1. Your cycle
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Skincare

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

Vitamins for Skin: Your Ultimate Guidance

Taking good care of your skin is a vital part of any healthcare routine. Making sure that you get plenty of vitamins may help you maintain the appearance of youthful and healthy skin. Read on to learn all about the best vitamins for skin and how they work. 

The two superficial layers of the skin are the epidermis (outer layer) and the dermis (underneath the epidermis), and each of these layers performs a unique function. Since the epidermis is the outermost layer, it encounters external environmental factors such as pathogens and UV rays; hence, its primary function is that of a barrier. The dermis is located beneath the epidermis, and it contains the connective tissues, blood vessels, nerves, and hair follicles. All of these structures help provide a structural foundation to the skin and also perform vital biological functions.

When it comes to your skin, vitamins are essential for maintaining skin health and regulating its barrier function. Certain nutrient deficiencies may alter the biological and structural function of the skin and cause skin abnormalities such as dry skin, loss of skin thickness, and aging.

Vitamin deficiencies may also lead to skin diseases and abnormalities such as pellagra and scurvy, which may get better with appropriate topical and/or oral skin supplements (vitamins).

The following are the best vitamins for skin — they may help improve the health of your skin.

Vitamin D is one of the vitamins for healthy skin. It is usually produced in the body when your skin absorbs sunlight and synthesizes vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body create healthy skin cells and maintain skin tone. It enhances the immunity of the skin through various mechanisms. It also helps inhibit the growth of cells that produce keratin (keratinocytes). Vitamin D may help in treating skin diseases associated with abnormal growth of keratinocytes such as psoriasis.

Vitamin D helps the body create healthy skin cells and maintain skin tone.It also helps inhibit the growth of cells that produce keratin.

According to the recommendations by the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health, the average daily level of vitamin D intake should be 600 international units (IU). For people over 70, the recommended intake may be up to 800 IU.

You may increase your intake of vitamin D by:

  • Getting sun exposure — how much exposure to sunlight a person needs to maintain an optimal level of vitamin D in the body depends on the geographical latitude, weather conditions, time of day, application of sunscreen, age, and skin type. It’s important to mention, though, that excessive exposure to solar radiation is associated with the development of various skin conditions, including cancer. 
  • Eating foods fortified with the vitamin such as orange juice, yogurt, and breakfast cereals can help supplement your vitamin D levels.
  • Eating foods rich in vitamin D such as tuna, salmon, cod liver oil (one of the most popular supplements for skin), sardines, herring, oysters, shrimp, and mushrooms is another way to get vitamin D.

Another one of the best vitamins for skin health is vitamin C, which is present in high levels in both the epidermis and the dermis. Due to its powerful antioxidant properties, it suppresses the production of damaging free radicals triggered by exposure to UV rays, protecting the skin cells from damage due to oxidative stress. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays may cause the occurrence of skin cancer and premature aging.

The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is up to 120 milligrams, but how much a person needs depends on age, pregnancy and lactation status.

Additionally, vitamin C helps the healing of wounds and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the synthesis of collagen. Adequate intake of vitamin C also helps in repairing and preventing dry skin. A deficiency of vitamin C leads to a disease known as scurvy. Symptoms include thickening of superficial skin and delayed wound healing.

The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is up to 120 milligrams, but how much a person needs depends on age, pregnancy and lactation status. If you find that your diet doesn’t contain enough vitamin C, you can increase the intake of this vitamin for skin by:

  • Eating more foods that contain a high amount of vitamin C such as chili peppers, guavas, sweet yellow peppers, black currants, thyme, parsley, mustard spinach, kale, kiwis, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lemons, lychees, papayas, strawberries, and oranges
  • Taking supplements (vitamin C) after discussing with your doctor
  • Using skincare products containing vitamin C to treat age spots, wrinkles, dryness, and redness.

What vitamins are good for the skin? In addition to vitamins C and D, another vitamin that’s good for your skin is vitamin E, which also has antioxidant properties. It works by protecting against the damaging UV rays of the sun. It does so by absorbing the harmful rays of the sun when it is applied to your skin; thereby, preventing the occurrence of wrinkles and dark spots. Vitamin E also suppresses the breakdown of collagen and helps in treating inflammation of the skin.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin E is approximately 15 milligrams.

Though many topical products contain vitamin E, their effects are reduced upon exposure to the sun. Hence you should get enough of this vitamin from your diet. The recommended daily intake of vitamin E is approximately 15 milligrams. 

You may increase your intake of vitamin E by:

  • Eating foods rich in vitamin E such as sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, Grapeseed oil, safflower oil, avocados, spinach, Swiss chard, butternut squash, beet greens, and trout
  • Taking vitamin E or multivitamin supplements for the skin after discussing it with your doctor
  • Using skin products that contain both vitamin C and E

Vitamin A, along with its derivatives, such as carotenoids and retinoids, help maintain the health of the skin. Vitamin A also helps keep the skin moist and young. Carotenoids are a type of vitamin A that has potent antioxidant properties, and retinoids are skin vitamins that have excellent potential in the treatment and prevention of skin diseases including skin cancer, acne, psoriasis, and ichthyosis.

Retinoids help in exfoliating lifeless and dull skin, fighting acne, and slowing the signs and symptoms of premature aging.

What does vitamin A do for your skin? Retinoids increase skin cell turnover rate; thereby, improving the tone and texture of the skin. They also help in exfoliating lifeless and dull skin, fighting acne, and slowing the signs and symptoms of premature aging. Tretinoin is a type of retinoid that is widely used for treating wrinkles

The recommended daily intake of vitamin A in women over the age of 14 is 700 micrograms (mcg) and may be higher during pregnancy and lactation.

Retinoids are found mostly in animal sources including:

  • Organ meats; for instance, liver
  • Fatty fish; for instance, salmon, herring, and different kinds of fish oil
  • Milk, cheese, and butter
  • Eggs

Carotenoid is present in plant and vegetable sources of food including:

  • Carrots, squash, pumpkin, and other vegetables that are orange in color
  • Orange-colored fruits; for instance, papayas, mangoes, and cantaloupes
  • Zucchini
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli, turnip greens, spinach, and other leafy, green veggies

Several of the B-complex vitamins are also helpful in improving skin health. They may help your body produce new, healthy skin cells when you apply them to the skin directly. Folic acid and niacinamide (vitamin B3) may help reduce the signs of premature skin aging. 

Several of the B-complex vitamins may help your body produce new, healthy skin cells when you apply them to the skin directly.

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) may help improve skin aging and acne. Some of the dietary sources rich in B-complex vitamins are meat, nuts, eggs, seeds, and seafood. You can also take a B-complex vitamin supplement for skin health maintenance.

Vitamins are vital to maintaining the health of your skin, but you may not get enough vitamins for skin health through your diet. You may find you need to take vitamin supplements for skin after discussing them with your doctor. Only take the amount and type of vitamins they recommend to prevent an overdose.

For your best skin, vitamins and minerals, including copper, selenium, and zinc, all play a vital role in keeping your skin healthy. Various other nutrients, such as amino acids (glutamine, arginine, proline, and ornithine) and lipids (fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramide), also have a significant role to play in maintaining optimum functioning and health of the skin.

Vitamins play a vital role in maintaining the health of your skin. You should eat a nutrient-dense and varied diet to meet the recommended daily allowance for vitamins for the skin. You may also take vitamin supplements under the guidance of a physician.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428712/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29672394

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28994020

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6409152/


Read this next