Good skin comes from the inside, and that requires proper nutrition. Just before we drown ourselves in a long list of greens and tropical fruits, shall we do it the ABC way? It is wise to start from identifying and understanding the skin-benefiting vitamins.
Are you ready for the beauty breakdown? Grab yourself a lemonade and read on for the essential vitamins that are good for your skin.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be commonly found in many foods. It is an essential nutrient that supports skin, eye, reproductive health and the immunity system. There are two types of vitamin A: retinoids (preformed vitamin A) and carotenoids (proformed vitamin A). Both types of vitamin A are later converted to retinol by our liver. Wait, retinol, why does it sound familiar?
To note, our skin is a retinoid-responsive organ which readily absorbs vitamin A whenever applied topically. Studies reported that retinol is effective in stimulating collagen production and reducing wrinkles, which explains its usage in anti-aging skincare. Do bear in mind that it is not uncommon to find redness, dryness and peeling after using retinoid skincare products since it is “training” your skin cells to turnover faster.
Find it in foods: dairy products, eggs and beef liver (retinoids); carrots, tomatoes and sweet potatoes (carotenoids).
Find it in skincare: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer SPF30
Also known as Niacin, Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin that can be commonly found in many foods. It is an essential nutrient for healthy skin, brain, nervous system and blood cells. Since our body does not store water-soluble vitamins, we need to consume Vitamin B3 on a daily basis. There are two forms of vitamin B3: Niacinamide (generally found in animal-based products) and Nicotinic Acid (found in plant-based foods).
Having said that Vitamin B3 can be found in supplement form for oral consumption – specifically Niacinamide, one of its derivatives, is widely found in cream products to treat acne and rosacea. If you noticed, it is also common to find this skincare ingredient in the skincare industry – thanks to its anti-aging and skin brightening properties.
Find it in foods: Beef liver, chicken breast and tuna (Niacinamide); Nuts, pumpkin seeds and edamame (Nicotinic Acid).
Find it in skincare: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Also known as Pantothenic or Panthenol, Vitamin B5 is necessary for making blood cells and maintaining a proper functioning digestive system and nervous system. Fortunately, Pantothenic Acid is naturally present in almost all foods, hence deficiency in this vitamin is very rare.
Panthenol can be widely found in skincare formulation as it is said to help strengthen the natural skin barrier function, resulting in better skin moisture retention. In terms of hair care treatment, vitamin B5 helps to stimulate keratin protein production, hence improving the texture of damaged hair.
Find it in food: Broccoli, whole-grain cereals and mushrooms.
Find it in skincare: Leegeeham Life Hyal B5 Moisture Mask
Probably the most recognised vitamin among all, vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient that strengthens our immune system. Not only that, it acts as an antioxidant in our body, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals, such as environmental pollutants and UV radiation.
One of the reasons why vitamin C is widely used in the skincare industry is that it has the ability to reverse signs of photo-aging (i.e. hyperpigmentation). In particular, L-Ascorbic Acid is the most active form of vitamin C in which research has shown its promising brightening effect. Nonetheless, it is a relatively unstable ingredient which oxidises when in contact with sunlight. Therefore, it is recommended to store products containing L-Ascorbic Acid in a cool, dark area, away from direct sunlight exposure.
Find it in food: Oranges, grapefruits and strawberries.
Find it in skincare: Kiehl Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. Perhaps you already know that vitamin D can be produced endogenously (within our body system) whereby UV sun rays get into contact with the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Hence, it is also called the “sunshine vitamin”. With that being said, prolonged sun exposure is not the best way to get vitamin D. Recommended options are through taking dietary supplements and food diet.
While taking vitamin D supplements help to promote calcium absorption in our body, you may also find skincare products that contain vitamin D available over the counter. When applied topically, vitamin D soothes inflammation and fights acne symptoms – thanks to its natural antimicrobial properties!
Find it in food: Diary products, mushrooms and fatty fish.
Find it in skincare: Herbivore EMERALD Deep Moisture Glow Oil
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that acts as an antioxidant in our body. It consists of eight different compounds, where Alpha-Tocopherol is the most recognised among all and also the most responsive in our human body.
With its antioxidant properties, vitamin E provides protection against free radicals due to air pollution and UV radiation. Free radicals weaken and break down healthy cells, resulting in shorter cell life span. With that being said, vitamin E helps to repair damaged cells and prolong the aging process of our skin cells.
Find it in food: Peanuts, sunflower seeds, safflower oils.
Find it in skincare: Common Labs Ggultamin Vitamin E Real Jel Mask
Scientifically known as “Kaogulationsvitamin”, Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a role in blood coagulation, bone health and heart health. There are two main forms of vitamin K: Vitamin K1 (found in plant foods) and Vitamin K2 (found in animal and fermented foods), while studies have shown that the latter has more significant health benefits compared to the former.
Vitamin K has skin recovery properties, so it is often used topically for bruising, swelling and cuts. In addition, it is also good for treating skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis. Skincare formulators add vitamin K to products to help strengthen skin’s natural barrier, which results in better skin moisture retention.
Find it in food: High-fat dairy products, liver, kale.
Find it in skincare: Summer Fridays Overtime Mask
Do look out for these skin-benefiting vitamins on your next beauty haul. Cheers to healthy and youthful skin!
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. The above mentioned products are provided for your reference only. You will require a different intensity of skincare products at different stages. Feel free to consult a dermatologist to understand your skin condition better.