“Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life.”
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Taking care of your skin isn’t just about taking care of that glow, but also about ensuring your skin does well what it was intended to do: Protect your internal organs from environmental damage, serve as the first line of defence against infections, and facilitate that all-important sense of touch. For it to do that, your skin needs to be healthy. At amaiaa, we believe that good health is essential to good looks. When your skin is healthy, it will look healthy and that radiant glow will be yours to own.
According to research, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, wholegrains and vegetable oils has been associated with lesser photo-ageing and skin wrinkling, when compared to a diet that’s heavier in red meats, whole milk, sugary foods and animal fats. The former is rich in our good friends, antioxidants, which fight off damage caused by free radicals, both internally as well as externally. These free radicals are produced not just through exposure to environmental factors like dust, sun, and pollution, but also through your body’s everyday metabolic processes.
Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of good health. When your skin is nourished—from within and without—it will radiate all that wellness. To help you along your journey to natural glamour, we put together the eight most important nutrients your skin needs, why you need them and how you can get them. A good rule of thumb is to try and work these nutrients into your diet at least twice a week. So eat them or apply them, you’re in for fresh, glowing skin.
1. Good Fats
Your fat cells are what give your skin that soft, supple look. When there is too little fat in your diet or when your fat cells are damaged, your skin turns dry and rough, and begins to sag and wrinkle, which is why it is important to moisturise and topically hydrate your skin twice a day. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats keep your skin hydrated and firm yet flexible. Make sure to include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Your body cannot produce these, but needs them for your cell walls. Omega-3 has also been associated with a lowered risk of skin cancer and reduced inflammation in the body.
Put on your plate: Nuts, seeds, avocados and fish. Fish is the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, but if you’re vegetarian or vegan, flaxseeds should figure in your diet.
The amaiaa touch: Our facial elixirs are made with the purest of ingredients, infusing your skin with the goodness of essential oils.
Amino acids, derived from the proteins you eat, are responsible for the synthesis of the proteins that form the building blocks of your skin and hair, collagen and keratin, respectively. Basically, if you’re not taking in adequate proteins, your body is missing out on the structure of your hair and skin. Low protein diets have been associated with weak, sagging, dull skin, stretch marks, thin, brittle hair that’s prone to split ends, and weak, brittle nails (which are also made of keratin). Amino acids are also essential to skin regeneration and turnover—since they help generate new cells, they are also instrumental in sloughing off the old skin, so the new skin can come to the surface, giving you baby soft skin.
Put on your plate: Nuts, seeds, nut milks, nut oils, legumes, soy, lentils.
The amaiaa touch: The sweet almond oil in both our elixirs, atma and saya, combines the benefits of healthy fats and proteins, to give you youthful skin.
3. Vitamin A
Vitamin A has two kinds of derivatives: carotenoids, which are antioxidants, and retinoids. Together, they are the most powerful agents in the fight against skin ageing. In fact, retinoids have been called ‘skin royals’, and are an important component of most OTC as well as prescription anti-ageing and anti-acne treatments. Both are metabolised as retinol, which stimulates growth of skin cells, essential for preventing fine lines and wrinkles, and improving skin cell turnover, which is the process by which your body sloughs off the dead skin to reveal new skin, underneath, keeping your skin soft and supple while helping scars such as those caused by acne to fade away. A word of caution: Do not take vitamin A supplements or apply retinoids topically if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding—it has been linked to birth defects and developmental disorders in babies.
Put on your plate: Carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mangoes, apricots, plums, green leafy vegetables, salmon.
The amaiaa touch: Both our oils, atma and saya, are infused with apricot oil, which is rich in carotenoids.
4. Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex is comprised of eight B vitamins, the most important of which for your skin, are vitamin B7 or biotin, and vitamin B3 or niacin. Biotin is an important building block of your skin, hair and nails, making it essential to maintaining their health. Your body has the ability to produce biotin, however you need to help it along the way by eating the right foods. A biotin deficiency can lead to dermatitis, a condition that makes your skin itchy and scaly. A lack of biotin will also make your hair and nails brittle.
Niacin helps your skin retain moisture, keeping you looking youthful. When applied topically, vitamin B3 works like an instant plumper, giving your skin a fresh, hydrated appearance with an even tone. Niacin also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help soothe irritated skin. A consistent intake of this B vitamin has been shown to drastically slow down the ageing process in a very short period of time.
Put on your plate: Bananas, oatmeal and rice, which are rich in biotin, and avocados, peas, peanuts, mushrooms and brown rice, which are rich in niacin.
The amaiaa touch: Our atma and saya oils are both infused with avocado oil, an important source of niacin.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C also does for your skin what it does for the rest of your body: It gives a solid boost to your skin’s immunity. Considered the king of antioxidants, it has been found to fight free radicals to the point of lowering your chance of skin cancer. Vitamin C is also a collagen booster. It helps your skin proteins stay in place, maintaining its suppleness and elasticity, making your skin less likely to wrinkle, sag and develop stretch marks. It also fights off hyper-pigmentation and blemishes, giving your skin a smooth, even tone. When you’re deficient in vitamin C, you’re likely to bruise easily and your skin’s ability to heal from sores, cuts, wounds and burns, slows down. You’re also likely to age faster and be more prone to blemishes.
Put on your plate: Oranges, lime, lemon, strawberries, grapefruit, tomatoes, bell peppers, green leafies like kale and spinach.
The amaiaa touch: Our night revival elixir, saya, is bursting with the goodness of vitamin C, with the oils of grapefruit, bergamot and lemon peel.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E plays an essential role in protecting the fat cells in your skin from the harmful effects of the sun and UV exposure. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and has the ability to absorb harmful UV rays, keeping them from getting to your cell walls. When had in combination with vitamin C, it further strengthens these walls. Vitamin E has also been found to impede the conversion of collagen from soluble molecules (found in youthful skin) to insoluble molecules (common in ageing skin). Vitamin E supplements, however, should only be taken under medical supervision.
Put on your plate: Peanuts, seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin, olives, vegetable oils, broccoli, spinach, asparagus.
The amaiaa touch: Our atma and saya oils have olive seed oil, which is packed with vitamin E.
Zinc is the link in the chain of amino acids that form the surface of your skin. It is what holds the collagen and elastin together, keeping the cell walls of your skin stable, preventing sagging and wrinkling. When you have a skin injury, like a cut, zinc is what helps the wound heal by bringing the skin to join back together. For this property, it has also been found to be effective in the treatment of acne lesions. But zinc’s superpower really lies in its ability to fend off UV damage. With antioxidative properties, it forms the base of many OTC physical sunscreens—that white layer sunscreens leave behind is zinc! Zinc oxide is also the most important active ingredient in calamine lotion. A skin soother, zinc also helps regulate sebaceous glands, making it a winner for oily skin. Zinc deficiency can lead to an itchy rash that looks like eczema, but won’t go away with any topical treatments. It’s your body telling you to simply up your zinc intake!
Put on your plate: Wholegrains, nuts, mushrooms, lentils, chickpeas. (There’s also eggs, seafood, turkey, oysters and lean meat!)
A mineral antioxidant, selenium works with the other antioxidants in your system to counter the ill-effects of the sun and UV rays. Multiple studies have revealed it plays a vital role in the prevention of skin cancer. In fact, a selenium deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. Selenium also helps counter sunburn and is a popular ingredient for natural sun protection products.
Put on your plate: Wheatgerm, broccoli, garlic, sesame seeds, nuts, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and wholegrains.
Find that natural glamour inside out!
Inner radiance is the road to elegance!