What is beauty? Is
it the emaciated model strutting down the catwalk?
The muscle-bound man flexing for the passing females,
perhaps? Or the young
woman who's overly made-up face testifies to the falsehood that
beauty can be obtained from a jar?
The adage "Beauty is more than just skin deep" is,
in fact, more than just an old saying;
cannot be obtained simply by slapping on colors and textures to the
skin. It is a
reflection of health.
And not just the health of the body, but of the mind and
spirit, as well. In
short, beauty is a reflection of total inner
Keeping up a positive attitude, helping others, and spreading
joy has its own rewards. One
of those is the beauty reflected in the countenance of such persons.
But these qualities don't always come naturally, and must be
worked at. Looking and
feeling beautiful go hand in hand.
Sometimes, in order to feel more beautiful, one needs to look
more beautiful. Yet
some people are unable
to look more beautiful until they feel more beautiful.
This can be a real "catch 22" for some.
There is, however, a way to encourage inner beauty to the
surface. True beauty
comes from inner nourishment. A
positive attitude and helping others nourishes the spirit.
Education and higher learning nourishes the mind.
And natural foods, herbs, and supplements nourish the body.
In fact, there are a wide variety of nutrients that can bring
out that inner beauty we all have, and make it shine like a beacon
for all to enjoy.
Are For Beauty
Many of the B vitamins are required by the nails, skin, and
hair for optimum strength, elasticity, and sheen.
For instance riboflavin, or
B2, is involved with
an enzyme called glutathione reductase, which helps maintain
glutathione, a key protector against free-radical damage.
In addition, B2 itself has antioxidant properties.
Free radicals are one of the most damaging compounds known to
the body, including the skin. Free
radicals can eat away the elasticity of the skin and hair,
encouraging wrinkles and dull, lackluster hair.
Stimulates health and growth of hair, nails, skin cells. Helps eyes by
bringing oxygen to body tissues. Can help eliminate
dandruff. May aid in preventing hair loss. Thiamine, or B1, is also needed for the
maintenance of healthy skin. Vitamin B1- a protein builder
that helps give hair shine, volume and good texture. Enhances circulation
to bring nutrients to the scalp and nails. Vitamin B3 - Niacin
Supports healthy hair, nail and skin by aiding in digestion and improving
B6, is one of the most essential
vitamins in the body. It
is a coenzyme which participates in over sixty enzymatic reactions
involved in the metabolism of amino acids (the building blocks of
protein) and of essential fatty acids.
Therefore, this vitamin is required for the proper growth and
maintenance of nearly all bodily functions.
A deficiency of B6 results in an extraordinary
array of symptoms, the most frequently diagnosed and well-recognized
occurring in the skin and nervous system.
The changes in the skin and mucous membranes are similar to
those caused by other members of the water-soluble B-complex
These include seborrheic dermatitis (most often around the
nose, eyes, eyebrows and mouth), acne, cheilosis, and stomatitis
(tiny sores and cracks in and around the mouth), and glossitis
(inflamed tongue). Pyridoxine supports
the growth of red blood cells that are important for healthy hair, scalp,
and nail maintenance. Helps prevent dandruff. May aid in preventing hair
Folic acid is another B vitamin member that is essential to
healthy skin, hair, and nails.
As it is needed for the production of RNA and DNA, folic acid
is vital to healthy cell division and replication.
This attribute makes it essential for tissues that grow or
regenerate rapidly, such as skin, hair, and nails, to name a few.
May aid in preventing hair loss. With Pantothenic
acid, may delay graying of hair.
Biotin is another B vitamin that is heavily involved with the
manufacture and utilization of amino acids and fats.
Dubbed "the hair vitamin," laboratory studies have
shown that a deficiency in biotin causes hair loss in rats, and that
supplementation of this vitamin can promote hair growth.
Oddly enough, biotin has also been used to successfully
manage excessive and stubborn cowlicks in children.
Hair is not the only beneficiary to biotin supplementation;
another sign of biotin deficiency is dry, scaly skin and brittle
nails. In fact, recent
studies have examined biotin's role as a preventive and therapeutic
agent for brittle nails. Early
research demonstrated that adding biotin to the diets of horses and
pigs resulted in an increase in the strength and hardness of their
hooves. However, a
recent human study conducted by researcher L.G. Hochman and
published in Cutis showed
that biotin supplementation can produce a 25 percent increase in the
thickness of the nail plate in human patients diagnosed with brittle
nails of unknown cause, and up to 91 percent of patients given
biotin (at a dose of 2,500 micrograms per day) experience
Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition, otherwise known as
cradle cap, that typically occurs in infancy.
It is characterized by scaly bumps which merge to form large
plaques or patches. According
to a study conducted by A. Nisenson and published in the Journal
of Pediatrics, this common skin disorder can be corrected
through biotin supplementation, either by giving biotin to a mother
if she is breast-feeding her baby, or directly to the infant if she
Pantothenic acid is yet another water-soluble B vitamin
involved with the metabolism of fats and proteins, among other
nutrients. Called the
"vitamin of youth and beauty," its reputation as a
nutrient for hair, nails, and skin is legendary.
