You’ll hear all the time that you need to get plenty of vitamins in your diet. Most doctors will focus on your overall health, but your skin also needs plenty of vitamins. There are four main vitamins that you need to make sure your skin gets: A, B, C, and E.
Each vitamin has its benefit and offers its own help to the skin. Some people will need more of one type of vitamin than the others, depending on deficiencies that they have.
Here’s your ultimate guide to vitamins for skin care. Not only do we look at the benefits of each vitamin, but also how you can add them to your skin.
Vitamin A: The Anti-Aging Vitamin
Vitamin A is one that you will get the most from your diet. It’s found in both plant and animal form and is available in most multivitamins that you take. If you are pregnant, focus on the plant form more than the animal form.
When it comes to skincare, vitamin A is needed in the form of retinol. It’s a potent antioxidant that will help support the health, elasticity, and aging of the skin. If you suffer from a deficiency, it’s highly likely that your doctor will recommend the prescription form called retinoid.
Vitamin A is essential for the collagen production. Collagen is deep into the layers of the skin and helps to ensure the elasticity and youthful look to the skin. When you have good amounts of collagen, the skin will act like a rubber band. It stretches but will then draw back into its usual shape. When there isn’t enough collagen, the skin acts like an overstretched rubber band. It will stretch to the point of breaking, leaving tears and scarring in the middle and lower layers of your skin.
It’s important to get retinol as soon as possible. Start using it in your 20s and build up the use throughout your 30s. These are the decades where you need to work on preventing aging. Not enough retinol will mean you’re more likely to get wrinkles and fine lines.
Retinol is also good for those with oily skin. By getting plenty of this vitamin, you can reduce the size of your pores and remove dead skin. It’s possible to reduce the number of natural oils your skin produces, leaving you with a natural and healthier glow. Because of this, those with excessively dry skin are often advised to limit the amount of retinol they add to their skin.
There is also an immune system benefit. If you have bacterial or fungal issues on your skin, you can help to clear them up through the addition of more vitamin A.
The good news is that you can get vitamin A through your diet. This will transfer into your skin to help with your collagen production. However, you should also look out for products that have added retinol. There are natural forms available, making it one of the best active ingredients throughout all skin care products.
Start with lower concentrations of retinol if you’ve never used them. Your skin can suffer more breakouts and imbalances if you suddenly add them into your skin in large amounts. Build up your tolerance.
If you have a gluten sensitivity, leaky gut syndrome, or an inflammatory bowel disease you may find that your body struggles to absorb enough vitamin A. Talk to your doctor about ways of getting more into your body and improve the health of your skin and other organs.
Spinach, sweet potato, and carrots are among the best foods for vitamin A. You can eat them or add them to homemade skin care products to put on your skin.
Reduce Redness with B Vitamins
There are many B vitamins that you want to get into your diet to help improve the look of your skin. The two most important are B3 and folate (yes, folate is considered a B vitamin). We’ll look at both separately.
Vitamin B3 is also known as a hydrating or redness reducing vitamin. It’s better known as niacinamide and is often included as an antioxidant in skin care. The vitamin improves the barrier function of the skin by boosting the amount of ceramide that is produced. This is essential for protecting the skin against pollutants and irritants.
Without a good amount of ceramide, the skin will be sensitive to anything that touches it. It is also more likely to suffer from inflammation and hyperpigmentation, usually due to acne. By getting more vitamin B3, you’ll be able to get an evener skin tone.
If you have dry or rosacea skin, you will want to make sure you get this vitamin in your skin care. Those with sensitive skin will also benefit, although you will want to build your tolerance up to it gradually. Don’t use too much, as this can make your sensitivities worse. You’ll want to add it to your skincare routine from your 30s, as this is when the barrier starts to break down naturally.
Folate is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for boosting the metabolism. It’s a nutrient that helps with the synthesizing and copying of DNA, and it helps to improve the way the body uses amino acids and B12. Why is it so good for the skin? Well, it helps to boost the immune system and digestion.
When the digestion plays up, the hormones become imbalanced. This leads to an increase in oil production, causing greasy skin and clogged pores. The immune system boost will help to tackle any bacteria or fungi forming on the skin.
It’s often overlooked when it comes to skincare but is important.
You can get B vitamins from most of your high-fiber foods. Stock up on the likes of beans and lentils.
Brighten the Skin with Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of those nutrients that the body can’t create or store, but it’s essential for proper bodily functions. You need to get it into your diet through your food or your skin care products.
