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What Are the Best Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Skin?

What Are the Best Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Skin?

Vitamins and minerals play an important role in maintaining healthy skin and protecting against free radicals.  Vitamins are natural substances that the human body needs to function normally.   Your skin is the largest organ in your body and has many functions, including regulating temperature and protecting the body from environmental stress. To have beautiful skin to protect your body, you need a good balance of nutrients to fulfill its primary function.

Research suggests that certain vitamins and minerals may play a key role in skin health. In many cases, these vitamins and minerals are most effective when you apply them directly to the skin. A deficiency of certain nutrients causes negative effects on the skin such as lethargic, rashes, or skin shrinkage.  The main way vitamins and minerals affect skin health is to ensure that the body as a whole remains healthy.

Essential skin vitamins and minerals are available as supplements but are also found in skincare products.   Let’s take a look at the essential vitamins and minerals to find how they can help you achieve optimal skin health.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A has many implications for skin health. Retinoids, including retinol, tretinoin, isotretinoin, and other similar chemicals, are manufactured forms of vitamin A. Numerous studies confirm the skin health benefits of retinoids.

  • Retinoids increase the rate of cell turnover. This can improve skin texture and tone, exfoliate dull, lifeless skin, fight acne, and slow the signs of aging.
  • Vitamin A protects the skin from sun damage to collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep skin firm and improve existing signs of aging.
  • Vitamin A helps the sebaceous glands that surround the hair follicles to function and can also help heal cuts and scrapes.
  • Without vitamin A, your skin can become dry, itchy, or bumpy.
  • Retinol (Vitamin A) helps reduce wrinkles associated with natural skin aging.
  • Vitamin A can prevent wrinkles thanks to its minimizing effect, as well as smoothing out existing wrinkles and fine lines.

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that vitamin A treatment reduces the expression of matrix metalloproteases and stimulates collagen synthesis in skin that is naturally aged and protected from the sun, as in photoaged skin.[1]

Many multivitamins contain 100% or more of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.

Vitamin A is found mainly in the liver (beef, fish, and poultry), eggs and dairy products, carrots, parsley, legumes, mushrooms, melons, blackberries, blueberries, green onions, lettuce, sorrel, dill. Sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables also contain vitamin A.

B-complex vitamins

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B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that improve skin health. They are readily available as supplements, including supplements that include all vitamins B. Many studies suggest that B-complex vitamins are most effective when applied directly to the skin.

A 2018 study found that combinations of B vitamins show a positive influence on human keratinocytes and fibroblasts.

Vitamin B1 or Thiamine:

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, like all B vitamins, has powerful anti-aging properties and helps remove toxins from the body while increasing circulation, for healthy, glowing skin.

Thiamine helps protect the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals, helping to protect against premature aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

Vitamin B-3  or niacinamide

vitamin B3 or niacin (also called nicotinic acid), once in the body it is converted to niacinamide (also called nicotinamide). There it becomes a precursor of the coenzymes NADH and NADPH. These enzymes are essential for cell energy production and lipid synthesis.

  • Niacin may help fight some of the signs of skin aging. Some studies suggest that it may help reduce the appearance of age spots and other forms of skin discoloration.

Niacin is found in beets, leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and tuna.

Riboflavin:

vitamin B2 or riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin and essential for energizing cells. It works to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and supports the production of red blood cells.  Vitamin B2 increases the absorption of zinc, which is an essential element in maintaining the health and integrity of the skin.

Vitamin B2 deficiency makes your skin and hair more sensitive to UV damage and can cause skin damage and inflammation leading to conditions such as extremely dry skin, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

Vitamin B5:

Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin found in all living cells in the body. It plays an essential role in breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to provide energy to the cells. It is also found in plants.

  • Pantothenic acid helps to get rid of wrinkles.
  • It is a moisturizer for the skin.
  • The anti-inflammatory function of vitamin B5 helps in maintaining skin health.

A 2010 study on the daily use of a facial lotion containing Vitamin B3(niacinamide), B5 (panthenol) and tocopheryl acetate on 246 women randomized for treatment of which 207 (84%) completed the study showed that women who used the test lotion experienced a significant reduction in the appearance of hyperpigmentation, an improvement in skin tone uniformity, an appearance of skin lightening and positive effects on skin texture. Improvements over control were seen as early as 6 weeks. The test lotion was well tolerated. The most common side effect was a transient mild burning sensation.

Its sources include legumes, meat, eggs, milk, vegetables, and grains.

Vitamin B6:

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is needed by the body for red blood cell development, cell production, and protein metabolism, which contributes to the growth and repair of skin cells.

  • Pyridoxine is antiseptic that helps to treat many skin diseases.
  • It helps in reducing the acne problem effectively.
  • It boosts your circulatory system and helps in providing nourishment to the skin.

