Vitamins: the three-syllable word that we’ve all heard before, promising improved health, beauty and overall wellness. There are vitamins named after almost a quarter of the alphabet (see our useful vitamin A-Z for more info!), not to mention the eight types of B vitamins alone. But, if asked to provide a proper reason as to why they’re so important, most of us would probably struggle! So, what actually are vitamins, and why are they fundamental for maintaining healthy skin? Let’s break it down by looking at why we need vitamins, where to find them, and the three top vitamins for skin health.
Why are vitamins important for healthy skin?
Vitamins are important nutrients found in foods and supplements which foster general health and wellbeing. They help our immune systems stay in good working order, keep bones and teeth intact and support brain health - among lots of other things. Basically, they keep our bodies functioning; and keeping our bodies healthy on the inside is the first step to achieving healthy skin on the outside. Even though they have big responsibilities for maintaining our health, we only need vitamins in very small quantities - this is why they’re called micronutrients.
Where can you find vitamins?
It’s probably no surprise that fruits and vegetables are teeming with vitamins. So, making all kinds of fruits and vegetables dietary staples is important. But, vitamins don’t only have to be part of your diet. After all, making sure your meals tick every vitamin box can be tricky. Luckily, your skin can reap the rewards by implementing vitamin-rich products into your skin care. That means less worrying about whipping up a daily green smoothie and more reaching for facial products for a convenient vitamin fix. A balanced combo of a healthy diet and vitamin-based skincare products is the perfect way to achieve radiant skin, internally and externally.
Now, let’s look at some of the best vitamins for skin.
Which vitamins are good for skin health?
In the skin care sphere, this is called retinol - a specific type of vitamin A derivative under the umbrella of retinoids. Vitamin A has gold star status and it’s one of the top vitamins for skin health - after reading this, you’ll probably be rushing off to get some! This is your go-to anti-ageing vitamin, the one with the power to erase fine lines and wrinkles and increase the collagen in your skin. It is also very effective for strengthening the immune system and, combined with its anti-inflammatory magic, it reduces breakouts and keeps pores clear. Encouraging the formation of new skin cells, retinol will also ensure your skin looks renewed and hydrated. Overall, this vitamin promotes a smooth complexion that boasts a youthful glow.
When incorporating it into your skincare regime, look for creams, serums and moisturisers which contain retinol. The skin is very responsive to retinol so you should see the products getting to work quickly. Make sure, though, that you only use vitamin A products at nighttime as they can increase your skin’s exposure to damaging UV rays. It’s also good practice to build your skin’s tolerance to retinol gradually to avoid reactions - start with a pea-sized amount or a few drops, no more than twice a week.
Reach for: spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and mangoes
Also known as ascorbic acid, this antioxidant combats skin damage caused by free radicals (those nasty things that can age the skin quicker - no, thank you!). This vitamin helps to fight off environmental factors like damage from the sun and air pollution, making it the ultimate skin-protector! It also increases collagen production and improves the skin’s elasticity, leaving your skin firm and plump. This will have your complexion looking younger for longer. If all of this wasn’t enough, vitamin C can also promote bright skin by keeping hyperpigmentation (areas of discolouration) and dark spots at bay. What’s not to love?
Prioritise serums containing vitamin C over other kinds of skincare products as these are most effective for delivering your dose of ascorbic acid. To get the most out of vitamin C’s antioxidant properties, use in the morning for free radical protection throughout the day. Five drops should be enough to cover your whole face and, once your skin has fully adjusted to it, apply 1-2 times per day. Tip: apply before SPF to improve your sunscreen’s protective abilities.
Reach for: citrus fruits, strawberries, avocados, broccoli and kiwis
An all-rounder, vitamin E is an anti-ager, it hydrates and moisturises, and is even kind to sensitive skin. Not bad, hey? Its highly moisturising nature also means that it often works well for treating conditions like eczema and psoriasis to provide relief from itchiness and flakiness. Like vitamin C, it’s an antioxidant which keeps the skin happy, healthy and safe from environmental threats. Pairing the two vitamins together gives the skin a dual shot of protection from sun damage and combined use strengthens each vitamin’s function - so it’s worth doubling up!
Vitamin E can be used in two ways: all over the face using vitamin E-enriched products, or on specific areas using vitamin E oil. The former method is best used in the morning, whereas the latter is best used at night (because vitamin E oil is quite thick and can take a while to fully absorb into the skin). If you have acne scarring, try applying vitamin E oil to affected areas to minimise their appearance. Also, feel free to add drops of oil to your existing products to transform them into vitamin E Holy Grails!
Reach for: kale, seeds, nuts, corn and soya
So, now you know why vitamins are important for healthy skin. Combining a balanced diet with vitamin-enhanced skincare products is the key to gorgeous, glowing skin. So, what are you waiting for? Get eating and get applying!