As the body’s largest organ, the skin has a huge impact on a person's overall health. It serves multiple purposes that include regulating body temperature, controlling moisture loss, as a sensory organ that alerts us to various sensations, and as a protective barrier against the sun’s UV rays.
To keep skin healthy, it is important to ensure that vital vitamins and essential nutrients are included in your diet. While supplements can be a good way to resolve any deficiency of these nutrients, partaking in a healthy diet is the best option. You may supplement this with skincare products that are enriched with certain vitamins for optimal results.
This antioxidant helps to stem sun damage by neutralising free radicals and binding receptors that help strengthen skin cells. It prevents the breakdown of collagen and boosts oil production around hair follicles. It also has a healing factor that aids in treating minor injuries like cuts and scrapes, while also relieving itchy and dry skin.
You can easily get vitamin A as a topical medication known as retinol. It helps to boost healthy skin cell growth that can combat conditions like wrinkles, acne, and hyperpigmentation. There are few regions in the world where deficiencies in vitamin A exist as it may be found in both animal and plant sources. Many commercially fortified foods include this vitamin. It is also available as a supplement.
Also known as niacinamide or niacin, vitamin B3 is the most important of the B-complex vitamins for skin health. It gives skin a healthy glow by helping promote skin tone evenness and brightening the overall complexion. Vitamin B3 also encourages water retention in the skin, helping to keep it healthy and moisturised. It also helps to strengthen the skin barrier, making it easier to retain moisture and keep out harmful toxins.
It is most commonly found as an added ingredient in skincare products like sunscreens and in topical applications for treating skin conditions like eczema, acne, and rosacea. It can also be prescribed as an oral medication. Some foods rich in vitamin B3 include liver, turkey, pork, avocado, and brown rice.
Another B-complex nutrient, vitamin B7 or biotin is a contributor to healthy hair, nails, and skin. People that suffer a deficiency in biotin will often have symptoms of scaly red rashes around the face and groin. Hence the reason it is often taken as a means to strengthen skin cells, making them more durable. It also promotes the healthy formation of fatty acids that aid in nourishing the skin. It has also been found to help treat skin conditions like rashes and dermatitis in infants.
Vitamin B7 is widely available through various food sources like organ meats, fish, whole grains, cereals, eggs, bananas, and nuts. The less processed or cooked the food source is, the higher levels of vitamin B7 can be absorbed. Biotin is also available as a water-soluble supplement.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that effectively combats free radicals that are responsible for cell damage. Ageing skin is a common sign of how free radicals harm skin cells. This vitamin can also reduce the risk of skin cancer and boost the effectiveness of sunscreen. It also helps promote faster healing where there has been an injury. It also plays a key role in collagen production. Collagen helps keep skin looking youthful and healthy by promoting elasticity and hydration.
It is abundant from various food sources, particularly citrus-based foods. It may also be taken as a supplement with a recommended dosage of 1,000 mg a day or absorbed through enriched topical skincare products.
Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Cholesterol converts into vitamin D which is then redistributed across the body to help in the creation of healthy cells. This includes healthy skin cells that result in an even skin tone. For those that suffer from psoriasis, vitamin D can help to destroy overactive white blood cells that are driving excessive cell growth. It also helps build strong and healthy bones. Another reason to ensure a healthy intake in women that are pregnant and in seniors who are more prone to bone loss.
A good rule of thumb to follow is ensuring you get at least 10 minutes of sun exposure a day. You can also add fortified foods like orange juice and breakfast cereals to your diet. You can further supplement your vitamin D intake by eating food that naturally has it like salmon, cod, and tuna. You may also opt for a daily vitamin D supplement intake of 600 IU.
This is another powerful antioxidant that helps the skin to absorb energy from UV light while also protecting it from sun damage. This photoprotection helps to prevent damage to skin cells that would result in wrinkles and dark spots. It works alongside vitamin C to strengthen skin cells.
It is produced through sebum, the oily substance that is found in skin pores. Sebum helps to keep skin conditioned and helps prevent dehydration. Vitamin E enriched lotions and creams are often used to treat dry skin and reduce inflammation.
Nuts and seeds are rich sources of vitamin E. It can also be taken as a supplement or absorbed via the skin from enriched skincare products. Its ability as photoprotection makes it a popular ingredient in sunscreen products.
This vitamin is important in the blood clotting process that promotes wound healing. It also helps clear up bruising. Vitamin K has also been found helpful in treating various skin related ailments like scars, stretch marks, spider veins and dark spots. It also has an anti-ageing ability that protects collagen, giving skin a healthy and youthful appearance.
Vitamin K can be found in abundance in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and cabbage. It can also be absorbed from enriched topical creams. These creams are often prescribed to patients that have undergone surgery as a means to help heal their scars faster and reduce swelling.