Hi Dr. Herzog,
What would be your top 3 to 5 things to include in a diet regimen to help peri-menopausal skin be its best? Would you recommend dietary supplements specific to skin health?
Dr. Jo Herzog
Twyla, thanks for the question. Whether or not certain foods have been proven important to perimenopausal skin, there are certainly foods and food groups that I would recommend for both general health and to support healthy skin. My list is probably not all inclusive, as I do not claim to be an expert on diet and nutrition. Since you asked about food and supplements, I will address supplements today and address the subject of food next week.
As for supplements and skin benefits, I have done some reading on this over the years and have asked a panel of dermatologists for their input as well. I must begin the supplements discussion by saying that the dermatologists with whom I spoke all included in their recommendations the same prohibition–to avoid sun exposure and smoking. These two habits can ruin skin faster than any good diet can repair it.
I am not sure that there are any dietary supplements that have been proven to help perimenopausal skin, but there are certainly some that are important and should help skin and associated structures (hair and nails).
When women have trouble with their hair and nails, I recommend Biotin (“vitamin H” or B7). Although I have no research studies to back it up, it seems that this vitamin helps with hair growth. My patients and their hairdressers notice a difference when patients take daily supplements. We do know that deficiency of this vitamin leads to skin disorders, so one would assume that it plays a role in the health of skin, hair and nails.
Vitamin D3 is another supplement that is easy to take and that is likely beneficial to hair and skin. Because it potentially helps hair, skin and nails, and because it is so important in helping you use your calcium, I believe that all of us should take this supplement (unless you have high blood levels of this already). Do not fool yourself into thinking that the answer to supplementing Vitamin D is sunbathing. Most people will not make an adequate amount through sunbathing, and you will increase your risk of getting skin cancer.
When looking at foods, there are certain food groups that supply us with vital nutrients. Antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin D are important. Lycopenes and zinc play important roles in the health of our skin as well. Next week, we will discuss what foods we can eat to get the nutrients that our skin needs.