mhn news & blog

November 12, 2013

How Poor Diet Affects Hair and Skin

Vitamins in Your Diet

One of the first places to look for signs of missing nutrients is in the vitamins you are taking on a daily basis. For healthy skin, your body needs a regular supply of Vitamin C, which helps in the development of collagen, one of the most important components to healthy, younger looking skin. Vitamin E, when working with C, also helps to reduce the effects of sun damage on the skin. Also important is Vitamin D, as it helps with the development of cells in the deeper layers of the skin.

For hair health, vitamins such as B5 are specifically important for improving strength and flexibility of the hair. It also helps to reduce graying and hair loss. Vitamin B6 helps to reduce dandruff production in many people. And, B12 is important for preventing hair loss in some people. Folic acid may help to improve the hair follicle cell division and growth.

Beta carotene is also important, especially for hair growth. In your body, this nutrient is converted to Vitamin A. When this occurs, it helps to maintain normal growth and development of your skin's cells, bones, and hair. Getting enough of it helps to ensure that your body can continuously produce necessary cells when it is needed.

Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin is an important step to take in ensuring you get all of these nutrients.

Antioxidants and Minerals

Antioxidants are incredible tools your body uses to flush away free radicals in the body. Some vitamins are free radicals, such as Vitamins A, C, and E. In addition to these helping both hair and the skin, also improving the amount of selenium in your diet can help. Not only does a deficiency in this nutrient increase your risk for heart disease and cancer, but not getting enough also leads to poor hair growth.

More Nutrients to Improve Your Skin and Hair

The following are important nutrients for both your skin and hair as well. Ensuring you get enough of these nutrients is critical to maintaining healthy hair and skin.

  • Biotin - Biotin is necessary for various reactions within the body, including the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. If you do not get enough of it in your diet, it can cause undernourishment of the hair follicle cells. A deficiency can also lead to skin rashes in many people.
  • Zinc - It aids in healthy skin cell turnover, a process that keeps your skin healthy and looking young. Without it, you may have skin pigmentation problems, lesions, and dermatitis.
  • Healthy fats - Many people have reduced the amount of fats they consume. While this can be a good thing, healthy fats are necessary for both healthy hair and healthy skin. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in cold water fish, help to prevent dry skin or hair breakage. You may develop skin problems and hair loss if you do not get enough of this nutrient in your diet.

How to Eat for Healthy Hair and Skin

With all of these nutritional needs, you may be wondering exactly how you are going to eat a diet that gets all of them in. There are a few important foods to consume to help you to get all of the nutrients necessary for your skin and hair.

1. Eat salmon for its omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, iron, and B12 vitamins.
2. Eat greens for their vitamin A and C components, especially dark green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard (these contain higher amounts of iron and calcium, too!)
3. Get more nuts in your diet for their availability of zinc, omega-3 fatty acid and overall health. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, too.
4. Consuming more beans will help you to get iron, zinc, biotin, protein and much more, especially kidney beans and lentils.
5. Whole grains contain a great source of B vitamins, as well as iron and zinc.

By making changes to your diet, you'll see a significant improvement in your overall health, but also in your hair and skin. Even supplementing your diet with a multivitamin can help you to get these all-important nutrients.