The skin plays an important role in protecting our
bodies against many threats such as Ultraviolet lights, mechanical and chemical
stressors, and bacterial infection. One of the many factors that are essential
in maintenance of this protective layer is nutrition.
The skin is
made up for two layers the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the upper
layer closest to all the threats like pathogens and the dermis lies beneath the
epidermis. The epidermis is in more direct contract with the external factors
therefore this is primarily a barrier to keep the harmful stressors at bay. The
dermis supplies the blood via blood vessels and also contains hair follicles
and fibroblast which are
required for the maintenance of the foundation of the skin. Both macronutrients
and micro nutrients. An example of nutrients that are important in the maintenance
of the skin are vitamin C and calcium.
They are responsible for the differentiation of fibroblasts which are
responsible for making the extracellular matrix and collagen. (Bikle et al., 2001)
Healthy skin is usually thought of
as a combination of factors which include surface texture,colour and
physiological properties. Level of hydration is important for the surface
texture and general appearance. Too little water can make the appearance rought
and scaly. The skin has a layer of sebum and epidermal lipids on the surface of
the skin which reduce the loss of fluids. These lipids are important to
maintain the skins aciditiy which protects the skin from pathogens that struggle
surviving in low pH environments. (Elias, 2007).The pH at
which the skin should be at is 5.5. This is in addition of the antimicrobial
peptides that contribute the the antimicrobial function of the skin.
In mammalian cells, glucose is the
major fuel source which is utilized to perform a wide range of actions (Spravchikov et al., 2001). Glucose being a carbohydrate when broken down by
the body it provides a carbohydrate backbone for glycosylation of certain
proteins and fats that are present. This leads to the suggestion that if there
is a unnaturual level of glucose, it will lead to changes in the structure and
functions of the skin. (Halprin and Ohkawara,1966).
An increase in normal glucose levels has been reported to induce increased
proliferation in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.More importantly It can decrease the
production of keratinocytes and fibroblasts. With these cells being vital for
skin functions, it would seem that too much glucose in a body can inhibt things
like wound healing.
Amino Acids are vital in regards to the skins protective
abilities against Ultra-violet (UV) radiation which is present in sunlight. UV
Light has been linked as a major factor which ages the skin. However when the skin
is exposed to UV light the levels of collagen in the dermis decrease
dramatically. This results in aging of the skin and a delayed wound healing.
The amino acid that have been linked with increased production of collagen
synthesis is proline and the precursor glutamate. (Karna et al., 2001) .
Another benefit of some amino acids, such as arginine and ornithine, is that
they can increase time taken for wound healing. This is because of the
increased collagen synthesis produced by inducible nitric oxide synthase and nitric
oxide mechanisms. It has also been suggested by some studies that amino acids,
aswell as protecting the skin from the damages of UV light such as delayed
wound healing and skin aging, but some amino acids might be important in the
treatment for atopic dermatis .
also play an important role in the skins basic function of protection. The
Lipids involved in the epidermal functions contain ceramide which is a major
lipid within the stratum corneum of the epidermis. Together with the other
parts of the lipids like cholestrol and saturated fatty acids, it helps form the epidermal membrane which previously stated,
recduces water loss due to evaporation and the invasion of pathogens.
Furthermore with ceramide, it is useful during when signinalling when
regulating cellular functions in the epidermal keratinocytes like the apoptosis
A’s importance in the maintenance of the skin health is crucial, this is the
same for vitamin A’s derivatives, because this vitamin in important in the
regulation of different cell functions like in proliferation, differentiation
and apoptosis of skin cells. The derivatives such as carotenoids and retinoid
have different uses, Carotenoids effects are suggested to be because they’re antioxidants.
These carotenoids can be converted into retinods and it is done so because the retinoid
have more of a role in promoting transcription of certain genes.The skin, due
to the high levels of keratinocytes and fibroblasts, is very responsive to retinoids.
Vitamin A has also been linked with the repair of UV radiation damaged skin
through either their ability to increase the levels of the keratinocytes and fibroblasts,
or be stopping the expression of a gene that produces a matrix degrading enzyme
which provides more proteins and extracellular matrix content.
