Nutritional intake found to impact skin condition

Nutritional intake found to impact skin condition – Nutrition in Skin Care

During the past decade, functional foods claims have been on the rise. In turn, the food industry has become increasingly interested in the field of skin care. Skin condition, in general, is defined by a combination of surface texture, color, and physiologic properties, such as hydration, sebum content, and surface acidity. These skin characteristics are impacted by endogenous and environmental factors, including aging, exposure to sunlight, chemicals, and mechanical damage. Additionally. food intake–particularly the consumption of fat and sweet and spicy food–is frequently mentioned as influencing skin condition, although there is not much science to back this up. Therefore, the influence of nutritional factors on the skin has received increasing attention.

The goal of a recent study was to evaluate the association of skin hydration, the sebum content of the skin, and the pH of the skin surface with dietary and serum nutrient concentrations in a cross-sectional design with 302 healthy subjects. The subjects were both male and female and ranged in age from 18 to 75 years. Noninvasive biophysical methods were used to assess skin condition. All measurements were performed in triplicate. The subjects were asked to not use any cosmetics or soap for > 16 hours before the measurements were made and were asked to not wash the measurement sites on the test day. Skin hydration and skin-surface pH were measured on the right arm. Sebum content was measured on the forehead.

The following variables were analyzed in fasting blood samples: retinol (vitamin A), a-tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), a-carotene, a-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and a-cryptoxanthin. Habitual dietary intake over the previous 3 months was assessed using two complementary semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaires.

Following adjustment for potential confounders, including sex, age, and smoking, statistically significant associations were found in the total population between serum vitamin A and skin sebum content and surface pH and between the dietary intake of total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and skin hydration. Monounsaturated fat intake was also found to be associated with surface pH. Associations between serum a-cryptoxanthin and skin hydration and between surface pH and fluid and calcium intakes were observed only in the men studied.

As several associations between nutrients in the serum and diet and skin condition were observed, investigators conclude that changes in baseline nutritional status may indeed affect skin condition.

E. Boelsma, L. van de Vijver, R. Goldbohm, et al. Human skin condition and its associations with nutrient concentrations in serum and diet. Am J Clin Nutr; 77:348-355 (January, 2003). [Correspondence: E Boelsma, TNO Nutrition and Food Research, Department of Nutritional Physiology, PO Box 360, 3700 Ad Zeist, Netherlands. E-mail:].

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