The importance of vitamins has been instilled in us since childhood. Mantras such as ‘eating carrots will allow you to see in the dark’, ‘oranges will keep colds away’ and ‘eating spinach makes you strong’ were commonplace at the dinner table, all relaying the importance of a vitamin-rich diet and the foods that help us to achieve it.
While vitamins are crucial for a healthy, functioning body on the inside, they’re also vital when it comes to skincare. As well as eating your daily recommended allowance, it’s a good idea to top up your skin’s vitamin intake with a bit of topical application, too. After passing through the muscular and circulatory system, the skin is one of the last organs to receive ingested vitamins, meaning they often are left with an insufficient supply. In order to better enrich your skin, we asked the experts break down the A-Z of the most important V’s.
According to Dr Mervyn Patterson, medical director of Woodford Medical, Vitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinoids including retinal, retinol and retinyl esters. “They are also referred to as ‘essential vitamins’ as the body cannot synthesise them and they must be absorbed from the diet,” he explains.
“Apart from having a very important role in the production of pigment in the back of our eye for vision they are necessary for the orderly control of cell division throughout all of the organs in our body including our skin. This is one of the ways that topical vitamin A helps our skin by increasing cell turnover and improving the numbers of new cells rising to the surface of the epidermis.”
“This vitamin helps reduce the appearance of pigmentation, redness associated with rosacea and blotchy spots,” says Dr. Marko Lens, Founder of Zelens. Dr Aamer Khan, GP, cosmetic doctor and founder of Harley Street Skin agrees, claiming that Vitamin B3 is vital to skin health and can even help to alleviate acne.
“With powerful properties that lock in moisture, B5 is optimal for all skin types. To hydrate, use a light moisturising serum with Vitamin B5 – especially in the morning or under make-up, to make it last longer,” says Linda Blahr, Head of National Training at SkinCeuticals.
“Vitamin C is an essential vitamin as humans unlike animals cannot make it so it has to be absorbed from the diet. This vitamin is important for collagen synthesis and protein metabolism as well as being an important antioxidant. It, therefore, plays a role in determining the health and firmness of our dermis by improving the collagen levels and support,” says Dr Patterson. According to the doctor, the best sources in our diet are fresh fruit and vegetables.
“Through its powerful antioxidant properties, Vitamin D supports lackluster skin, vibrancy, spots and boosts elasticity with anti-inflammatory effects,” says Abigail James, Facialist & Wellbeing Expert.
“Vitamin E is a well-loved skincare essential for boosting hydration, it’s a vitamin essential for preventing free radical damage that leads to pigmentation and damaged elastin. It hydrates, prevents water loss, soothes and reduces inflammation so it is good for both sensitive and aging skins,” says Abigail.
“Vitamin E also provides important antioxidant roles alongside other vitamin antioxidants,” explains Dr Patterson. “Good ways to keep your vitamin E levels up are with nuts, seeds and of course fruit and vegetables.”
According to Abigail, Vitamin K is able to fortify cells within the body; “it has the ability to strengthen the walls of blood capillaries and is generally used in eye creams to reduce the appearance of dark circles, tighten and support. I favour applying eye products in the morning before your moisturisers.”
“Zinc helps reduce skin inflammation and irritation whilst providing broad-spectrum sun protection that prevents burns and sun damage. It also improves wound healing and prevents bacterial infections as well as treating acne breakouts,” explains Linda.
From Glamour UK