Vitamins & supplements info
Get the latest news on healthy skin vitamins and vitamin supplements, find out about vitamin A and skincare, learn how vitamin C affects skin health, and read about vitamin E and nutrition. See how vitamins and minerals impact skin and more skincare issues. Get safety tips for vitamin pills.
Vitamins and Skin Health
Vitamins can play a role in the health of your skin - and not just in terms of the vitamins you consume from foods and supplements or vitamin pills. Some vitamins have been found useful when used in topical creams and lotions.
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This doesn't mean that you can pop a few vitamin pills or slather on vitamin cream and then not worry about good nutrition. But vitamins, in supplements or lotions, can be a helpful addition to both your diet and your skincare program.
For example, Vitamin A is needed to keep your skin tissue in good repair. In foods, Vitamin A is found in dark green and orange vegetables and fruits, egg yolks, liver and fortified products. It's important to get the right amount of Vitamin A. Without adequate Vitamin A in your diet, you may notice that your complexion gets flaky. But with too much Vitamin A, you may notice a yellowing of the skin. Too much Vitamin A in the diet can also be dangerous.
Vitamin A is also used in topical preparations for skin. Topical prescription creams derived from Vitamin A, or retinoic acid, can help to soften wrinkles (Renova), control acne (Retin-A), and reduce skin discolorations. There are also nonprescription products made with another form of vitamin A called retinol. These products may help exfoliate the skin, which helps to give it a smoother appearance. Be aware that these products may also increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun, so make sure you use a good sunscreen or cover up with sun protective clothing.
Another vitamin, Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help to counter damage caused by skin irritants known as free radicals. In fact, a study found that people who ate a lot of vitamin C–rich foods had fewer wrinkles and less age-related dry skin compared to people whose diets contained little of the vitamin. This study also found that diets rich in the omega–6 fatty acid linoleic acid were also linked to less skin aging, less dryness and reduced thinning of the skin.
Vitamin C may be related to the formation of collagen, which can help smooth fine lines. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can also help to fight free radicals, a by-product of cell metabolism. In foods, Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and many vegetables. Vitamin C lotions are also available, and may help to improve the appearance of your skin and lessen fine lines and surface wrinkles.
Another antioxidant is Vitamin E. In foods, Vitamin E is found in vegetables, oils, nuts, and seeds. In your diet, you need adequate amounts of Vitamin E for healthy tissues and to promote wound healing. Vitamin E is also found in many skin products. Vitamin E can help as a moisturizer. Some people may be sensitive and develop a reaction to Vitamin E, so if you are using a product with Vitamin E, be on the lookout for side effects.
In addition to vitamins, minerals are also important for good health in general and the health of your skin. A well-balanced diet can often supply all the vitamins and minerals you need. But if your diet is not all it should be, you may decide to use supplements. Make sure you read the label. You don't want huge doses of any one vitamin or mineral. Check the expiration date to make sure the product is potent. And make sure you store vitamin and mineral supplements in a cool dry place, out of the reach of children.
As with minerals, remember that taking too much of a vitamin can be toxic and very dangerous. Make sure you do not exceed the recommended dosage if you are using supplements.
Updated January 2013
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