While pantothenic deficiencies are extremely rare,
clinically-induced deficiencies brought on fatigue, burning feet,
and headache. Laboratory-induced
pantothenic deficiencies resulted in the graying and loss of hair in
rats. An interesting
trial conducted years ago on laboratory mice showed that those in
the pantothenic-supplemented group lived 18 to 20 percent longer
than unsupplemented control mice.
This well-planned study sparked renewed interest in the
vitamin, and speculations on its youth-preserving abilities were
rampant. However, more
studies are needed to
confirm these preliminary findings - particularly human trials.
Pantothenic Acid helps producefull, healthy hair
and stronger nails by stimulating vitamin utilization and releasing energy
from food. With Folic acid, it can help to restore your hair's natural
color and may aid in preventing hair loss.
Powers Of EFA's
Until recently, fat phobias and the resultant barrage of
lowfat and nonfat food products made the idea of purposefully
consuming fats seem ludicrous, and the decline in American health
was a mean reflection of this vain pursuit.
But in this growing age of information, the importance of essential
fatty acids has finally been realized, and Americans are now
enjoying the health benefits of this new-found knowledge.
Essential fatty acids (EFA's) offer a broad range of
protection to the body, including the skin, hair, and. nails.
Over the past decade, the importance of essential fatty acids
have been pushed to the forefront of health supplement industry.
The main focus of their importance has been their
immune-boosting, anti-cancer, and heart-protective properties.
But often overlooked is their effect on the external tissues,
such as skin and hair.
Free-flowing, EFA-containing oils - such as flaxseed oil,
borage oil, evening primrose oil, and fish oil - are essential for
healthy skin. Omega 3's
make skin soft and velvety. The
skin can suffer from a wide variety of very common disorders which
affect the way we are perceived.
Acne, skin rashes, allergic bumps, eczema, dry, flaky skin,
and greasy skin are often just reflections of what kind of diet we
are maintaining. Adding
essential fatty acids to the diet can make a world of difference in
our appearance. This
reflection influences not only how others perceive us, but often how
we perceive ourselves!
Beautiful skin requires essential fatty acids.
When properly nourished with EFA's, the skin becomes
smoother, feels much softer, exhibits fewer of the above-mentioned
conditions, and actually becomes less susceptible to infection.
It also ages considerably more slowly and remains
wrinkle-free longer. In
fact, in the presence of essential fatty acids the skin becomes
Hair, too, benefits from these lipids, taking on a healthy
sheen becoming more silken to the touch.
Nutrients, Other Factors
E, and beta carotene
are the "three
musketeers" that continuously come to the aid of beauty by
battling and quenching free radicals before they can harm precious
and vulnerable skin. Fat-soluble
beta carotene, for example, migrates
to the skin, where it offers not only protection from free radicals
from within, but from without, as well.
It enables the skin to increase its exposure time to the sun
before burning. But for some
people with very sensitive skin can case sun burn. Likewise,
vitamin E helps prevent free radicals generated by UV rays in the
skin from doing their damage. Vitamin
C, in turn, recharges vitamins E and carotene, and also prevents
skin damage due to UV-generated free radicals. Vitamin C supports
nail growth by improving circulation. Useful as treating dandruff. May aid
in preventing hair loss.
Zinc and Selenium are two minerals that are also essential to
beautiful skin, hair, and nails.
Selenium has been called one of the most critical anti-aging
nutrients on the planet. It
is a superior antioxidant and free radical neutralizer.
Zinc, an antioxidant in its own right, is also an integral
part of enzyme function and tissue repair.
Chromium is a mineral
that is necessary for impaired glucose tolerance, elevated blood
cholesterol and triglyceride levels, promotion of weight loss, acne,
stimulates enzymes in metabolism of energy, healthy blood circulatory
system, synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol and protein.
Helps to reduce skin inflammation and improve glucose tolerance.
Some studies indicate that glucose tolerance can be impaired in some
people suffering from acne. Also helps to reduce infections of the skin
In addition to adding specific supplements to the diet, there
are other factors one should consider when seeking radiant skin.
A diet of whole foods is, of course, a must.
One cannot attain radiant health on processed foods, no
matter how many supplements one adds to the diet.
Next, don't be afraid to work at looking good - literally.
Sweating is one of the best known paths to beautiful skin.
Remember, the epidermis is the largest organ of the body.
Sweating rids the body of toxins that otherwise cannot be
eliminated. A good
exercise program may just be what your skin is craving to break free
of its lackluster bonds. Lastly,
drink lots of water.
Research has shown that a dry mouth is not
a reliable indicator that dehydration is occurring.
Not only does drinking a minimum of six to eight
8-ounce glasses of water every day act as preventive and
therapeutic agent in numerous disorders, but the skin is the most
immediately obvious benefactor of this consumption.
You will be absolutely amazed at the difference in your skin
if you drink this amount of water
every single day. Not
only will fine lines fade, but skin will feel velvety smooth.