lets talk about a few of these….

  1. Blueberries. This natural fruit is a wonderful source of vitamin C, E and riboflavin. It is called a nutricosmetic because it is an oral nutritional agent which supports the function and structure of the skin. Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, which have strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanins are responsible for the pigment in blueberries. They have properties which serve to reduce DNA damage and promote healthier looking skin. One way to that I like to routinely intake blueberries is with a blueberry smoothie. The blueberry banana smoothie is a staple for me. I try to The role of antioxidants and healthy skinhave several of these a week.
  2. Green Tea. Green tea comprises 20% of all tea consumption. It has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic effects. The latter is something that is personally important to me as a Mohs surgeon who regularly treats skin cancer. Green tea contains polyphenolic catechins. In mice, green tea ingredients have been showed to reduce UV-induced redness, sunburn cells, and cellular DNA damage. One study performed in humans, showed a modest increase in elastic tissue content in women who were treated with 300 mg of green tea supplements and topical 10% green tea cream for 8 weeks. Although this study was of limited duration, elastin production was significant…… guess it may be time to change up my Starbucks order.
  3. The role of antioxidants and healthy skinSalmon (Omega 3 fatty acids). Omega 3’s help to keep cell membranes healthy and reduce inflammation. Salmon has a high concentration of omega 3’s. Studies are currently ongoing in the use of omega 3’s in the treatment of psoriasis, acne, and atopic dermatitis. With respect to skin cancer formation, studies in mice have shown that omega-3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect against UVB-induced carcinogenesis. These findings may be attributed to omega 3’s effects on the UVB-induced inflammatory response….I’ll have mine grilled over a cedar plank please.
  4. Mushrooms. Mushrooms are not often thought of a primary food source but The role of antioxidants and healthy skinthey have great nutritional benefits. Some studies have shown the advantages of mushrooms in wound healing. Japanese mushrooms have been used as skin lightening agents as they are an excellent sources of tyrosinase inhibition. Mushrooms have also been shown to have anti=inflammatory properties, are an excellent source of Vitamin D, and have anti-carcinogenic benefits…. Now, I just have to learn how to say “Shitake” the correct way.
  5. The role of antioxidants and healthy skinVitamin C (ascorbic acid). This common vitamin, a water absorbable micronutrient, has wonderful properties on the skin. Ascorbic acid has been shown to stimulate collagen, has been used as a skin lightener, and reduces the redness associated with UVB exposure. Vitamin C is extremely important for tissue integrity maintenance, and plays a crucial role in formation of necessary skin barriers…. I’ll have another glass of OJ please.

I hope this blog has motivated you to eat well. . Through incorporating some of these dietary additions, I am sure that your skin will thank you by looking great! Happy eating….

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