Skin, Hair, & Nails
Skin, hair, and nails are all part of our integumentary system (i.e., the body’s outer layer), which includes all of the organs (and their appendages) that form the outermost layer of the body. Alongside its protective role, this system is also important for aesthetic purposes. A number of treatments (dietary, supplementary, and topical) have been studied for hair and skin health.
The most noteworthy skin-related issues that individuals experience are aging, acne, eczema (e.g., atopic dermatitis), and skin cancer. Hair-related issues include hair loss, breaking, and graying. Nail-related issues include brittleness, discoloration, and fungal infections. Age, damage (e.g., physical trauma, exposure to certain chemicals or radiation), oxidative stress, and inflammation can all lead to problems with skin, hair, and nails.
The integumentary system is complex and requires many nutrients to function correctly. As such, a diet that provides adequate levels of nutrients — notably, protein, certain micronutrients (e.g, cysteine, lysine, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc, selenium), and essential fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids — is important. Not only are these nutrients necessary for ordinary function, but they also play a role in protection and repair (e.g., in response to UV radiation). Deficiencies in these nutrients may manifest as abnormalities in skin, hair, and nails.
Cysteine, lysine, marine proteins (i.e., extracellular matrix components from sharks and mollusks), procyanidins, pumpkin seed oil, B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E derivatives, and zinc have all been studied for hair loss.
There isn’t much research on supplementation for nails, although it’s possible that hair supplements may benefit them because they’re made of similar materials.
Supplement GuideClick here to read the Skin, Hair & Nails Supplement Guide
- ^Pappas A, Liakou A, Zouboulis CCNutrition and skin.Rev Endocr Metab Disord.(2016-09)
- ^Michalak M, Pierzak M, Kręcisz B, Suliga EBioactive Compounds for Skin Health: A Review.Nutrients.(2021-Jan-12)
- ^O'Connor K, Goldberg LJNutrition and hair.Clin Dermatol.(2021)
- ^Anna-Marie Hosking, Margit Juhasz, Natasha Atanaskova MesinkovskaComplementary and Alternative Treatments for Alopecia: A Comprehensive ReviewSkin Appendage Disord.(2019 Feb)
- ^Li H, Colantonio S, Dawson A, Lin X, Beecker JSunscreen Application, Safety, and Sun Protection: The Evidence.J Cutan Med Surg.(2019)
- ^T B FitzpatrickThe validity and practicality of sun-reactive skin types I through VIArch Dermatol.(1988 Jun)
- ^Bikle DDVitamin D metabolism and function in the skinMol Cell Endocrinol.(2011 Dec 5)
- ^A Faurschou, D M Beyer, A Schmedes, M K Bogh, P A Philipsen, H C WulfThe relation between sunscreen layer thickness and vitamin D production after ultraviolet B exposure: a randomized clinical trialBr J Dermatol.(2012 Aug)
- ^Mantas Grigalavicius, Vladimir Iani, Asta JuzenieneLayer Thickness of SPF 30 Sunscreen and Formation of Pre-vitamin DAnticancer Res.(2016 Mar)
- ^Libon F, Courtois J, Le Goff C, Lukas P, Fabregat-Cabello N, Seidel L, Cavalier E, Nikkels AFSunscreens block cutaneous vitamin D production with only a minimal effect on circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin DArch Osteoporos.(2017 Dec)
- ^Bibi Petersen, Hans Christian WulfApplication of sunscreen--theory and realityPhotodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed.(Apr-Jun 2014)
- ^R E Neale, S R Khan, R M Lucas, M Waterhouse, D C Whiteman, C M OlsenThe effect of sunscreen on vitamin D: a reviewBr J Dermatol.(2019 Nov)
- ^T Passeron, R Bouillon, V Callender, T Cestari, T L Diepgen, A C Green, J C van der Pols, B A Bernard, F Ly, F Bernerd, L Marrot, M Nielsen, M Verschoore, N G Jablonski, A R YoungSunscreen photoprotection and vitamin D statusBr J Dermatol.(2019 Nov)
- ^Barbara B Shih, Mark D Farrar, Marcus S Cooke, Joanne Osman, Abigail K Langton, Richard Kift, Ann R Webb, Jacqueline L Berry, Rachel E B Watson, Andy Vail, Frank R de Gruijl, Lesley E RhodesFractional Sunburn Threshold UVR Doses Generate Equivalent Vitamin D and DNA Damage in Skin Types I-VI but with Epidermal DNA Damage Gradient Correlated to Skin DarknessJ Invest Dermatol.(2018 Oct)
- ^Institute of Medicine (US) Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, A Catharine Ross, Christine L Taylor, Ann L Yaktine, Heather B Del ValleDietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D
- ^Ann R Webb, Andreas Kazantzidis, Richard C Kift, Mark D Farrar, Jack Wilkinson, Lesley E RhodesColour Counts: Sunlight and Skin Type as Drivers of Vitamin D Deficiency at UK LatitudesNutrients.(2018 Apr 7)
- ^Ann R Webb, Andreas Kazantzidis, Richard C Kift, Mark D Farrar, Jack Wilkinson, Lesley E RhodesMeeting Vitamin D Requirements in White Caucasians at UK Latitudes: Providing a ChoiceNutrients.(2018 Apr 17)
- ^A R Webb, B R DeCosta, M F HolickSunlight regulates the cutaneous production of vitamin D3 by causing its photodegradationJ Clin Endocrinol Metab.(1989 May)
- ^Wacker M, Holick MFSunlight and Vitamin D: A global perspective for healthDermatoendocrinol.(2013 Jan 1)
- ^Engelsen O, Kylling AFast simulation tool for ultraviolet radiation at the earth's surfaceOpt Eng.(2005 Apr)
- ^John C Dowdy, Robert M Sayre, Michael F HolickHolick's rule and vitamin D from sunlightJ Steroid Biochem Mol Biol.(2010 Jul)
- ^Vitaly Terushkin, Anna Bender, Estee L Psaty, Ola Engelsen, Steven Q Wang, Allan C HalpernEstimated equivalency of vitamin D production from natural sun exposure versus oral vitamin D supplementation across seasons at two US latitudesJ Am Acad Dermatol.(2010 Jun)
- ^Ann R Webb, Ola EngelsenCalculated ultraviolet exposure levels for a healthy vitamin D statusPhotochem Photobiol.(Nov-Dec 2006)
- ^Chanchal Deep Kaur, Swarnlata SarafIn Vitro Sun Protection Factor Determination of Herbal Oils Used in CosmeticsPharmacognosy Res.(2010 Jan)
- ^David A Kiken, David E CohenContact Dermatitis to Botanical ExtractsAm J Contact Dermat.(2002 Sep)
- ^M Corazza, A Borghi, M M Lauriola, A VirgiliUse of Topical Herbal Remedies and Cosmetics: A Questionnaire-Based Investigation in Dermatology Out-PatientsJ Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol.(2009 Nov)