Protecting skin from within through summer months
Sunlight is an enormous part of our daily well-being. It energizes us, improves our mood and synthesizes vitamin D in our skin - the hormone-like vitamin that supports the healthy functioning of so many of our body systems. However, we know that intense exposure to UVA/B radiation from the sun can also damage our skin and, over time, this can contribute to accelerated aging. For all skin tones, safe sun exposure and a non-toxic SPF used daily is essential for outer skin protection. For inside-out protection, specific supplements can also be beneficial in strengthening the skin’s defenses, and are a great complementary solution to your skincare routine.
5 x Summer Skin-Protecting Supplements
1. Vitamin E
A super-antioxidant with amazing skin healing actions. It neutralizes free radicals in skin cells, which limits oxidative stress and sun damage for more even smooth skin. When choosing a supplement, try d-alpha-tocopherol, which is the most bioavailable form of vitamin E.
An antioxidant compound found in the pigment of orange plant-foods, that converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays a central role in maintaining the health and integrity of the skin, and promotes healthy cell turnover, so it is super useful in helping refresh the appearance of sun damaged skin.
3. Vitamin C
The most well-known of the antioxidants, it acts as a coenzyme in helping to manufacture collagen - the protein that provides our skin with structure, and keeps it plump. However, it declines with age and free radical damage from the sun. Try a liposomal C formulation for optimal vitamin C absorption.
Is a trace mineral and potent antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors. It works together with other antioxidants to deactivate free radicals from the sun and can bolster the skin's defenses.
5. Algae oil
A more sustainable omega-3 fatty acid supplement, with similar levels of the DHA and EPA fatty acids that fish oil contains. Algae omegas can help to keep skin cell membranes functioning efficiently, which in turn contributes to more resilient skin.
SUPPORTING OUR SKIN THROUGH OUR CYCLE
The four phases of the menstrual cycle are driven primarily by the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, which fluctuate in rhythms throughout the month. Sex hormone activity can also influence our skin health, and many menstruating females may notice that skin can be dryer, or more dewy, dehydrated, dull, shiny or inflamed, depending on where they are in their cycle.
NUTRITONAL TIPS TO SUPPORT YOUR 28 DAY CYCLE
Menstrual phase days 1-7 –
There has been a lot of hormonal activity leading up to this phase, and the skin can end up being a bit more oily and prone to looking dull or congested.
Support your skin
Skipping alcohol during this time, will allow your liver to focus on removing used hormones and rebalancing, which will reflect positively on your skin.
Follicular phase days 8-14 –
With estrogen and progesterone on the rise, skin can often be more balanced, calm and glowing. However, it can also become slightly dryer than usual. Support your skin with plenty of filtered water, and daily servings of high-water content fruits and vegetables like cucumber, lettuce and watermelon.
Ovulation phase days 15-21 –
Hormonal shifts at this time can lead to skin becoming oily, prone to breakouts, and if you are estrogen dominant, you may want to step up on detoxification to help balance those hormones.
Support your skin
Try eating plenty of cleansing cruciferous vegetables and a DIM (diindolylmethane) supplement, which can enhance hormone detoxification processes for more balanced skin.
Luteal phase days 22-28
Hormonal dips at this time can continue to make skin more oily, or in some it may trigger inflammatory conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Support your skin
Try a prebiotic/ probiotic powder formulation, to boost the ecology of bacteria in your gut. Your gut microbes help to regulate estrogen, which can optimize skin health. They also help to regulate the immune response, which is important if you are prone to inflammatory flare-ups in the lead up to your bleed.
Lola is a London-based nutritionist specializing in female health and an experienced reproductive health educator, writer and speaker. She is also co-founder of the moods and hormone cycle tracking app Moody Month, technology that offers an inclusive progressive approach to hormonal health education alongside daily wellness support.