Skin is the largest organ of our body, made up of several different components, including water, protein, fats, and different minerals and chemicals. Skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue.
Like hair, nails are a type of modified skin. Nails protect the sensitive tips of fingers and toes. Nails can be an indicator of a person's general health, and illness often affects their growth.
The Skin’s ProteinsCollagen: Collagen is the most abundant protein in the skin, making up 75 percent of our skin. It is responsible for warding off wrinkles and fine lines. Over time, environmental factors and aging diminish the body’s ability to produce collagen.
Elastin: Elastin, as its name suggests, is elastic. This protein is found with collagen in the dermis. Elastin is responsible for giving structure to the skin and organs. As with collagen, elastin is affected by time and the elements. Diminished levels of this protein cause the skin to wrinkle and sag.
Keratin: Keratin, a type of protein, is a basic component of hair, skin and nails, and helps create an intact barrier.
WrinklesWrinkles are a natural part of aging. As we grow older, our skin gets thinner, drier and less elastic. And it becomes less able to protect itself from damage. As a result, wrinkles, lines and creases form in our skin. Although genetics are the most important determiner of skin texture, a major contributor to wrinkles is spending too much time in the sun. Smoking also can negatively affect how the skin looks.
Though we can't turn back the hands of time, we can take steps to protect our skin from further damage.
Hair LossHair loss may have started with a few extra hairs in the sink or in the comb.
Gradual thinning is a normal part of aging. However, hair loss may lead to baldness when the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of re-growth, when new hair is thinner than the hair shed or when hair comes out in patches. Anyone - men, women and children - can experience hair loss.
Having inadequate protein or iron in our diet or poor nourishment can cause us to experience hair loss. Inadequate intakes of B vitamins - especially B6, biotin, inositol and folic acid - and the minerals magnesium, sulfur and zinc, can also cause hair loss. Fad diets, crash diets and certain illnesses, such as eating disorders, can cause poor nutrition.
Nutrients for Healthy Skin, Hair & NailsEating well and drinking plenty of water will help our skin, as well as the rest of our body, stay healthy. Certain nutrients, particularly vitamins C and zinc, are vital for healthy skin, hair and nails.
Vitamin C has a key role in the formation of collagen. It is essential for fighting skin infections and healing wounds. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and antihistamine effects, and is needed for healthy gums and firm capillaries. This water-soluble vitamin aids in improving scalp circulation. It is important to maintain capillaries that carry blood to the hair follicles.
Zinc, a cofactor for collagen formation, is essential for healing and overall skin health. It works with vitamin A to maintain and repair skin. This mineral is necessary to help support the increased collagen turnover stimulated by vitamin C. Aside from playing a role in many vital functions in the body, zinc provides strength, elasticity and firmness to the skin, and promotes tissue growth. Zinc also stimulates hair growth.
The B vitamins are important for health and growth of hair. These water-soluble vitamins are also essential for relieving skin dryness and itchiness, and for easing stress. Biotin, a member of the B vitamins, is very important for hair health. It is needed for healthy hair and skin, and may even prevent hair loss.
Vitamin E is a major antioxidant and functions to quench free radicals in most tissues. Vitamin E supplementation helps reduce free radical damage and benefit wound healing and connective tissue repair. The main role for vitamin E supplementation is to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals.
Good fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) are essential for maintaining healthy, hydrated skin. Lack of these good fats in our diet can cause dry, scaly and flaky skin, and hair loss.
Pine pollen, a rich source of bioactive natural nutrients, minerals and vitamins, enhances the metabolic function of skin and nourish hair at its roots.