C is a photosensitive, water soluble molecule which is not produced in the
human body therefore diet is vital, as an intake of vitamin C through diet is
required to maintain heathy skin. UVB wavelength is between 280 and 310nm which
can damage the DNA directly. UVA which has a wavelength of 320 to 400nm causes
indirect DNA mutation. This is due to it causing reactive oxygen species. This
is shown in fig. () Also with the exposure of the UV radiation comes the
problems mentioned earlier, skin aging in addition to skin cancer. (Chen et al., 2012) As the UV radiation initiates the synthesis of
inflammatory inducing cytokines and growth factors (Chen et al., 2012). This results in the breakdown of collagen and
elastin, meaning your skin is not as strong due the to the collagen degradation
and doesn’t “bounce back” as it isn’t as elastic as before. The reactive oxygen
species caused by UV rays have also shown to alter the structural intergirty
visable by rough texture of the skin and deep wrinkles. Linked with skin cancer
too, the UV light is thought to be a mutagen in squamous cell carcinoma as it
causes a mutation In p53 gene.(Halliday, 2005)The
identifiacation of free radicals being something that initiates skin cancer has
helped understand and develop a way to intervene. Vitamin C helps with these
problems as it has water soluble properties as well as being a powerful anti-oxidant
which has been shown to reduce the damages done by the UV radiation damage that
it done to the skin. (Stewart et al., 1996)
Vitamin C also has the ability to moderate the UV light initiated production of
free radicals. This helps protect from oxidative
stress. So an increased level of vitamin C can potentially lower the risk of
In addition vitamin C has another property by increasing pro-collagen
and collogen synthesis it assists in the wound healing process which also helps
strengthen the skin barrier also.Lack of vitamin C is known to cause such symptoms like scurvy (Hodges et al., 1971)
acts as a prohormone and can be synthised by the body through exposue to
UVB radiation hits the skin, the process of vitiman D synthesis begins with
7-dehydrocholestrol, and is converted to vitamin D by two enzymes called
25-hydroxylase and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 1- ?-
hydroxylase (CYP27B1). Both these enzymes working together are
required in the formation of vitamin D, 1,25 dyhydroxy vitamin D 3 (1,25D3 ).The enzyme that controls the signals
that happenes in bacterial infection or injury which is most commonly found in
the keratinocytes which is a cell found in the epidermis is CYP27B1. The main role or 1,25D3 within the skin is
to increase the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP), this is an innate
immune response that has antimicrobial functions. Aswell as this Vitamin D3 which increases the
numbers of keratinocytes. 1,25D3 can be used to treat skin diseases such as
psoriasis that causes red and flakey skin in patches around elbows and knee due
to hyper-proliferation of keratinocytes.This
vitamin also plays a role in regulating inflammation, the creation of new blood
vessels (angiogenesis) and wound healing all due to the modulation of CAMP. People
who have a mild case of atopic dermatitis have significantly less levels of of
Vitamin D in comparison to those who have a worse case of atopic dermatitis, suggesting a correlation between
that lack of vitamin D and the severity of the condition. (Peroni et al., 2011). Too much vitamin D is toxic however causing nausea,
weakness and constipation
Bound to membranes, vitamin E is a lipid bound antioxidant in
tissues. (Burke, 2007) . This vitamin is very sensitive and after low
exposure to UV radiation, levels of vitamin E can be diminished, this is
because it is a oxidative stress marker. (Thiele et al., 1998).
Vitamin E is known for protecting the skin from Immunosuppression, photo-carcinogenesis, photo-aging and also reduces the
collagen degradation by inhibiting Matrix
metalloproteinase-1 (MMP1), an enzyme involved in the breakdown of the extracellular
matrix. Vitamin E has also been suggested to downregulate features of
inflammation. This suggested that vitamin E could be used as an anti-inflammatory
These are being looked at in great
detail because of their anti-oxidant properties, with antioxidants playing a
role in protecting the skin from oxidative stress such as skin cancer. However
due to certain cooking methods, the levels of polyphenols in foods can be
severally reduced. A study found that onions and tomatoes, which are high in
polyphenols, lose up to 80% of polyphenol when boiled over 15 minute, 65% in a
microwave and 30% when fried(Crozier et al., 1997). Polyphenols have also been shown
by laboratory studies on animals, that the polyphenols found in green tea and grape
seed, can protect the skin from UV radiation, when paired with Sunscreen.
Potentially reducing the likelihood of skin cancers.
These also have an important role in the maintainace of
healthy skin. Zinc is an important part
of multiple metalloenzymes. Zinc’s properites help in the protection of the
skin from photodamage caused by the UV radation exposue. Allowing it to only
effect the skin and nothing underneath the protective layer. (Mitchnick et al., 1999)
It also has been shown that zinc coupled with vitamin C, provides antimicrobial acivity that fights
against acne. (Mitchnick et al., 1999)
coupled with peptides is used as an anti-oxidative which increases the levels
of free radicals, helping to protect the skin from the UV radiation damage. (Pickart et al., 2012).
Copper has also been linked to maturing levels of collagen which helps better
the strength and elasticity of the skin.
protects the skin from oxidative stress, caused by UV radiation exposure. The
way in which selenium helps protect the skin is by increasing the activity
levels of certain antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase and
thioredoxin reductase. These enzymes are present in the plasma membrane of the
epidermal keratinocytes. (Rafferty et al., 1998).
Psoriasis causes low levels of glutathione
peroxidas, bearing in mind selenium increases the activity of the enzyme, it is
thought selenium supplements improve the condition of the disease.
and minerals play an important, if not vital role in the components of skin
structure as well as having an vital role in the maintenance of healthy skin.
