Do you take vitamins to keep your skin and body in tip-top shape? Good for you.
Unfortunately, oral supplements may not get the job done. Unless you have a specific nutritional deficiency affecting your skin, you’ll simply pee out the excess you’ve ingested.
Costhetics wants you to take your understanding of vitamins to the next level. We want you to use vitamins in your skin care products, as well as in your nutritional program. In our never-ending search for current news and information about skin care, cosmetic surgery and aesthetic enhancement, we discovered not only which vitamins you should look for in the products you purchase, but why they’re good for you and how to use them.
Alphabetically speaking, here’s our rundown of the top six vitamin ingredients your skin will thank you for.
All hail Vitamin A. It has a well-earned reputation as being one of the most effective anti-ageing ingredients found in skin care products. It is also one of the oldest, with its use to treat acne dating back to the 1800s. Vitamin A binds receptors in the skin cells, making them stronger. This, in turn:
- Improves the protective function of the epidermis
- Stimulates the natural turnover of skin cells
- Protects collagen from degradation
One of the most powerful derivatives of Vitamin A is available only by prescription. It’s especially popular among therapists who point to its effectiveness as a topical treatment for:
- Fine lines
- Skin sensitivity
You should use skin care products with Vitamin A sparingly to reduce the chance of skin irritation. Begin by using it every other day, to allow your skin to build up a tolerance. Then you can switch to a daily routine. Skin experts also recommend you use it in the evening as your skin will be hypersensitive to sun damage during the adjustment period.
Therapists advise that Vitamin A use takes time to yield results. Improvement is slow but should be visible in two to four weeks. The good news is that you can use Vitamin A as part of your skin care maintenance routine for years to come, to maintain your glow.
Costhetics was surprised to learn that Vitamin B is a whole family of vitamins; eight to be exact. When it comes to skin care however, Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) is the favourite child. Vitamin B3 has the power to increase the level of ceramides in the skin. (Ceramides are a lipid involved in skin moisturising.) This one vitamin has been shown to help:
- Maintain normal skin barrier function
- Soothe eczema
- Reduce the appearance of pores
- Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
We would be remiss if we didn’t also give a shout out to Vitamin B5. You may see it listed as pantothenic acid. Its anti-inflammatory properties are particularly good for people who suffer from irritated skin. B5 also:
- Reduces moisture loss
- Improves skin hydration
- Soothes skin
- Keeps skin supple
Vitamin B derivatives are gentle and can be used twice daily for maximum benefit without fear of skin irritation. That being said, Costhetics reminds you to check the other ingredients in your skin care product. If they are potentially irritating or have exfoliating properties, you should start slowly, to see how your skin reacts.
Vitamin C has so much going for it, that Costhetics gives it an “A” as a safe skin care ingredient. It is considered safe for most skin types, and studies show it can be used safely for an extended period. It can generally be used in conjunction with alpha hydroxyl acids, retinols, and SPF ingredients too, making it an excellent addition to your skin care regime. (Note: When used in conjunction with niacinamide, Vitamin C may be less effective.)
One of Vitamin C’s derivatives, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), has a track record for:
- Hydrating skin
- Evening out skin tone
- Reducing under-eye circles
- Decreasing trans epidermal water loss
- Improving moisture retention
Look for Vitamin C in serums. In addition to the benefits of MAP, look for these derivatives designed to improve protection potency:
- L-ascorbic acid
- Ascorbyl palmitate
Most of us are fortunate enough to get all the Vitamin D we need naturally. It’s produced by the skin in conjunction with sun exposure. If your skin isn’t looking its best and you think it’s because you’re low in Vitamin D, do not spend more time in the sun. You will be putting yourself at risk for skin cancer. Unfortunately, beauty products formulated with Vitamin D are not the solution either. Instead, speak to a nutritionist about oral supplements.
Vitamin D isn’t without merit, however. If you have psoriasis or another inflammatory skin disease, it can be beneficial. Vitamin D has been found to strengthen the immune system against inflammatory responses. This wonder Vitamin can also slow the growth of new cells, a valuable way to thin the plaque caused by flares. Some people use topical medications with other active ingredients in addition to Vitamin D, including corticosteroid, to achieve maximum effectiveness
Look for topical oils and ointments formulated especially for psoriasis sufferers. “While topical treatments are soothing, they typically aren’t effective in preventing recurrence,” reports Healthline in its article Vitamin D for Psoriasis.
If the sun is your friend, then Vitamin E is your skin’s best friend. This simple ingredient can be a powerful ally in protecting your skin from oxidation and free radical damage due to sun exposure. “Vitamin E is an important fat-soluble antioxidant and has been in use for more than 50 years in dermatology,” reports the National Centre for Biotechnology Information.
Like Vitamin B, Vitamin E is another family of vitamins, with eight different types. In skin care products look for tocopherol acetate and tocopherol, which are prized for helping to:
- Guard the skin barrier
- Improve skin hydration
- Protect against free radicals and oxidation
Vitamin E is typically found paired with Vitamin C in serums and moisturisers. While safe for most people, Vitamin E can be problematic for those whose skin is acne-prone, extremely oily, or supersensitive. Skin care professionals tell Costhetics that it is wise to try out an E-infused moisturiser prior to using a serum. Serums are generally more potent and thus more likely to cause a skin reaction.
Vitamin F, The Faux Vitamin
It goes by the name vitamin, but Vitamin F is actually a combination of two essential omega fatty acids:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3)
- Linoleic acid (Omega-6)
They must be together in order to be effective. The two Vitamin Fatties can help:
- Lock in moisture
- Keep out toxins
- Heal existing damage
- Prevent dryness and rough texture
- Reduce inflammation
- Slow skin ageing
Vitamin F is a key ingredient in face oils, though you won’t see it listed that way in the ingredients. Instead, you’ll see F-rich ingredient oils such as:
- Evening primrose
- Hemp seed
- Rosehip seed
Vitamin F is popping up in all sorts of skin care formulations, from cleansers to moisturisers and (most recently) facial masks.
The Key Message
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring the world of vitamin-based skin care products. The things Costhetics wants you to remember are:
- Choose vitamins proven to be best for treating your specific concerns
- Go slow and steady as you assess what works for your skin
- Ask a pro if you don’t know
Now, should you think you have a vitamin deficiency in your diet, Costhetics recommends you consult with your doctor, rather than a skin care therapist. Whatever your health and beauty concerns might be, we invite you to contact our team to find a doctor who can address your needs. That’s what we’re all about at Costhetics, your needs… and sometimes chocolate.