7 Best Vitamins for Healthy Skin

As vitamins are essential to your health and body functions, vitamin deficiencies can cause adverse effects on the skin. Since vitamins C and E play such important roles in protecting your skin from the sun, deficiencies in either vitamin can increase the risk of skin damage, including skin cancer.

vitamins for skin

Vitamins for skin-health related information is all over on the internet. However, many sites are providing 'no meat on the bone' and confusing content. While some of the sites do provide the needed information; it's unfortunately not comprehensive enough to convince you in making an actionable decision.

Making sure you get enough vitamins can keep your skin looking healthy and youthful. This could translate to a reduction in dark spots, redness, wrinkles, rough patches and excessive dryness.

So, what are the vitamins that you should be taking? Here is the list, in alphabetical order.

1. Vitamin A

If you are lacking in vitamin A, your skin might get dry and itchy or bumpy.

It seems to prevent sun damage by interrupting the process that breaks down collagen. Since it's an antioxidant, it may give your skin some protection against sunburn (although not as much as wearing sunscreen).

This vitamin that also functions as an antioxidant can be found abundantly in foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and mangoes. A type of A vitamin called retinoid can be found in beef, eggs, and dairy. This vitamin is essential for skin health, and creams containing derivatives of vitamin A are efficient in treating wrinkles.

2. Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin, and it can be found in many foods, both animal, and plant. This vitamin is essential for healthy skin, but also for your brain, nervous system, and blood cells. You’ll often found a derivative of this vitamin called niacinamide in many beauty products, and this is because research shows that this vitamin can significantly reduce the appearance of aged skin and it is often added to top skin brighteners. What you can expect from taking such products are a mild exfoliating effect and reduced redness.

3. Vitamin B5

Another vitamin from the B family of vitamins, vitamin B5, is also known as pantothenic acid and panthenol. Skincare formulations containing this vitamin provide some of the best skin hydration out there. Studies on this vitamin show that it prevents skin water loss and improves skin barrier functioning. So, if you find a beauty product with vitamin B5 at the top of the ingredients, know that it’s a good bargain. You can also get plenty of this vitamin from whole grains, avocado, and chicken.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found at high levels in the epidermis (outer layer of skin) as well as the dermis (inner layer of skin). Its cancer-fighting (antioxidant) properties, and its role in collagen production help keep your skin healthy. This is why vitamin C is one of the key ingredients found in many antiaging skin care products.

Taking vitamin C orally can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens applied to your skin for protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It does this by decreasing cell damage and helping the healing process of bodily wounds. Vitamin C can also help fend off the signs of aging because of its vital role in the body’s natural collagen synthesis. It helps to heal damaged skin and, in some cases, reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Adequate vitamin C intake can also help repair and prevent dry skin.

An article published in Indian Dermatology Online Journal states that, when applied topically, vitamin C can reverse the signs of photoaging like hyperpigmentation.

Due to the prevalence of vitamin C in over-the-counter products, dietary supplements, and foods we eat, deficiency of this nutrient is rare. If you find that you don’t get enough vitamin C in your diet, you can:
  • eat for more citrus foods, such as oranges
  • eat other plant-based sources of vitamin C, such as strawberries, broccoli, and spinach
  • drink orange juice
  • take supplements, as recommended by a doctor

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most often made when sunlight is absorbed by your skin. Cholesterol converts to vitamin D when this happens. Vitamin D is then taken up by your liver and kidneys and transported throughout the body to help create healthy cells. This includes the skin, where vitamin D plays an important role in skin tone. It may even help treat psoriasis.

Calcitriol is a man-made version of a kind of vitamin D that humans produce naturally. Calcitriol is a topical cream that has been effective in treating people with psoriasis. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology found that applying calcitriol reduced the amount of skin inflammation and irritation in people with psoriasis and produced few adverse side effects.

Research also shows that vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to skin acne, most likely because this vitamin plays a big role in fighting infections.

The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University recommends a daily vitamin D intake of 600 IU per day. You may need more if you are pregnant or over the age of 70.

You can increase your vitamin D intake by:
  • eating fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, orange juice, and yogurt
  • eating foods that have vitamin D naturally, such as salmon, tuna, and cod

6. Vitamin E

Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant. Its main function in skin care is to protect against sun damage. Vitamin E absorbs the harmful UV light from the sun when applied to the skin. Photoprotection refers to the body’s ability to minimize the damage caused by UV rays. This can help prevent dark spots and wrinkles.

Normally, the body produces vitamin E through sebum, an oily substance emitted though the skin’s pores. In the right balance, sebum helps keep the skin conditioned and prevents dryness. If you have particularly dry skin, vitamin E can possibly help counteract a lack of sebum. Vitamin E also helps in the treatment of skin inflammation.

While vitamin E is available in many skin care products, the problem is that any effects could be minimized upon sun exposure. Getting enough vitamin E in your diet is preferable. Most adults need about 15 mg of vitamin E per day. You can increase your intake by:
  • eating more nuts and seeds, such as almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds
  • taking a multivitamin or separate vitamin E supplement
  • using topical products that contain both vitamin E and vitamin C (this can be more effective in photo-protection than those that contain only one of the two)

7. Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential in aiding the body’s process of blood clotting, which helps the body heal wounds, bruises, and areas affected by surgery. The basic functions of vitamin K are also thought to help certain skin conditions, such as stretch marks, spider veins, scars, dark spots, stubborn circles under your eyes.

Vitamin K can be found in many different topical creams for the skin, and it can help treat a variety of skin conditions. Doctors frequently use creams that contain vitamin K on patients who have just undergone surgery to help reduce swelling and bruising. This may help speed up skin healing. However, research on vitamin K’s effects on the skin is more limited than that for vitamins E and C.

According to the University of Florida, vitamin K deficiencies are rare in the United States. Adults need between 90 and 120 ug per day. You can increase your intake by eating kale, spinach, lettuce, cabbage and green beans.

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