Beauty starts from within. Having beautiful radiant skin is not merely a vanity goal – our physical body is a symbol of our true, inner self. Being honest, we care about the way our bodies look because somewhere deep down, we know this.
We seem to have an innate understanding that our bodies are a reflection of how we feel. Seemingly so, the pursuit of a healthier, radiant body has the deeper meaning of our intrinsic desire to feel good. That being said, our skin is the canvas of our physical body and the quality of our skin, for a while, can say a lot about the health of our body and even how we are feeling emotionally.
Practitioners of Chinese Medicine have known this for centuries. Most TCM practitioners use Face Mapping to figure out what is going on with one’s health and can even gain insights into the person’s behaviors and emotions. The skin is not just the largest organ of the body, it is one of the best reflections to our inner health and radiance. One glance at the skin and we can determine how healthy our organs are or if we have nutrient deficiencies, and so much more.
Out of all the important factors for healthy, glowing skin, there is one very important element that often goes unnoticed — minerals. It seems that when it comes to skin health, vitamins and a “good diet” as a generality gets most of the attention. However, minerals are some of the most important nutrients responsible for the health of our skin.
In short, minerals do a lot, such as:
- attribute to many physiological functions via enzyme function
- transfer nutrients across the cell membranes
- make up most of our skin tissue, hair, teeth, and bones
- generate energy
- facilitate enzyme function
- promote proper nerve and muscle function
- responsible for immune activity
- support digestive function
- aid cell renewal
- regulate tissue growth
- encourage wound healing
- protect the body from infection
- produce hormones
- promote healthy skin
and so much more… In regards to the minerals and optimal skin health, there are a few specific ones that you should know about, understand and consume on a regular basis.
6 Important Minerals for Youthful & Healthy Skin
In relation to the skin, zinc is very necessary for beautiful skin for many reasons. First, it is necessary for collagen production; when collagen production slows, we run into aging skin, wrinkles and overall weak, thin skin tissue. Zinc is also necessary for wound healing, which isn’t just important for times when your skin is damaged, but also for the overall regeneration and renewal of cellular repair. Zinc also works to promote the health of the skin by supporting immunity, balancing blood sugar levels and improving our overall metabolism. Many skin issues can arise on a bacterial level if our immune system isn’t functioning optimally. A more interesting attribute of zinc is that it actually has antioxidant properties that protect the zinc from UV damage – this is why you find it in many sunscreens. Zinc also helps promote liver detoxification, which is a major factor in healthy skin. In TCM, the skin is referred to as the “outer liver”. The skin is a reflection of our internal health, specifically related to our liver health. If the liver is congested with toxicity, it eventually shows up on our skin. This is because the skin is a detoxification organ and if our primary detoxification organ is congested, the liver takes on the job. So by keeping our bodies free from toxins, we will do a major deed for the health of our skin. Zinc also acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body, which means it will help prevent many inflammatory skin problems such as acne, eczema, and rosacea. Another skin benefit of skin is that it promotes healthy hormone function, specifically, it regulates the production of sebum, the oil secreted by the body in hair follicles and skin pores. This means it can help regulate overly oily skin. The best sources of Zinc: Black Ant, He Shou Wu, Oysters, Grass-fed Red Meat & Liver, Pastured Eggs, Spirulina, and Pumpkin Seeds.
This mineral is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, its present in every cell of the body, and most people do not get enough of it in their diets. It is one of the major minerals that make up the hair, skin, and nails. It can be applied to the surface of the skin to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, to promote skin healing, and reduce inflammation. Consuming sulfur in the diet will contribute to the production of skin elasticity and collagen. It is also a very potent detoxifying agent, and we learned earlier about the importance of proper detoxification and skin health. Sulfur deficiencies are common and that attribute to everything from brittle hair and acne digestive problems that may lead to toxicity induced skin problems. The best sources of Sulfur: MSM (methylsulfonylmethane or Organic Sulfur), Grass-fed Beef, Pastured Egg Yolks, Radishes, Cruciferous Veggies, Blue/Green Algae, Garlic, Onions, and Noni.
Also known as silicon, this trace mineral is another common mineral deficiency amongst modern people. However, if you wish to have healthy, youthful skin, it is a must. It is responsible for the strength of the body’s connective tissues, including the hair, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone, and of course, healthy skin. In short, silica is essential for wrinkle-free skin, considering it is a major mineral for skin elasticity. Therefore, a deficiency in this mineral can lead to wrinkled skin, fine lines and overall prematurely aged skin, including skin that doesn’t heal very quickly. One of the major reasons people’s skin “ages” is because they start to lack the necessary amounts of silica needed for healthy skin. Here is a pro-tip; silica absorption requires strong stomach acid, so you want to make sure your digestive fire is strong. You can supplement with HCL to ensure proper stomach acid levels, you can also utilize digestive wellness tips from Ayurveda. The best sources of Silica: Bamboo, Horsetail, Nettle, Alfalfa, Sprouts, Cucumber Skins, Burdock, Oats, Romaine Lettuce, Clay (both topically and internally) – we recommend the Alitura Clay Mask for ideal topical exposure.
This mineral is essential for not just healthy skin, but also bones, teeth, hair, and muscles. Its primary function is regulating our nervous system. It is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral” or “anti-stress mineral”, considering it greatly helps put our nervous system in a parasympathetic state via enzyme activity. Stress is often one of the major, if not the major contributing factor to skin problems. When we are in a chronic sympathetic state, our adrenals become stressed, our bodies use up vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium – all very important nutrients for good health and good skin. Working backwards, by ensuring we consume enough magnesium, we can help our bodies respond to stress more efficiently, thus decreasing the overall likelihood of oxidative damage that can deteriorate our skin. Deficiencies in magnesium can result in cramps, muscle deterioration, fatigue, constipation and sleep problems. Above all, healthy levels of magnesium keep us relaxed and our bodies free from stress responses such as improper physiological functions, poor digestion, and bad sleep – all which are major killers of optimal health and glowing skin. The best sources of Magnesium: Raw Cacao, Olives, Nuts/Seeds, Green Leafy Veggies, Epsom Salt Baths.
This mineral is essential for building up the blood and oxygenating our bodies, two very important factors for healthy skin. Additionally, manganese supports the production of collagen. It does so by activating enzymes that help produce proline, the amino acid that gives collagen fibers their form, richness, and elasticity. Manganese also regulates iron and oxygen in the blood, nerves and brain cells. Without healthy levels of oxygen in the blood, our skin would be dull and lifeless. The sources of Manganese: Seaweed, Cacao, Spinach, Hemp Seeds, Watercress, Brazil Nuts
This potent mineral and antioxidant is perhaps one of the most important minerals for healthy hormone production. Like other minerals mentioned here, it has a major role in the production of skin elasticity and flexibility. It also acts as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, which means it protects the skin from cellular, DNA damage that would otherwise lead to the aging and disease of the skin. The immune system also needs selenium to function well. In fact, it is needed for the production of white blood cells, that fight off infections, including any potential infectious bacteria that could be on the surface of the skin’s microbiome. Lastly, selenium can prevent the production of inflammatory cytokines, which are molecules that can damage the health of skin cells. It may even be able to help prevent skin cancer due to this ability. The best sources of Selenium: Brazil Nuts, Wild-Caught, Cold-Water Fish, like Sardines and Mackerel.