Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Viddhi Patel (Journalist) on 02nd Mar 2021
Here's Why Vitamins are multi-tasking skincare ingredient
Well, vitamins are vital! Pretty basic, right? We have heard all about it, about how vitamins are crucial for our health. But we have very clearly missed out on our skin's need for vitamins. But what have vitamins got to do with our skin? Everything!
The beauty community has emphasized the importance of vitamins and other nutrients to give your skin an enviable, youthful glow. Including vitamins in your life through creams or foods has also been spoken about. After all, vitamins play an integral role in our bodies and are also responsible for a healthy complexion.
Beautiful and glowing skin is a sign of well-nourished skin. There are copious amounts of vitamin-enriched skincare products that volunteer to fill in the void of vitamins and do a good job at that. These products protect your skin from free radicals, treat fine lines and wrinkles, and fade hyperpigmentation. All these vitamins target your skincare concerns and treat them from the root. All you have to do is know which vitamin will do what.
We look at some vitamins that can help you feed your skin a wholesome meal. You can take supplements, slather them, have a vitamin-enriched diet.
How getting enough vitamins will make a difference
Our skin, too, needs its vitamins, much like our body, to shape its health and beauty. Our skin is pretty straightforward. It will tell you what it needs. All you need to do is listen (notice). Our skin tells us what our body needs too through different manifestations like acne and dehydration, including its nutritional needs. So, when you feed your skin with the right nutrients from the inside out, it can't help but thank you and reciprocate with as much love. You will be blessed with a happy complexion and a healthy body.
Nutrients, especially vitamins and their levels in your body and skin, make a huge difference in how skin looks, feels, and how it ages. The right balance of nutrients in your skin will help strengthen the skin barrier that protects your body from everything toxic and makes it look good, work well, and feel healthy. Surely your cleansers, toners, serums, etc., are helping you, but they won't make your skin healthy if you miss out on the essentials, the vitals.
So, let's get to the ABCs of vitamins!
Well, even if you are new to the beauty arena, you possibly could not have missed out on this gold-standard vitamin. Vitamin A is an alpha with all the research backing it up and its fame in the beauty industry. You might already be using it since many skincare products have the vitamin due to its antioxidant and many other properties.
Why and when do you need vitamin A?
You might know vitamin A by the name of retinoids, the anti-acne and anti-aging topical holy grail. Now how is it able to do that? Be at the top of its game? Because vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties- it fights acne, interrupts the process of collagen damage- fights aging signs, prevents sun damage, strengthens the protective barrier, stimulates skin cell turnover, and makes oil glands around hair follicles work.
The lack of it can wreak havoc on your skin as it can turn real dry, itchy, or bumpy. You will notice a difference when your skin is running low on vitamin A since it is essential for the maintenance and repair of skin tissues; it will turn dry and flaky.
How to get this alpha vitamin?
The first-ever vitamin approved by FDA for changing appearance, tretinoin, is available by prescription and is pretty potent. It is a well-studied ingredient that treats fine lines and hyperpigmentation. Topical vitamin A reduces fine lines, wrinkles and controls acne. But due to its potency, it does cause redness and increases skin sensitivity.
Your foods and vegetables are rich in vitamin A, too: Green vegetables, cereal, eggs, etc., can help you get a vitamin A enriched meal.
This vitamin is pretty complex since it is an umbrella term for a list of other vitamins from B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin to folic acid, and B12. This complex of vitamins performs vital functions like energy, metabolism, and brain function. The lack of it can put you at risk of skin rashes, dry lips, cracks by the mouth, etc. A rash or dry, scaly skin might point towards a deficiency of the vitamin.
Now we look at two types of vitamin Bs that are quite popular in the skincare community
Niacinamide aka Vitamin B3
You might have heard the name since it has been making rounds in the community as a mild, versatile, multi-tasking skincare ingredient.
Well, this vitamin is also worth the hype since...
Niacinamide maintains and repairs skin's barrier function, locks-in moisture, reduces dryness, increases ceramides in the skin, improves skin tone and texture, reduces the appearance of pores, dark spots, pigmentation, redness, fine lines, and wrinkles. Phew! The vitamin will contribute significantly towards a healthy, glowing skin that too in tiringly productive ways. It will help your skin retain moisture, soothe dry and irritate skin and also lighten blotchy skin.
Vitamin B3 will moisturize your skin, reduce non-inflammatory acne symptoms, and improve aging signs when applied topically. And yes, it is also a free radical fighter, meaning it will fight against toxins preventing them from damaging your skin.
Well, the vitamin has quite a lot of work to do in your skin; better not deprive your skin of it.
So, how do you give your skin vitamin B3?
