It's no secret that your diet and nutrition play a role in your overall health, but did you know that it directly affects your skin's health, too? You may notice your skin appear dull when you don't drink enough water, for instance. An inside-out approach to skin care—one that includes nutrient-rich foods and vitamin B3 sources—is the key to healthy, glowing skin. Staying hydrated and nourishing your body with healthy foods are proven ways to help minimize signs of skin aging, fight acne breakouts, and even protect against sun damage.

The Gut-Skin Connection

There are many lifestyle factors that contribute to clear, healthy skin, like a consistent skin care routine, daily sunscreen, and getting enough sleep. That said, the gut-skin connection may be less obvious. The reality is that "feeding" your skin with beneficial nutrients can help reduce the signs of skin aging, acne breakouts, and dry skin, improving skin complexion. Vitamins and minerals like copper, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and selenium are proven to benefit your skin and are found in proteins, nuts, leafy greens, whole grains, eggs, and more. For example, foods rich in copper, like shellfish and nuts, have been proven to improve wound healing, whereas poultry and soy-based foods rich in zinc can help reduce skin inflammation.

Vitamin B3 Foods

Vitamin B3 boasts unique benefits that set it apart from other nutrients and minerals, helping you maintain the health of your nervous system, digestive system, and skin. Also known as niacinamide, vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin, so it's not stored in your body for very long before being excreted by your kidney into your urine—meaning it should be consumed daily in small amounts. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that consuming vitamin B3 orally can protect against skin damage caused by ultraviolet radiation and can reduce your chances of developing new skin cancer spots.

Vitamin B3 is found in many different foods, including poultry, especially chicken breast and turkey; seafood, especially tuna, mackerel, and salmon; and liver, one of the best natural sources. Other foods boasting B3 include potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, beans, almonds, peanuts, green peas, dried apricots, kiwis, and oranges, as well as bread, wheat bran, and buckwheat. If you're eating a balanced diet, you're likely getting your share of vitamin B3. Mount Sinai states that vitamin B3 deficiencies are rare. However, symptoms of mild B3 deficiencies include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, and poor circulation so if you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you should visit your doctor.

Incorporating Vitamin B3 Into Your Skin Care Routine

If you eat well, stay hydrated, exercise daily, and get enough sleep but are still dealing with inflammation, dry skin, and fine lines, vitamin B3 sources may be the missing piece in your skin care routine. According to a review published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, many studies have proven that when used topically, vitamin B3 is a key player in the fight against aging, hyperpigmentation, acne, inflammation, and other skin concerns. It increases the production of essential lipids in your skin and functions as an effective moisturizer by locking in hydration and preventing further transepidermal water loss. So, if you're suffering from dry, itchy skin, or eczema, look for a product that includes niacinamide like the EltaMD AM Therapy Moisturizer. Daily sunscreen can help restore suppleness to your skin too, so a sunscreen with niacinamide like EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 should be used every day.

When it comes to maintaining healthy, youthful skin, go with your gut. When you feel good, you look good, so eating a balanced diet will help your skin shine from the inside out.

Author

  • My name is Dr. Rina Allawh and I am a Board-Certified Dermatologist in the Philadelphia suburbs, with a special interest in the unique challenges for pigmented skin with regards to anti-aging, hair loss, sun care and acne. Founder and co-host of "Skin the Surface" podcast which serves as an educational resource about skin-related issues, a tool to empower people to take a more active role in their skin health including skin cancer prevention, and an outlet to discuss some of the current hot topics in dermatology.