Modern clinicians understand that what shows on the outside the body is in fact a representation of what exists on the inside. Everyone from gym instructors to botox injectors are telling their clients that the way one looks relates directly to the way one eats. A popular comment among fitness professionals is, “Six-pack abs are 80% food and 20% fitness.” Even aestheticians are moving away from topical creams in favor of dietary changes.
Alas, most people are unable to find or prepare the type of foods that complete a holistically sound diet. Hence the reason skincare professionals recommend taking vitamin supplements for skin. Here's a list of vitamins that could bolster your skincare regimen, including associated cautions.
What is a Supplement?
As our article on cholesterol explains, supplements take a variety of forms to fulfil equally diverse functions. A supplement is any dietary addition intended to increase eaten nutritional value. Vitamins, minerals, powders, herbs, amino acids, concentrates, extracts... the list of forms a supplement can take goes on. As long as the item is intended to boost a person's natural eating regime, a supplement it is!
Vitamin supplements for the skin can be topical or oral. Over-the-counter brands like Swanson vitamins offer face creams containing supplement additives, like a lotion infused with vitamin C oil for skin. New research in the field of nutrition and metabolism suggest that ingestion of key supplements is actually more effective than topical application. In fact, most clinicians advise taking supplements only as a booster to a nutrient-rich diet -- if at all! The best way to create good skin is by eating a diet consisting mostly of unprocessed foods that inherently contain micronutrients.
Don't want your face to look like a pastizz? Then don't eat it! Only if your skin still shows undue signs of ageing, acne, or blemishes should these skin supplements be taken!
Vitamins for Skin
While certain micronutrients may be better for skin issues than others, each of the following are a supplement associated with skin health. They fight everything for ageing to wrinkles, sun damage to breakouts. There are two kinds of vitamins: water-soluble and fat soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are more easily absorbed by the body. You will not receive any toxic repercussion from taking too much of a water-soluble vitamin as excess is simply excreted. Still, overuse of even water-soluble supplements can have detrimental health effects. We've included some such cautions on this list of vitamins for skin, finalising with advice on where to purchase.
Vitamin C for skin
Vitamin C actually exists naturally in the dermis and epidermis. As we age we lose collagen and Vitamin C, hence the reason so many anti-ageing lotions contain Vitamin C oil as their active ingredient. Topical vitamin c is also purported to firm skin and reduce brown spots; try a Vitamin C serum if you've got extra-dry skin.
The real power of Vitamin C is said to be in its absorption of free radicals: oxidants and toxins from the polluted world that damage skin. Eat your Vitamin C, as the body better metabolises ascorbic acid, a key component of vitamin c which synthesises collagen.
Vitamin C benefits are limited because our body only absorbs a certain amount, after which it's flushed from the system. In addition, vitamin c supplements easily degrade when exposed to air, heat, and light; for instance, by packing vitamin c in your luggage on a trans-Atlantic flight you're likely to ruin to the compound. For more information on the proper use of vitamin c, see this page of the Oregon State University website on health.
Vitamin E: Normally used in scar reduction, this micronutrient is an excellent anti-ageing tool. It neutralises free radicals, aiding skin to retain it's natural moisture. Vitamin E is therefore one of the best vitamins for dry skin.
Vitamin K: Dark under-eye circles are caused by fragile capillaries that allow blood to seep into the skin. When applied topically, Vitamin K creams help to lighten to circles. Look for creams that also contain retinol, a skin-thickening agent.
Vitamin B complex: As a micronutrient family, the Vitamin B group helps to maintain metabolic, nerve, digestive, and cardiovascular functions. Coincidentally, they're also vitamins for clear skin. Water-soluble Vitamin B3 is found in many foods; eggs, green vegetables, meat, fish, milk, and cereals. Vitamin B6 is primarily found in grains and white flours, meaning it's not necessary to supplement much. Taking too much vitamin B6 can actually make acne worse, creating a slimy yellow residue on the skin. Vitamin B7 is also called Biotin vitamin. It converts fatty acids (macronutrients), amino acids (proteins), and glucose (carbohydrates) into energy.
This important vitamin plays a role in maintaining the health of skin hair nails. Only supplement the vitamin via ingestion; it's got no topical affect. Vitamin B12 is an integral nutrient in helping cells to regenerate. As such, it sheds dry, red, and inflamed skin. Studies suggest that it may relieve psoriasis and eczema. For some people, overindulging in B12 causes pimples; see Science News for more details.
Vitamin A: Some clinicians claim that Vitamin A encourages the production of retinol and fibroblasts in the skin, both of which keep facial tissues smooth, plump, and firm. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, meaning that excess amounts of the vitamin won't be flushed with water intake. When it builds up the system, Vitamin A can cause major health problems like headaches, blurred vision, vertigo, skin redness, and loss of muscle coordination. The safest way to use Vitamin A is topically, in creams and lotions.
Vitamin D: Like Vitamin C, Vitamin D naturally occurs in the body. It optimises the skin's immune system to destroy free radicals in the environment and overexposure to UV rays. At optimal levels, Vitamin D keeps the skin from prematurely ageing. Unless you've been clinically diagnosed, it's unlikely you'll have a Vitamin D deficiency. With just a little exposure to the sun our body produces the correct amount of Vitamin D; with too much, it can have the opposite effect. That's why it's advised not to supplement Vitamin D. Rather, take a walk in the sun and eat a diet inclusive of fatty fish, beef liver, cheeses, and egg yolks.
Multivitamin: As it can be difficult to manage the intake values of multiple types of supplements, not to mention costly and potentially dangerous, a multi vitamin does the trick. The best vitamin supplements for skin contain vitamin D3, Zinc, and Biotin at a minimum.
About the author
Emily Stewart calls herself a “Pi-Fit-Yogi,” teaching yoga, Pilates, and blended classes all around the world. You can reach her at ahumandoing.org.