When it comes to skin health, vitamin C helps to improve the brightness and tone of your skin. It’s an antioxidant that fights against signs of aging, helping to repair the cells and avoid free radical damage. The free radicals often lead to pigmentation issues, sagging, wrinkles, and other signs of aging (not to mention skin cancer).
You will also avoid the breakdown of the collagen in the body. This can help to prevent a condition called scurvy (something that is very rarely heard of now but was common in Britain in the Middle Ages). Scurvy leads to easy and deep bruises, more nosebleeds, dry spots on the scalp and skin, and slow healing from wounds. It’s common in those that have no exposure to vitamin C.
You will want to think carefully about the type of vitamin C you get on your skin. It can be irritating to those with dry or sensitive skin conditions. Look out for a “no-sting” formula, which will have less acid within it.
The downside to vitamin C is the acidic nature. There are some skin care products with ascorbic or L-ascorbic acid. Both have low pH levels (towards the stronger acid side) that are lower than the skin’s natural pH level. If you add too many strong acids, you will see redness on your skin and suffer from some burning or irritation.
Everyone needs to use some vitamin C cream to the skin. Use it underneath your sunscreen and moisturizer to make it easier for the skin to absorb all the vitamin C. You should see improvements in your skin tone relatively quickly.
If you do opt for a high acidic lotion, give it time before you step out into the sun. You make your skin more likely to suffer UV damage, even with sunscreen. The sun will also make the vitamin C less effective!
The good news is that it’s very easy to get vitamin C into your diet and skin care. It’s found in all citric fruits. Don’t use lemon on your skin too much, but do opt for tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, and kiwis. Strawberries are also good, but not as effective as most citrus fruits.
Vitamin E: The Natural Moisturising Cream
You’ll likely see a lot of skin care products labeled “vitamin E creams.” Companies want to promote that they have this vitamin because it’s so good for the skin. It’s one of those that instantly nourishes and supports the overall health of the skin.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant. It gets into the skin and fights against the free radicals, strengthening the cells and improving the natural barrier for the skin. You’ll see fewer wrinkles and age spots. But that’s not all that it does! It’s excellent for improving the look of current scars and avoiding future scars. You’ll slow down the aging process, as the cells are fully supported. The cells find it easier to repair or grow back normally.
It’s possible to improve the natural immunity to diseases. This is good for the skin if you suffer from bacterial, viral, or fungal infections regularly. Athlete’s foot is one of the most common conditions that you can improve using a vitamin E cream.
This is one of those vitamins that will add moisture to your skin. By getting plenty of moisture, you support the health of the deeper layers of your skin and improve collagen production. We’ve already looked at how good the collagen production is for the skin. The vitamin E will work with the vitamin A to prevent wrinkles and fine lines forming.
Vitamin E is naturally good for healing the skin. It helps to soothe burns, reduce inflammation, and protect against scarring from wounds. This means it’s the best option for reducing redness and limiting the amount of acne that you break out in.
It will also help with balancing the hormones inside. When your hormones are balanced, your oil production is controlled. This will help to keep pores unclogged, so you don’t suffer from too many acne breakouts.
You can get vitamin E through over the counter medications, but you can also get it naturally. It’s only found in plant foods, but these plant foods are very easily applied to your skin. Almond or olive oil are among the best options for instant placement on the skin. You can leave almond oil on your skin and just let it completely absorb. If you use olive oil, you may find you need to rinse it off after 15 minutes as it can be hard for the skin to absorb it completely.
Adding the Right Vitamins to Your Skin
It’s time to look at adding more vitamins to your skincare routine. Your skin desperately needs the ones above. By getting more vitamin A and E, you will improve the look of your skin. The moisture content will help to avoid some irritating skin conditions, and you’ll have the right collagen production to improve the elasticity of the skin.
Vitamin C and E will work together to improve the health of the skin. Your body will fight against free radicals better, helping to decrease the signs of aging. You won’t get as many scars or suffer from as many wrinkles. While they’re not miracle cures, they can help to slow down the aging process.
Meanwhile, vitamin B3 will help to create that barrier your skin needs to avoid skin irritation. You can help to keep some pollutants and grime out of your pores to prevent blockage.
It’s time to look at the ways to get the vitamins into your skin. While there are over the counter treatments, you should look at natural options. Over the counter creams and lotions will have chemicals and toxins. They can stop the body from absorbing all the nutrients effectively, making the creams useless for the vitamins. Natural ingredients have no toxins to disrupt your body.
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