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Hair, skin and nail health

By staff

Your hair, skin and nails are a major part of your visual appearance and can ultimately say and tell a lot about how we take care of our body and how we age. We all want perfectly healthy thick hair, strong nails and smooth glowing skin but where does it start? What can we do to improve or strengthen what we were born with?

Hair

Your hair grows around 1.25 cm per month and 15 cm per year. But this can be dependent on genetics, health, age and diet. Health and diet being the 2 factors that you can control and influence. Hair needs various vitamins to help maintain thick shiny locks, some of these include protein, iron, vitamin A and zinc.

Protein – Hair is made of protein, it is fundamental for hair growth, strength and overall hair health. Low protein diets or malnourishment, may make the hair brittle, contribute to hair loss and reduce growth. Protein is easily sourced from diet. Foods to consume are eggs, which are also a great source of zinc, nuts and meat.

Hair Care - There are millions of products on the market that all promise to make your hair shiny and beautiful but at the end of the day inner health is what really will have a long term impact. It is also best not over using heat styling tools and too many hair products, which can cause irritation to your scalp. Keep your hair care to a minimal, every now and then you can use a treatment that doesn’t contain too many additives.

Nails

Our hands tend to get the brunt of everything, as we must use them for nearly everything. They are exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals, drying nail products or just ‘wear & tear’ from daily life. Your nails are also a great alert system to show of any health issues. From white spots, yellowing nails or pale nail beds, any internal issues will start to show through your nails.

Moisturize – Remembering to moisturize your nails and cuticles will help prevent breaking or the skin from cracking around your nails due to lack of moisture.

Nutrients and Vitamins – Nails are mainly made up of a fibrous structural protein called keratin. Protein is a major nutrient needed for healthy nails as it provides their strength, and may protect nails from damage and stress. Therefore, eating protein will increase keratin production, which can be sourced from many animal or plant foods. Next is biotin or vitamin B7, which helps promote cell growth and aids in metabolism of protein building, that is needed for nail growth.

Remembering that anything you do for yours hands applies to your toenails too!

Skin

When ever we are tired or not feeling the best, our skin is one of the first to show how we feel. Our skin can expose our internal health and if the healthiest and caring for our bodies. Along with a few other things it is the one thing that will be there a lifetime so if we can protect or nurture it a bit more, why not?

Sunblock – In Australia, we constantly hear about the damage from the sun can cause our skin. Sunblock and protection from the sun is so important no matter what age. Do not forget about you need Vitamin D, which you receive from the sun. Be mindful that when getting some sun for vitamin D, even with limited amounts each day your skin will be glowing.

Physical sunblock & Chemical sunscreen – physical sunblock literally blocks the sun and acts as a shield for your skin. It tends to leave a ‘white cast’ on the skin and has a main ingredient of zinc oxide or titanium oxide. It needs to be reapplied once the white cast has softened or you have gone swimming. Chemical sunscreens on the other hand absorb the UV rays and generally will not leave a cast on the skin. Over a period of a few minutes to hours the layer will breakdown, meaning this type of sunscreen needs to be applied more frequently.

Vitamins – We need a range of vitamins in our diet to help keep us looking healthy and for our bodies to continue functioning correctly. For our skin the main vitamins that play a role include vitamin A, C and E. They are all antioxidants and help fight against free radical damage from environmental factors.

  • Vitamin C = helps with collagen production
  • Vitamin A = It may help to prevent sun damaged skin, by disrupting the process that breaks down collagen
  • Vitamin E = It works with vitamin C to strengthen cell walls, which may help prevent appearances of wrinkles.

Hair, skin and nails all work together and need similar vitamins to help maintain an outward sign of internal health. Diet has a major impact on how our body maintains homeostasis and overall how we choose to care for our body. Our hair, skin and nails show the world how we overall present ourselves and also when inner health is exposed.

Always read the label to make sure you are getting adequate amounts or speak to a health care professional. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.