Research shows that vitamins C, A, K, E and B complex stand out in terms of benefits for the skin. Collectively, they fight cell damage, boost collagen production, help healing and speed up cell turnover. They also effect hydration, improve discoloration and keep the immune system healthy. People can get them through a balanced diet, as well as through oral or topical supplements. Some precautions are needed when trying to get the right amounts.
This substance works as an antioxidant, meaning that it fights free radicals. These are simply atoms with an uneven number of electrons, but they’re not good because they try to steal electrons away from healthy cells to stay stable. Neutralizing them reduces tissue damage. This vitamin also encourages the production of collagen, which is a protein that keeps connective tissue flexible and elastic. Fine lines and wrinkles usually aren’t as noticeable as a result.
Vitamin A rebuilds tissues and increases cell turnover rates, so it’s typically excellent for treating problems such as burns, scrapes and cuts. It is an antioxidant that fights the effects of aging and boosts collagen production. It is also linked to the production of glycosaminoglycans, which are natural moisturizers the body makes to maintain fluid balances and keep tissue structures strong. The combination of better flexibility, strength and good hydration usually means that the skin looks younger.
This is especially good for the skin under the eyes, which is usually very thin. Capillaries in this area often become weak because of aging or from the effects of the environment, and as a result, they sometimes leak or break and cause dark circles. Doctors think that it restricts the capillaries, which can improve the discoloration. For this reason, it might also make bruises look better.
Another great antioxidant is Vitamin E. It promotes a healthy immune system, which is connected to how fast cells die and need to be replaced. When a person hurts their skin, such as through a sunburn, the immune system produces the inflammation response that helps fight off infection.
B complex refers to an entire group of substances, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), inositol (B8), folic acid (B9) and cobalamin (B12). Of these, biotin and niacin arguably are the most important, because they help retain moisture and form the basis for skin, hair and nails. In combination, this entire group often can improve a person’s overall complexion.
The easiest way to get what the skin needs typically is to eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, essential fatty acids and lean sources of protein. These foods also give a person other vitamins and nutrients that support good health. The best bet usually is to eat fruits and vegetables as soon as possible after harvest, raw or lightly steamed, because many beneficial substances are sensitive to high heat and break down over time. For meats, baking or grilling are often good options, because they don’t add extra calories or fat through flour mixes or cooking oils.
In most cases, if a person is eating a good variety of foods, then he’s able to get enough vitamins and nutrients. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a supplement, however. These are available through pharmacy departments, drug stores and health food shops. Most come in either pill or capsule form, but some are liquid drops. They are sold as either a single item — for example, just folic acid — or as products with many ingredients.
When selecting a supplement, buyers should think about their own physical characteristics, which change how much of each substance they might need. A grown, active man, for example, has different nutritional needs than a senior woman or an infant. Many manufacturers take this into account and make products for different categories of people.
A good diet usually improves the skin from the inside out, but with many problems such as dryness affecting mainly just the outer layers of tissue, working from the outside in is sometimes a better option. Using creams, lotions or gels that have vitamins C, A, K, E and B complex often works well. They allow an individual to treat specific areas, which is good because the skin can be different from place to place. The armpit, for example, tends to be much more sensitive than the palms of the hands. People who have certain medical conditions such as trouble swallowing also might be able to use this option.
Even though it generally is fairly difficult for a person to exceed recommended daily allowances, overdoses can happen. Depending on exactly what substance is involved, symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, fatigue, nerve damage and other conditions. It’s typically a good idea for a person to pay attention to his intake to prevent these problems, especially if he’s using supplements on top of an excellent diet.
Individuals also should watch out for other medical conditions they have or other medications they might be taking. Vitamin A can interfere with antibiotics, for example. Doctors usually want to know about a person’s diet and current prescriptions when they are deciding on treatments because of the potential for interactions.