Minerals are just as important as vitamins for a healthy body and vibrant skin. Without minerals, nutrients aren’t able to penetrate cell membranes. This means if you’re not getting enough minerals, your skin is likely under-nourished.

Take zinc. This fantastic mineral stabilizes blood sugar and metabolism and supports immunity, but it also plays a huge role in repairing skin damage. As an anti-inflammatory, zinc not only heals acne, it helps prevent scarring. And it’s an antioxidant, which means it protects against UV rays, both when taken internally and when worn externally. This is why so many mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide. Many of us aren’t getting enough of this critical nutrient, but you can boost your levels by eating shellfish, lamb, roast beef and pumpkin seeds.

Sulfur is another under-appreciated mineral, despite its presence in every cell in our bodies and its status as an important building block of skin, hair and nails. Using sulfur to cure skin conditions dates back to the days of ancient Greece, and in the 19th century, sulfuric hot springs were a favorite treatment for skin and joint disorders.

Sulfur assists in skin-shedding, or natural exfoliation. If your skin isn’t shedding efficiently, you could be dealing with enlarged and clogged pores and blemishes. This mineral is often used in topical treatments for acne, rosacea, dermatitis, eczema and dandruff. When taken internally, sulfur supports healthy collagen levels, and collagen supports, in turn, firm skin and a youthful appearance.

Dietary sulfur is found in pasture-raised meats, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, garlic, onions, brussels sprouts and kale.

Copper and selenium are important antioxidants that protect skin from the oxidative damage that causes premature aging, scarring and a dull complexion. Selenium is also an anti-inflammatory, which promotes an even skin tone, while copper works in conjunction with zinc to gives elasticity a boost.

Apricots, beef liver, sunflower seeds, coconut and dark chocolate are great sources of copper. Selenium can be found in organ meat, tuna, halibut and sardines, but Brazil nuts are the best source of this mineral. Just one to two Brazil nuts supplies all the selenium you need!

A few weeks ago, we mentioned magnesium’s role in frequent elimination, and frequent elimination’s role in gorgeous skin. But magnesium is also helpful for fighting premature aging and maintaining skin’s elasticity. It’s easy for magnesium levels to become depleted due to healthy activities like exercising and less healthy activities like drinking, so often, supplementation is the way to go. But you can also eat your magnesium, if you snack on a variety of nuts (peanuts don’t count!) and green leafy veggies. Kidney beans, dates and brown rice are also good sources.

We all know calcium plays a big part in maintaining beautiful teeth and strong bones, but did you know it’s the most prevalent mineral in our bodies? As such, it is also essential to maintaining the largest organ in our body—our skin! Calcium promotes firm, hardy skin, hair and nails. Conversely, low calcium results in thin, bitter, fragile skin, hair and nails.

Alcohol, coffee and stress are huge calcium-depletion culprits, so be diligent if you’ve been extra indulgent or extra tense recently. In addition to dairy products, calcium can be found in leafy greens, nuts, sardines and fortified orange juice.

Potassium helps regulate the amount of water in your cells, and if you’re a regular visitor here, you already know that dehydration causes dry, flaky skin and increased wrinkles. So ward off premature aging with bananas and oranges!

Silica rarely comes up in conversation, but it’s a crucial component of healthy connective tissue, and guess what the deepest level of skin is? Yep! Our dermis is made up of connective tissue, which means silica is vital in maintaining skin structure and elasticity. You can find it in leeks, beans, strawberries, cucumber and mango.

If you eat well, you may be getting most of the minerals you need in your diet. But if you’re worried that you’re not, Elizabeth Adams MD offers micronutrient testing, to help you discover exactly what you’re lacking and how to fix it.

Since minerals can be absorbed through skin, bath and foot soaks are a comforting and effective way to boost your mineral levels and help your body detox. We love the products at Mississippi Mineral Clay, and during the month of May, if you use the code “ElizabethSentMe” at checkout, you’ll get 10% off.