With an aging population, the interest in looking good and aging well is increasing. This has been a bonanza for plastic surgeons and people who sell skin creams. However, surgeons and skin creams aside, the only real way and least expensive way to look young and have healthier skin, hair and nails is through better nutrition.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and the health and appearance of this organ is directly related to the quality of your nutrition. To prevent illness and look and feel your very best, there are certain nutrients that are known to support your skin as well as overall health.

Adequate amounts of vitamin C are critical. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and it helps to protect skin against oxidation damage from the sun and other sources of free radical damage. Vitamin C is also essential for the synthesis of collagen, and adequate amounts of collagen is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Also essential to healthy skin is essential fatty acids, and most Americans are deficient.

Another skin-supporting nutrient is MSM. A study in Nature Medicine Journal found that oral supplementation with MSM reduced crow’s feet, lines and wrinkles while improving skin firmness, tone and texture. No external creams and lotions are going to produce this kind of glowing radiant skin that looks and feels younger.

Lastly, an important contribution to skin health is the health of the microbiome in your gut. The use of antibiotics in modern medicine and animal husbandry practices systematically destroys the healthy, natural balance of the microbes in out digestive systems. The resulting imbalance causes numerous diseases including eczema, psoriasis, and other skin problems. Treatment with probiotics has been shown to be effective in many of these cases.

On the bottom line, beauty comes from the inside out and not the other way around. Giving your body’s cells all the nutrition they need and keeping them free of toxins is the only real way to look good and feel good.