Vitamin B9:

Folic acid is the synthetic version of water-soluble vitamin B9   also known as folate.

  • Folic acid helps to fight against acne.
  • The deficiency of this vitamin leaves the skin dry and cracking hence it is essential for maintaining hydration in the skin.

Folic acid may also improve the signs of aging skin. A 2011  study carried out on the underlying structural changes in the collagen network of sun-exposed facial skin, both young and old, were visualized in vivo using multiphoton scanning laser microscopy (MPLSM).

The result of the study showed that the dermal changes occurring in photo-aged human skin were visualized in an unprecedented way and correlated with a loss of firmness.  Treatment of aged skin with a topical formulation containing folic acid and creatin counteracted this age-related decline by exerting lasting effects on collagen metabolism.

Dietary sources of B-complex vitamins include cereals, meat, liver, eggs, seafood, nuts, and seeds green vegetables, dairy products, bananas, chicken, mushrooms, avocados, and yeast.

Vitamin C

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Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. This means that it can reverse oxidative damage induced by free radicals, a number of environmental pollutants, and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

The skin is made up of two layers, the outer layer of the epidermis and the inner layer of the dermis, which provides resistance and elasticity. More vitamin C is found in the epidermal layer than in the dermis.

Its antioxidant properties and its role in the production of collagen help keep skin healthy. That’s why vitamin C is one of the main ingredients found in many anti-aging skincare products.

Taking vitamin C orally can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens applied to your skin to protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Vitamin C reduces cell damage and promotes the healing process of body wounds. Vitamin C may also help to fight the signs of aging due to its vital role in the natural synthesis of collagen. It helps to heal damaged skin and, in some cases, reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Adequate vitamin C intake can also help repair and prevent dry skin.

  • Vitamin C or ascorbic acid helps to tone the blood vessels of the circulatory system.
  • vitamin C  contributes to the production of collagen.  It helps the twisted web of proteins keep its shape.
  • Vitamin C has been proven to enhance the skin’s natural UV protection properties, making it an excellent vitamin for people who are regularly outdoors
  • Low levels of vitamin C can cause easy bruising and bleeding gums, as well as wounds that heal more slowly.
  • Vitamin C is known to have a direct influence on reducing pigmentation problems such as age spots, as well as stimulating collagen production. The signs of aging of human skin can be improved by vitamin C intake.

A 2017 study suggests that vitamin C supplementation in animals improves collagen synthesis in vivo.  Keratinocytes in the skin have the ability to accumulate high concentrations of vitamin C, which, in combination with vitamin E, provides protection against UV radiation. The supply of vitamin C to the skin greatly facilitates wound healing and minimizes the formation of raised scars. [2]

There is no harm in trying to get more vitamin C. Most topical application of Vitamin C directly to the skin can improve elasticity, helping the skin look younger and more radiant.

Vitamin C is found in blackcurrants, bananas, oranges, tangerines, lemons, candies, and grapefruit. Vegetables are also good sources of vitamin C. Vegetables include peppers, cabbage, radishes, potatoes, and others. Berries include kiwi fruit, cranberries, cranberries, and walnuts.

A person can take multivitamins to ensure that they are getting enough vitamin C.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most often made when sunlight is absorbed by the skin. Vitamin D is then absorbed by your liver and kidneys and transported throughout the body to help create healthy cells. This includes the skin, where vitamin D plays an important role in skin tone. It can even help treat psoriasis.

Calcitriol is a synthetic version of Vitamin D3 that your body produces naturally. Calcitriol ointment is a topical cream that has been effective in treating people with psoriasis.

A 2012 study showed that vitamin D and its analogs exert in the skin and other tissues various effects on cell differentiation and proliferation, regulate apoptosis, and act on the immune system. Vitamin D is effective in the topical treatment of psoriasis, where it is now a standard therapy.[3]

  • Vitamin D supports the metabolism of skin cells, helping the skin to grow and repair itself. Thus, insufficient levels of vitamin D can trigger skin problems.
  • Vitamin D helps to keep skin in ideal condition
  • Vitamin D prevents premature aging.
  • Vitamin D can also help to fight chronic inflammation.

Vitamin D is found in meat, eggs, protein products, dairy products, peanuts, cereals, vegetables, and fish.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E or tocopherol like vitamin C is an antioxidant that can slow down the aging process caused by free radicals.