In addition to the role they play in structure and maintenance. They’ve been
suggested in most cases to be able to be used as treatment or alleviate the
symptoms of conditions which symptoms appear on the skin.
Word count 1938
Bikle, D., Ng,
D., Tu, C., Oda, Y. and Xie, Z. (2001). Calcium- and vitamin D-regulated
keratinocyte differentiation. Molecular
and Cellular Endocrinology, 177(1-2), pp.161-171.
(2007). Interaction of vitamins C and E as better cosmeceuticals. Dermatologic Therapy, 20(5),
Chen, L., Hu,
J. and Wang, S. (2012). The role of antioxidants in photoprotection: A critical
review. Journal of the American
Academy of Dermatology, 67(5), pp.1013-1024.
Lean, M., McDonald, M. and Black, C. (1997). Quantitative Analysis of the
Flavonoid Content of Commercial Tomatoes, Onions, Lettuce, and Celery. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,
(2007). The skin barrier as an innate immune element. Seminars in Immunopathology, 29(1),
Poljšak, B., Adamic, M. and Dahmane, R. (2014). The Role of Antioxidants in
Skin Cancer Prevention and Treatment. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, online 2014,
pp.1-6. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984781/
Accessed 5 Jan. 2018.
(2005). Inflammation, gene mutation and photoimmunosuppression in response to
UVR-induced oxidative damage contributes to photocarcinogenesis. Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular
Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, 571(1-2), pp.107-120.
Halprin, K. and
Ohkawara, A. (1966). Glucose and Glycogen Metabolism in the Human
Epidermis**From the Department of Dermatology, The University of Oregon Medical
School, Portland, Oregon. Journal
of Investigative Dermatology, online 46(1), pp.43-50. Available at:
http://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(15)47064-2/pdf Accessed 5 Jan.
(2010). The role of cellular micronutrient analysis, nutraceuticals, vitamins,
antioxidants and minerals in the prevention and treatment of hypertension and
cardiovascular disease. Therapeutic
Advances in Cardiovascular Disease, online 4(3), pp.165-183. Available
at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1753944710368205 Accessed 5
Miltyk, W., Wo?czy?ski, S. and Pa?ka, J. (2001). The potential mechanism for
glutamine-induced collagen biosynthesis in cultured human skin
Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
Fairhurst, D. and Pinnell, S. (1999). Microfine zinc oxide (Z-Cote) as a
photostable UVA/UVB sunblock agent. Journal
of the American Academy of Dermatology, 40(1), pp.85-90.
Nichols, J. and
Katiyar, S. (2009). Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols:
anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Archives of Dermatological Research,
online 302(2), pp.71-83. Available at:
Accessed 5 Jan. 2018.
Piacentini, G., Cametti, E., Chinellato, I. and Boner, A. (2011). Correlation
between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and severity of atopic dermatitis in
children. British Journal of
Dermatology, 164(5), pp.1078-1082.
Vasquez-Soltero, J. and Margolina, A. (2012). The Human Tripeptide GHK-Cu in
Prevention of Oxidative Stress and Degenerative Conditions of Aging:
Implications for Cognitive Health. Oxidative
Medicine and Cellular Longevity, online 2012, pp.1-8. Available at:
Accessed 5 Jan. 2018.
McKENZIE, R., HUNTER, J., HOWIE, A., ARTHUR, J., NICOL, F. and BECKETT, G.
(1998). Differential expression of selenoproteins by human skin cells and
protection by selenium from UVB-radiation-induced cell death. Biochemical Journal, online 332(1),
pp.231-236. Available at:
5 Jan. 2018.
Zampeli, V., Makrantonaki, E. and Zouboulis, C. (2012). Discovering the link
between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology,
online 4(3), pp.298-307. Available at:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/#R6 Accessed 5 Jan.
N., Sizyakov, G., Gartsbein, M., Accili, D., Tennenbaum, T. and Wertheimer, E.
(2001). Glucose Effects on Skin Keratinocytes: Implications for Diabetes Skin
online 50(7), pp.1627-1635. Available at:
Accessed 5 Jan. 2018.
Cameron, G. and Pence, B. (1996). Antioxidant Nutrients Protect Against
UVB-Induced Oxidative Damage to DNA of Mouse Keratinocytes in Culture. Journal of Investigative Dermatology,
online 106(5), pp.1086-1089. Available at:
http://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(15)42562-X/pdf Accessed 5 Jan.
Traber, M. and Packer, L. (1998). Depletion of Human Stratum Corneum Vitamin E:
An Early and Sensitive In Vivo Marker of UV Induced Photo-Oxidation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology,
online 110(5), pp.756-761. Available at:
http://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(15)40076-4/fulltext Accessed 5