Your skin’s health and appearance are directly tied to your nutritional intake. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, ingesting large quantities of processed and high-glycemic foods can cause breakouts, hasten aging, and otherwise inflame the skin. Conversely, consuming a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables can keep your skin bright and youthful thanks to the abundance of vitamins and other nutrients found in these items. Indeed, certain vitamins are great for your skin, and they can be absorbed in a number of ways (such as supplements, food, sunlight, etc.). Let’s go over the best vitamins for your skin, their specific benefits, and where you can find them, in alphabetical order.
The first FDA-approved vitamin for skincare, vitamin A can be used to treat a number of cosmetic conditions (especially acne) and improve one’s overall complexion. When applied to the skin in topical form (i.e., retinol), vitamin A binds to skin cell receptors, maintains collagen durability, and promotes skin cell turnover. In doing so, the skin retains its strength and regenerates more quickly, reducing discoloration, fine lines, breakouts, scars, and more. Of course, use of vitamin A for skincare has its setbacks, too. For one thing, vitamin A-based products like retinol can irritate the skin and increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Therefore, dermatologists recommend using small amounts of vitamin A to build a tolerance before going further. But if you’re willing to wait for positive outcomes, introducing this vitamin into your skincare routine can provide you with glowing skin in the long run.
Vitamin B features several variations (eight to be exact), and while they’re all important in their own right, a version of vitamin B3 (niacinamide) has the strongest implications for your skin. Proper use of this vitamin (usually via topical creams and powders) fortifies the skin’s barrier, reduces dryness, and relieves inflammatory conditions such as eczema. The moisturizing properties of this vitamin can also create a smoother, more balanced complexion. Unlike vitamin A, vitamin B3 can be applied liberally (twice a day), as negative side effects are virtually non-existent.
Your skin naturally produces vitamin C -- this vitamin is found in the top layer of your skin (epidermis) and the deeper layer (dermis). This vitamin is a major player in collagen production, helping to keep your skin flexible and strong. Therefore, maintaining adequate amounts of vitamin C can help reduce wrinkles, hasten the healing process, prevent dry skin, and more. Oral vitamin C pills can also protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by enhancing the effectiveness of your sunscreen. Fortunately, vitamin C is pretty easy to come by, as it’s found in many of the foods we eat, such as oranges, broccoli, peppers, potatoes, and much more. And if you can’t manage to receive the recommended daily 1,000 mg of vitamin C, you can easily purchase over-the-counter supplements and anti-aging skin treatments rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and may even help to reduce the incidence of diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Moreover, vitamin D can reduce skin inflammation and relieve issues like psoriasis. However, we produce this vitamin primarily by exposing our skin to the sun. As we’ve discussed numerous times before, excessive sun exposure can do serious damage to your skin and contribute to both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. The key to maintaining proper levels of vitamin D while avoiding sun damage, then, is to be strategic in your time outdoors (about 10 minutes a day will do, wearing sunscreen) and, if necessary, taking vitamin D supplements, especially if you live in a cloudy region and/or have a deficiency in this vitamin. Foods such as salmon, tuna, cod, yogurt, and many breakfast cereals also contain vitamin D.
If you’re concerned about what the sun’s rays might do to your skin, maintain a regular intake of vitamin E. This antioxidant primarily protects your skin from sun damage by absorbing UV light when applied to your skin. As a result, vitamin E can keep your skin from showing visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin E also helps prevent dry skin and can treat inflammation. Experts recommend that adults receive about 15 mg of vitamin E daily; in order to reach this threshold, you can introduce more nuts and seeds into your diet and/or take a regular vitamin E supplement.
Though not as well-known as the other vitamins mentioned here, vitamin K deserves a spot on this list for its role in reducing stretch marks, spider veins, dark spots, scars, dark circles, and other conditions related to blood clotting and tissue damage. Indeed, vitamin K can help the body heal after injury or surgery. You can apply this vitamin topically via various creams or ingest it in leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, and kale, as well as green beans and other green vegetables.
No skincare routine is complete without a proper intake of certain nutrients. Vitamins A, B3, C, D, E, K (and others) can all work wonders for your skin in different ways. The experts at North Pacific Dermatology can help you learn more about what these valuable vitamins can do for your skin and overall health. Set up a consultation with our team today.