Although most people are familiar with vitamins, many are unaware of their true nature, importance, and sources. Vitamins, more accurately known as micronutrients, are organic compounds necessary for normal growth, cellular processes, and overall healthy functioning. However, unlike many other essential nutrients, micronutrients are not synthesized in the body and must, therefore, be obtained from external sources, such as foods and supplements.
Consequently, even a minor deficiency in any one of the many micronutrients can lead to a variety of detrimental health complications. For instance, a deficiency in iron can impede cognitive and motor development while a shortage of zinc or vitamin A can lead to a compromised immune system.
Nevertheless, maintaining the proper levels of these micronutrients doesn’t require an invasive diet or cocktail of pills and supplements. In reality, it just means incorporating more natural foods into your diet and practicing more mindful eating.
However, modern research has shown that vitamins play an equally important role in your external health as it does to your internal health. This should come to no surprise considering your skin, hair, and nails are made up of cells just like the rest of your body.
It is important to keep in mind that taking care of your external body isn’t just about looking your best. That being said, let’s review the best vitamins for skin and why you should consider incorporating them into your daily routine.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Because micronutrients come in many forms, not all of them are absorbed in the same way. For instance vitamins A, D, E, & K are fat-soluble, meaning they dissolve in fats and oils. In practice, these nutrients are obtained by fatty foods and then stored in the body’s fat deposits.
This process begins in the small intestine during digestion where they are distributed to the liver and fatty adipose tissue via the bloodstream. Because they are stored in the body’s many fat deposits, it’s important to monitor supplement intake of these vitamins as an imbalance can lead to toxicity.
Water Soluble Vitamins
Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble ones dissolve in water and are easily absorbed into tissue. However, this enhanced permeability means that your body regularly exhausts its supply and must be replenished. Water-soluble micronutrients – including vitamins B and C, folic acid, and biotin – can rarely amass to toxic levels as they are constantly being recycled.
Best Vitamins For Skin
With so many seemingly important micronutrients out there, you may be wondering: what are the best vitamins for skin?
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B-9, is a water-soluble nutrient that is most commonly linked with the production of red blood cells. However, the complex B vitamin also plays a key role in facilitating cell division and growth as well as creating and repairing DNA. Although it is primarily associated with pregnant women to promote proper fetal development, folic acid is also vital in maintaining healthy skin.
Niacin, another complex B vitamin (B3), also helps fight skin problems thanks to its role in cell signaling and DNA repair. The water-soluble nutrient is also a powerful antioxidant. As such, it has been shown to prevent some forms of skin cancer as well as protect against sun damage and other environmental pollutants.
You can’t talk about the best vitamins for skin without mentioning vitamin A. While it is responsible for many bodily functions, it is especially significant for the skin. In fact, vitamin A is often used in the treatment of many skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, burns, eczema, and cold sores. Moreover, it’s even found in many cosmetic products for treating wrinkles and protecting against UV radiation.
Other beneficial vitamins for skin include thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), and cobalamin (B12). For the most part, these nutrients are readily available in common foods and are used in the development and function of the skin.
Biotin is primarily used for converting food into energy and creating glucose, but the complex water-soluble B vitamin also facilitates healthy hair, nail, and skin growth. In fact, many people rely on biotin for hair loss treatments. While there is still inconclusive evidence and some notable side effects, biotin is also used by many to maintain a clear complexion. In practice, its used to rehydrate the skin, assist in cell regeneration, and promote positive oil gland functioning.
Vitamins For Acne
In addition to biotin and vitamin A, vitamin E is considered the best choice for treating acne. In practice, vitamin A is effective for rapidly regenerating healthy skin and protecting against the sun’s harmful rays. Likewise, there is enough evidence to suggest that it is helpful for treating inflammation and fighting skin infections. So much so that you can find retinol, a vitamin A derivative, in countless skin care products. Now it’s time we tackle the mystery of vitamin E.
Vitamin E Oil For Skin
Vitamin E (Alpha-tocopherol) is believed to be the king of vitamins for healthier skin, though there are plenty of myths and exaggerated claims out there. For instance, there is little evidence backing up claims saying that it prevents wrinkles and slows the aging process.
So what are vitamin E benefits for skin?
In truth, it is indeed a powerful antioxidant, which means that it helps neutralized unstable free radicals that can damage skin cells. Similarly, the fat-soluble vitamin is a key player in preventing the spread of bacteria on the skin and also facilitates proper vitamin A functioning.
Vitamin C For Skin
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is arguably the best vitamin for skin for the simple reason that it promotes collagen growth. To better understand collagen, let’s take a closer look at our skin.
Underneath the top epithelial cell sheet, we have connective tissue comprised of two primary forms of protein fibers, namely elastin and collagen.
This tissue is in charge of storing essential materials and providing the basic framework for the body, in addition to covering most of our organs.
Collagen is the most common protein found in mammals, typically making up to 25% of their total protein content. The name collagen comes from the Greek word for glue, which hints to its role in reinforcing blood vessels and tightening skin cells.
Overall, these highly-resilient structural proteins work to promote healthy, younger-looking skin. It should come to no surprise to find out that collagen can now be found in countless health and beauty products, promising wrinkle reduction and improve skin elasticity and pigmentation.
However, ascorbic acid has also been proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory, often used to treat skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Vitamin C is also essential in the absorption of iron, which is necessary for strong, healthy hair and nails.
- Sometimes it’s better to get essential vitamins through a healthy diet and not by taking supplements.
- Although plenty of vitamins are good for your skin, only a few have proven benefits.
- Many of the benefits stem from antioxidant properties, as these help prevent against environmental damage, such as UV radiation.
- Even vitamin C, which is arguably the best for healthy skin, is effective for its role in promoting collagen growth.