Hair, skin and nails can speak volumes about one’s health, and can be a reflection of inner health most of the time. Yet, sometimes no matter what steps a person takes, their hair and skin look dry, dull and older than desired. This can be the result of stress, excess sun exposure, insufficient antioxidants, hormones, metabolic conditions and many other factors.
Supplementing your diet with nutritious foods filled with vitamins and other nutrients is beneficial for your skin, nails and hair, as vitamins help to keep your body healthy and strong. Also, they can help to aid in the prevention and treatment of numerous conditions that can affect the health of your skin, nails and hair.
Most health food and vitamin stores carry an array of great formulas that incorporate vitamins, amino acids, herbs and other nutrients to help regain strong, healthy hair, skin and nails. Many of these formulas include the following ingredients:
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin. Antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals, unstable molecules that may possibly harm your skin, nails and hair, making them become weak. Vitamin C helps to form collagen, a protein that is used to make skin and other connective tissues. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, low intake of vitamin C may result in dry hair and skin.
- Biotin, sometimes referred to as “Vitamin H”, is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that a diet low in biotin may result in symptoms such as dry, scaly skin or hair loss. Biotin is an essential nutrient, as it helps to treat hair and nails that are thin or brittle. It is widely used to help prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth in chemotherapy patients. Biotin also helps our bodies to break down fats, protein and carbohydrates.
- Other B vitamins help with hair loss or slow hair growth as well. Panthenol, or Vitamin B5 is often used externally in shampoos and other hair products to help increase thickness.
- A Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anaemia, which stunts hair growth. Vegetarians must pay special attention to their intake of Vitamin B12, which is most commonly found in animal products like lamb, beef, shellfish, fish, cheese and eggs.
- Vitamin E is yet another antioxidant vitamin, effective in reducing damage that free radicals may cause your skin, nails and hair. Natural News reports that vitamin E helps to keep your hair healthy and aids in the prevention of hair loss by stimulating capillary growth and hair follicles, which are responsible for growing hair. Also, vitamin E encourages healthy hair growth by enhancing blood flow in your scalp.
- Vitamin A is also an antioxidant vitamin. A deficiency can be manifested as poor wound healing and acne. Vitamin A helps prevent dry skin, ensuring that your skin is moist and hydrated.
- Horsetail is the most well-known herb used for adding beauty and lustre to the hair when taken orally. Named for its long brush-like appearance, this herb is packed with a nutrient called silica. Silica is a substance that strengthens bones, nails, skin and hair.The presence of silica in our bodies can maintain the lustre in our hair, the strength in our nails and the tone of our skin. It adds resilience to the hair by fortifying it with strength and thereby lessening breakage and thinning. Silica also is known for increasing shine and body. Use daily for brittle or unhealthy hair. Horsetail is available in powdered or capsule form.
- Hops are not only a main ingredient in beer, they also make an excellent natural hair conditioner and softener when applied topically. The herb also contains silica so it helps fortify the hair from within to add strength and resilience.
- Lavender is another herb that enhances the beauty of the hair. Lavender helps increase shine and gently cleanse deposits that dull the hair.
- MSM. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic suphur-based compound that naturally occurs in some plants and foods. It is popularly sold as a dietary supplement, and is used to treat a wide variety of ailments. MSM has been found to be possibly beneficial in treating osteoarthritis. It is also thought to possibly be helpful in treating other conditions including allergies, snoring, asthma, and back pain; these uses are in need of additional clinical research in order to substantiate MSM’s effectiveness. Recently, MSM became a popular supplement for promoting fast and healthy hair growth.
- Essential Fatty Acids should be added to your diet if you want healthy skin, hair and nails. Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Andrew Weil says: “Try taking the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). This essential fatty acid offers a wide range of benefits, from acting as an effective anti-inflammatory agent to promoting the healthy growth of skin, hair and nails.” GLA can also be used effectively for other conditions such as brittle nails and hair, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and premenstrual syndrome. Unfortunately, GLA is hard to come by in the diet, so supplements are necessary. Three good, natural sources are Evening Primrose oil, Black Currant oil and Borage oil. Do not expect immediate results when taking GLA: it takes six to eight weeks to see changes after adding GLA to the diet.
- Rosemary is an excellent herb to use topically to promote hair growth and increase scalp health. When applied to the scalp rosemary increases circulation and helps to gently remove excess sebum and dandruff, which can inhibit healthy hair growth.
- Skin’s Best Friend, Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance within the body that hydrates the skin. Young skin is smooth and elastic and contains a large amount of hyaluronic acid that helps the skin look healthy. As we grow older, the ability of the skin to produce hyaluronic acid decreases and the amount of HA begins to fall. Since hyaluronic acid helps to bind water, the ability of the skin to retain water also declines with age. As a result, the skin becomes drier, thinner, and less able to restore itself. The loss of skin fullness also means that the skin becomes looser. This leads to wrinkling and an older appearance. Using a topical HA serum can have dramatic effects on skin health. Derma E makes a Hyaluronic Acid Cream as well as a Hydrating Mist that work wonders on dry, dull skin!
Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are experiencing hair loss or any of the other health problems discussed in this article, please see your doctor immediately.
About the Author (Author Profile)Blogger, writer, relationships/dating expert, fitness trainer and natural hair enthusiast since 1997. Sharing information from grandmomma, books and scientific journals, as well as my personal discoveries and experiences with natural hair as we journey from relaxers, flat irons and weaves together.
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