It is found in various skincare products, and there are supplements also available since it is not naturally stored in your body. So you can apply it topically to get plump, hydrated, soft skin or add it to your diet; nuts, seeds, vegetables, and meat are rich in vitamin B3.
For topical use- niacinamide can be applied twice a day. It has no noted side effects or any signs of irritation associated with it.
Pantothenic acid, aka vitamin B3, has been added to many skincare ingredients, and it works famously towards healthier and firmer skin. The vitamin soothes skin and keeps it soft and supple by improving your skin's barrier function and preventing the moisture from escaping. It is good at hydration, and the anti-inflammatory properties help people with irritated skin.
The hydration helps your skin reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Whole grains, chicken, and avocado are foods that are rich in vitamin B5.
It is a powerhouse vitamin that is quite popular in the skincare industry to target skin concerns like acne, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and fine lines.
But how does it work?
Naturally found in the epidermis and dermis, Vitamin C, aka L-ascorbic acid, enhances and maintains collagen levels in your skin, and that's a deal-breaker. But there's more. The powerful antioxidant also protects your skin from free radicals, UV damage, and pollution and reduces skin cancer chances. It decreases pigment formation, and the protection from free radicals helps it reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Deficiency of vitamin C will lead to easy bruising, slower-healing sores, bleeding gums.
Did you know?
Too much vitamin C is a thing. And if your vitamin C intake is like 2,000 or 3,000 mg per day, then you can suffer through diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, gastritis, fatigue, headache, and insomnia.
How to take your share of vitamin C?
Topical vitamin C can decrease discoloration caused by melasma by inhibiting tyrosinase (the enzyme responsible for melanin production). Topical vitamin C can also help you increase collagen production, reduce fine lines' appearance, and keep your skin firm and lifted.
You can add Vit C to your diet through citrus fruits, cherries, papaya, and vegetables; broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, capsicum. Oral consumption of vitamin C will also enhance your sunscreen's efficacy and speed up your body's healing process by reducing cell damage.
This is the vitamin we have heard most about, right from our childhood. And that taking your dose of sun is essential to stimulate vitamin D production in your body. But you don't have to let the sun damage you while you are just innocently looking for vitamin D. Just 10 minutes of the early sun does the trick. And avoid peak sun-hours, from 10 am to 2 pm.
What vitamin D does for your skin
When sunlight is absorbed in your skin, cholesterol converts into vitamin D. It then reaches your liver and kidneys and is further transported throughout the body to create healthy cells. The vitamin also helps create cells for the skin, and hence it plays an important role in your skin tone. It also reduces acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis and treats psoriasis.
How to get your share of Vit D?
Vitamin D deficiency can be cured by consuming certain foods: orange juice, yogurt, salmon, tuna, cod, and supplements.
The ingredient has been making rounds in numerous products, especially moisturizers and eye creams.
What does it do?
Also, an antioxidant, vitamin E, reduces sun damage and reduces cancerous cells in the skin. The vitamin prevents wrinkles and sagging by protecting your skin from UV light and maintains healthy skin. Your body produces vitamin E naturally through sebum; it keeps your skin conditioned and moisturized.
How to get vitamin E?
The vitamin is added in creams, lotions, serums and can help you reduce wrinkles and soothe dry, rough skin, making it feel and look smoother. The best combo for your skin is vitamin C and vitamin E to protect it from the sun.
But applying it during the day can minimize the vitamin's effect and lead the vitamin to produce radicals, so it's best to use it in the evening or including it in your diet. Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, green veggies, salmon, avocado, etc., will do the trick.
The vitamin treats a host of skin conditions and issues; it fades stretch marks, scars, dark spots, under-eye circles, and spider veins. Vitamin K also helps your body heal and treats wounds and bruises.
How to get the captain K?
Although the deficiency rates are low when it comes to this vitamin, you can always turn to green vegetables, sprouts, broccoli, fish, eggs, cabbage, etc. A topical cream containing vitamin K is used to reduce swelling and bruising.
To Ingest or to Apply?
If this is a question that has you bumfuzzled, you should consult your doctor about what supplements will provide for your entire body. And what a topical product will do is target your skin directly.
A Quick Summary
Slathering products that make a hole in your pocket is not enough for your beauty goals. Work towards healthy skin by giving your essential body nutrients.
Healthy and naturally youthful skin is a sign of healthy skin powered with enough vitamins. These vitamins help reduce dark spots, redness, wrinkles, rough patches, and excessive dryness.
A Word From The Experts
Get your vitamins the right way and after consulting your doctor.
Consult your doctor when you make major diet changes too.
When you go for a topical vitamin A, it is a pretty powerful product, starting with lower concentrations and lower frequencies to let your skin adjust to it first.