Skin, Hair, and Nail Health
The appearance and integrity of our skin, hair, and nails are dependent upon a framework of structural proteins, especially keratin, collagen, and elastin.
The problem is intrinsic factors, such as the biological aging process, as well as extrinsic factors, such as ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure, compromise the structure and function of these proteins.
Fortunately, lifestyle changes and targeted nutritional interventions—particularly collagen peptides, solubilized keratin, and Polypodium leucotomos extract—can support skin, hair and nails from the inside out.
Factors That Compromise Skin, Hair, and Nail Health
- Biological aging, which affects collagen, elastin, keratin, melanin and levels of hormones to drive changes in skin, hair, and nail quality.
- Elevated blood sugar and inflammation, which damage collagen and interfere with its production.
- Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which causes free radical damage and increases the activity of enzymes that break down collagen and elastin.
- Smoking and air pollution, both of which damage skin.
Conventional Cosmetic Interventions
- Minimally invasive methods including chemical peels, dermabrasion or microdermabrasion, botox injections, and laser skin resurfacing.
- Injectable hyaluronic acid or topical tretinoin (Retin-A) are also commonly used.
Novel and Emerging Strategies
- Topical estrogens were shown to improve skin elasticity and decrease wrinkle and pore size in a study on premenopausal women.
- Platelet-rich plasma, derived from the patient’s own blood, significantly improved facial skin’s general appearance, firmness, sagging, and wrinkles.
- In a survey of radiofrequency treatments, 87% of patients noted immediate skin tightening and 92% reported tightening that lasted six months after treatment.
Diet and Lifestyle Considerations
- Eat a plant-based, minimally processed, low-sugar diet.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside—evidence has shown daily use of sunscreen resulted in no noticeable increase in skin aging after 4.5 years.
- Get adequate sleep, as lack of sleep may negatively impact collagen formation and skin integrity.
- Collagen peptides: Preclinical and clinical evidence has demonstrated that oral intake of collagen peptides reduces wrinkles and improves skin moisture, elasticity, and may help protect against photoaging.
- Solubilized keratin: Oral ingestion of solubilized keratin plus vitamins and minerals significantly improved various aspects of skin appearance, decreased hair loss, and increased nail strength.
- Polypodium leucotomos extract: Accumulating evidence indicates oral supplementation of Polypodium leucotomos extract provides potent protection against skin photoaging, suggesting it may also have a role in skin cancer prevention.
- Nicotinamide: Treatment with nicotinamide resulted in a 23% lower rate of new non-melanoma skin cancers and an 11‒20% reduction in incidence of the precancerous lesion actinic keratosis compared with the placebo group.
- Phytoceramides: In a randomized trial, women aged 20‒63 years with dry skin were given either a non-GMO wheat extract containing ceramides or placebo for three months. In the ceramide group, a significant increase in skin hydration and an improvement in clinical signs of dryness were observed at the end of three months.