  • It is a popular remedy for scars. However, research on the ability of vitamin E to reduce the appearance of scars has reached conflicting conclusions.
  • A 2015 study concluded that there is not yet enough evidence that monotherapy with topical vitamin E has a significant beneficial effect on scarring to justify its widespread use.
  • It makes the skin soft and flexible.
  • Vitamin E or tocopherol protects the skin from harsh UV rays. This antioxidant and anti-inflammatory can also absorb the energy of UV rays, which damage the skin and cause wrinkles, sagging, and skin cancer. Vitamin E works with vitamin C to strengthen cell walls.
  • It provides the skin with a smooth appearance
  • It has anti-aging properties. Preliminary research suggests that vitamin E supplements may slow skin aging, but research is inconclusive.
  • Vitamin E is probably best known for its moisturizing effects, making it an indispensable vitamin for dry skin. Specifically, this vitamin helps the skin maintain its hydration by sealing moisture in. In addition to being an excellent moisturizer, vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm irritated skin.
  • Vitamin E increases the skin’s absorption capacity. An adequate supply of vitamin E can actually improve the effectiveness of skincare products by helping them penetrate the skin better.

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A 2010 study supports the contributing and beneficial effects of vitamins D and E in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

Some research suggests that vitamin E may help wound healing, particularly in combination with vitamin C and zinc. It may also help treat acne and pressure ulcers.

Vitamin E is present in vegetable oils: legumes, corn, almonds, peanuts, cereals. Vitamin E is also present in fish, boiled eggs, meat, tomatoes, bananas, seeds, spinach, and mangoes.

Zinc

The skin is the third richest tissue in the body in zinc. According to a study published by Oregon Estate University, Zinc oxide (ZnO) protects the skin from sun damage by reflecting and absorbing ultraviolet (UV) rays across the UV spectrum, thereby reducing the level of radiation that penetrates the skin.

  •  Zinc plays an important role in the three skin functions such as morphogenesis, repair, and maintenance that provide protection and defense via the proteins and enzymes that are involved in these processes.
  • Zinc helps your skin heal after an injury. It is needed to maintain the stability of cell walls and for cells to divide and specialize as they grow.
  • Zinc can protect the skin from UV damage because of its behavior in relation to other metals in the body, such as iron and copper. It also acts as an antioxidant.

Too little zinc can look like eczema, but the itching will not go away if you use moisturizers and steroids.

Selenium

Selenium is a trace element. It is found in soil and is naturally present in many foods, added to other food sources, and available as a dietary supplement. Selenium has antioxidant properties and exists in two forms: inorganic (selenate and selenite) and organic (selenomethionine and selenocysteine). Both forms of selenium can be good dietary sources and play an important role in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, protection against oxidative damage, and infection [4].

Good dietary sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, fish (yellowfin tuna, halibut, sardines), meats, poultry, eggs, cereals, and bread. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for selenium are 55 mcg for adult men and women and 60-70 mcg during pregnancy and lactation.

Recent animal studies have shown that when selenium is taken orally or dermally as L-selenomethionine, it protects against both daily and excessive UV damage. One study also showed that selenium delayed the development of skin cancer in animals.

Conclusion

Many vitamins can improve skin health, especially in people with vitamin deficiencies. Malnutrition can cause a range of skin problems, so a varied and nutrient-rich diet is one of the best things a person can do for skin health. A healthy, balanced diet, rich in vitamins and nutrients, can improve skin health by boosting your overall health.

You should still be careful not to take too many vitamins, as too much of some vitamins can lead to health problems. Not all vitamins are suitable for all skin conditions, and the wrong combination can even make some problems worse.

Taking care of your skin should be an essential part of your health regimen. To help you choose the right skincare products and follow a healthy diet, consult your dermatologist or doctor.

 

References:

[1] JamesVaraniRoscoe L.WarnerMehrnaz, Gharaee-KermaniSem, H.PhanSewonKang,  JinHoChung ZengQuanWang, Subhash C.Datta, Gary J.Fisher, John J.Voorhees, Vitamin A Antagonizes Decreased Cell Growth and Elevated Collagen-Degrading Matrix Metalloproteinases and Stimulates Collagen Accumulation in Naturally Aged Human Skin Journal of Investigative Dermatology  Volume 114, Issue 3, March 2000, Pages 480-486

[2] Juliet M. Pullar, Anitra C. Carr, and Margreet C. M. Vissers, The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health, 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866. DOI: 10.3390/nu9080866, PMID: 28805671

[3]Léa Trémezaygues and Jörg Reichrath,  Vitamin D analogs in the treatment of psoriasis, Dermatoendocrinol. 2011 Jul-Sep; 3(3): 180–186.,  DOI: 10.4161/derm.3.3.17534, PMID: 22110777

[4]Sunde, R.A. Selenium. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 11th ed.; Ross, A.C., Caballero, B., Cousins, R.J., Tucker, K.L., Ziegler, T.R., Eds.; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2012; pp. 225–237. [Google Scholar]  https://portlandpress.com/bioscirep/article-abstract/29/5/329/55648

 

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