Micronutrients are essential for our diet but can also play a role in maintaining healthy skin in topical applications, according to a leading dermatologist.
Some of the most popular cosmetics products on the market right now incorporate trace minerals and other micronutrients that play a vital role in skin and overall health, says Zoe Draelos, MD, FAAD, consulting professor at Duke University School of Medicine.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are essential for human survival. While necessary in our diet, Dr Draelos says that micronutrients are also popular additives in anti-aging skin care products.
This is because they play an important role in the body for healthy skin by preventing oxidative damage.
Nutritional status plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. Macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids) and micronutrients (vitamins and nutritionally essential minerals) work together to maintain the barrier functions of skin in the face of everyday challenges.
Changes in nutritional status that alter skin structure and function can also directly affect skin appearance.
Unlike many organs, skin nutrition may be enhanced directly through topical applications. Topical application of micronutrients can complement dietary consumption, leading to a stronger, healthier protective barrier for the body.
Draelos says there are recommended daily allowances for each of these micronutrients, but no evidence exists that increased consumption has anti-ageing benefits.
While vitamins A, C and E are commonly included in anti-ageing products as antioxidants, Dr Draelos says some anti-ageing creams now include metals, such as copper, which is necessary in collagen production, or selenium, which functions as an antioxidant through an alternative pathway.
"While research has shown that metals such as selenium and copper have skin benefits when included in our diet, effectively adding these metals to a skin care cream can be a challenge because applying micronutrients to the skin may not be as effective as when consumed," says Dr Draelos.