Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and yet many people treat it like it is a wrapper, rather than a complex, living thing. High-quality skincare is not just about the right sunscreen, soaps and moisturisers – though these are important – it’s also about nutrition. In fact, nutrition is perhaps the most important factor in the way your skin looks and feels, and yet most people neglect it most of the time, or even ignore it entirely.
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Luckily, getting the nutrients your skin needs is not difficult; the key vitamins are found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables, and you can make sure you’re getting all you need by supplementing your regular diet with a good quality vitamin or vitamin complex. If you want to take this to an advanced level, you can even look at what your skin’s needs are, from season to season, and make sure you match the correct vitamin supplement to the correct need. It’s really not that difficult. It starts with knowing what each vitamin supports.
Let’s take a look at the nine best vitamins for your skin, and what each one does to promote skin health and beauty.
Vitamin A is very common, and is found in root vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots, leafy greens like spinach, and even in mangoes. Another variant of vitamin A, called retinoid, is found in beef, eggs and dairy products.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant and is essential for healthy skin. It helps reduce wrinkles, and so many beauty products contain it, but it is usually only available via prescription, as it can cause skin rash and irritation in some people. Eating vitamin A rich foods is the best way to get it into your system, and this has the added benefit of promoting vision health and may decrease your chances of developing lung cancer.
Vitamin C is perhaps the most well-known vitamin. It’s known to fight off certain cancers, and plays a role in producing collagen, a substance that helps skin look healthy and youthful. It is a common ingredient in skin creams and treatments of all kinds.
Taking vitamin C orally can make your sunscreen more effective, by reducing UV damage and promoting faster healing of any damage that is suffered. It also helps to keep skin moisturised and to repair damage caused by dry conditions. It helps promote a youthful appearance by helping to produce collagen, and is believed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in some people.
We generally take in more than enough vitamin C. It is present in many of the foods we eat, either naturally or as part of a fortified product like breakfast cereals. Great sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, like oranges and tangerines, and in vegetables like broccoli and spinach. Even strawberries contain significant amounts of this helpful vitamin. You’ll also notice that nearly every multi-vitamin on the market has vitamin C as a high-profile member of the vitamin team.
The tradition that it can prevent or heal colds is a myth, but the other benefits are well worth ensuring that you get enough of vitamin C.
Vitamin E has, in the last couple of decades, come to the fore when it comes to looking after our skin. People rub it onto damaged skin tissue to reduce scarring, use it as a preventative measure against stretch marks during pregnancy, and take it as a supplement to promote skin health. Studies out of Harvard even indicate that having a healthy amount of vitamin E in your system will keep vitamin A levels up. Vitamin E protects your skin from free radical damage, and may be a powerful defender against acne (ref).
You can take vitamin E orally, rub a vitamin E oil onto your skin, or eat vitamin E rich foods including many fruits and vegetables, and other foods such as seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils.
Vitamin D is the cheapest of all of these vitamins, because your body produces it when exposed to the sun. It is seldom in short supply in sunny, equatorial climates, but people living farther north or south, especially in regions with very short days in the winter, can suffer from vitamin D deficiency very easily if they are not careful.
This vitamin helps to fight infections, including acne (ref), and can help to keep your skin safe and healthy, especially when compromised by a wound or clogged pore.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is found in many meats, fruits and vegetables. It is used by the body in a variety of ways, including keeping skin healthy and younger-looking (ref). It can brighten the appearance of skin, keep it elastic and clearer of blemishes, and cause exfoliation and reduction of flushing.
Vitamin K helps blood to clot, which improves the healing of cuts and bruises. It is also used to reduce stretch marks, spider veins, age spots, and dark discolouration below the eyes.
It is found in many creams, supplements, and in leafy foods like lettuce, kale and spinach – and even in green beans.
Choline is very important to the health of skin membranes (ref), keeping cells healthier, longer, and defending against damage caused by chemical and physical interactions with substances outside of the cells themselves.
Choline is found in eggs, peanuts, and milk but the body makes a substantial amount of this vitamin on its own, so deficiencies are rare.
Another vitamin in the B family of vitamins is vitamin B5. This vitamin is excellent for promoting skin hydration, helping it to retain needed moisture (ref) and function well as a barrier against the damage and impact of the outside world.
Many skin care products include B5, but you can also get it from eating chicken, avocado, and whole grains.
This is one that is most well-known for its use during pregnancy. Most people know it is important to foetal development, and for the same reasons, it is important to your skin. Folic acid is vital to the creation of new cells, whether in a developing foetus or in the skin of a mature adult. It can boost collagen synthesis, which helps your skin to be firmer and therefore more youthful in both appearance and feel.
What's the best supplement for skin health?
If you want a vitamin supplement to target the most important vitamins for skin health, then checkout our range of Tasty Hair, Skin and Nails vitamin gummies here.