The essential vitamins that will change your skin
While many people have been taking vitamin supplements for years to help maintain a balanced diet, fewer people are aware of the benefits vitamins can provide in the maintenance and improvement of the skin.
These days, many of us are familiar with different brands of breads containing calcium supplements and orange juices with extra iron, however few of us know much about skincare products enriched with vitamins.
Experts have known for some time that vitamins affect the skin. A lack of vitamins for example can make the skin appear lifeless, dry, blotchy or oily. As a result, skincare companies are launching vitamin enhanced skincare products at breakneck speed.
But before you go purchasing a multitude of lotions labelled with letters, it’s important to understand the different affects of vitamins on the skin and which ones will produce the optimum results for you.
Vitamin A is critical in the maintenance of healthy skin. A serious lack or excess intake of vitamin A is likely to result in dry, rough skin.
Synthetic vitamin A-like compounds, such as Retinol, have been shown to reduce many visible signs of skin ageing especially fine lines and wrinkles. Medical research has also documented that the use of retinol on the skin can create new collagen deposition, greater proliferation of new blood vessels and capillary formation. Dramatic improvements have also been observed with regard to skin smoothness, evening of skin tones and overall skin rejuvenation. Retinol also plays a prominent role in conditioning the skin prior to many cosmetic procedures such as facial surgery, CO2 laser resurfacing and chemical peels.
Retinol has been proven to be a potent tool in treating acne by preventing the cells that line the follicular canal from sticking together and creating the solid impactions that block the follicle, thereby addressing the underlying mechanisms that contribute to acne.
Vitamins B-3 (niacin) and B-5 (pantothenic acid) have become popular additions to skincare products because of their ability to assist in retaining moisture.
Vitamin B-3 is a relatively new ingredient in the market but has demonstrated great promise, offering a milder alternative to acidic exfoliators like glycolic and salicylic acid, which some feel are too harsh for their complexions.
B-5 is a more common skincare additive, and is widely recognised for its moisturising ability. It’s also good for those with sensitive skin, as some creams made with Vitamin E have been known to cause irritation.
Also known by its chemical name ascorbic acid, vitamin C has been doted upon by some in the skincare industry as a miracle cure for fine lines and wrinkles. And, while this may be a slight overstatement, there is no doubt that vitamin C can benefit the skin topically in a variety of ways.
Firstly, vitamin C has proven effectiveness as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are a critical natural defense against ‘free radicals’ – unstable molecules that age the skin as a result of pollution, smoking and sun exposure.
Topical Vitamin C can protect the skin from UV damage caused by prolonged sun exposure by reducing the amount of free radical formation. Despite its ability to help protect against skin damage and reduce discoloration, vitamin C products should still be used in conjunction with, not in place of, a good sunscreen.
Another benefit of Vitamin C is its ability to enhance the synthesis of collagen, which helps skin maintain the skin’s firmness.
Finally, research suggests that vitamin C may also inhibit facial hair growth, acne and the formation of melanin build-up, which can cause dark spots on the skin.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant with powerful moisturising properties, which can have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. It can also help prevent free radical damage as well as improve skin softness and smoothness as well as providing modest photo protection.
Dark under-eye circles can make anyone look older than their years. And, while getting a good night’s sleep is always recommended, topical Vitamin K is a good additional defense against discoloration under the eyes.
Topical Vitamin K, which is often used as a treatment for spider veins, enters the skin through the pores and travels to the damaged capillary or artery. It then helps clot the blood, thereby stopping any seepage (often the cause of dark circles) and allows the tissue to heal itself.
Vitamin C is also known for its ability to diminish dark circles. Using a product (or products) containing both vitamin C and K is ideal.
While adequate sleep, a balanced diet and nutritional supplements will greatly benefit your complexion, topical vitamins are an excellent addition to your skincare routine.