Vitamins For Your Skin
We’ve all heard of retinols, vitamin C and probably most recently Vitamin B. But why should we be using these supposed miracle skin vitamins, and do they really work?
Vitamin A is most commonly used in the skincare industry as retinol – a high potency anti-aging potion promising to knock years off and promote soft, smooth baby skin. Vitamin A is a vital nutrient for our skin cells. As a fat-soluble vitamin, our newborn baby skin cells are created bursting with it, but sadly, as we age, and we lose the natural lipids in and skin, and the pollution and sun damage slowly breaks down those beautiful cell membranes, degrading that youthful cell health. Now we need to start restoring that A. Initially, vitamin A can often create sensitivity on the skin, as one of the roles of vitamin A in the skin is healthy cell turnover. This is why it is important to slowly introduce a lower concentration over a period of time. As your skin begins to use this vitamin A, your cell membranes start to heal and thicken up, which adversely, means your skin doesn’t absorb as much of this precious vitamin. This is why over time, we increase to nightly, and eventually increase the percentage of retinol in our products.
When used correctly, vitamin A will act as a carrier for other active ingredients, which is often why it’s seen paired with ingredients such as Tranexamic acid for pigment reduction. Due to its ability to encourage cell turnover, vitamin A will promote smoother, softer skin, as well as helping to improve skin texture and assisting in acne treatment. On top of encouraging new cells, it also reduces oil flow (which is why mature skin can sometimes feel a bit dry when they’re new to such topical treatments). To sum it up, I put all of my clients onto a vitamin A. It assists in just about every skin concern, and provided you use the correct dosage and formula, it is surprisingly well tolerated by all skins.
PCA offer a range of fantastic .5% retinols for those first starting out, with an option for acne prone or sensitive, as well as options for those more concerned with lines or pigmentation.
Vitamin B is the most common types of vitamin B seen in the skincare industry are Niacinamide (B3) Panthenol (B5) and Biotin (B7).
Niacinamide is one of my absolute favourite ingredients, and I use it both morning and night due to its ability to reduce pigmentation, heal cell trauma, improve skin barrier function, protect from environmental trauma, and reduce oil flow. It also has anti-inflammatory abilities making it a fantastic addition for any sufferers of acne, rosacea and dermatitis conditions. All this while boasting very few potential side effects- the worse being a little dryness if used in too high a concentration. This is due to its oil reducing abilities and will normalise as soon as the concertation or frequency of use is reduced. Some clients will report back an initial “niacin flush” which is a temporary reddening of the skin. This typically only lasts an hour or so, and people will build a tolerance fairly quickly.
Panthenol is a soothing humectant which pairs very well with Niacinamide. While the B3 is working hard to strengthen and maintain the skin’s barrier, B5 is working to pull and lock water in underneath that semi-permeable barrier, so anyone suffering from dehydration will benefit hugely from these two powerful B vitamins. B5 also acts as an emollient to soothe and repair the skin and accelerate wound healing, so it is often found in calming balms and is used to treat inflammatory conditions.
Biotin is the least likely to be recognized on this list, as it is more commonly used for haircare, however, B7 acts to maintain the health of mucous membranes (hello healthy lips!), as well as metabolizing lipids within the skin which is required for healthy skin barrier function and skin moisture. Biotin also assists in the production of keratin (which is why it’s so good for hair). The outermost layers of our skin are made up of keratinised cells, which serve as protection from the environment.
Cosmedix’s B Complex Boosting Powder contains niacinamide combined with Biotin- better suited for acne or aging, while Aspect Dr offers up their Multi B Plus serum with a combination of all three for a more sensitized skin.
Vitamin C comes in many forms, and not all are created equal. Different formulations will suit different skin types, but any form of stable vitamin C will act as antioxidant support and well as assist in brightening and collagen production. Because vitamin C is water soluble, it is most beneficial when applied daily, as it is not stored within the skin or body. Vitamin C plays a huge role in reducing redness and strengthening capillaries, making it beneficial for vascular conditions within the skin, as well as helping reduce dark circles in the fine skin under the eye. Because it assists in collagen production, it can be hugely beneficial for ageing skin as well as wound healing- it’s another of my top 3 products for the majority of skin concerns.
Societe cover all bases with their Triple C vitamin C Serum complete with peptides to brighten, soothe, repair and protect all skin types.
Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol is one that’s still not hugely well known in skincare but is hugely beneficial for a multitude of reasons. Most people are vitamin D deficient, which means our skin most certainly is. Vitamin D contributes to skin cell growth and repair, as well as act as another topical antioxidant. It also acts to normalize skin cell function and turnover and can be incredibly beneficial to those who suffer from psoriasis. Vitamin D acts more as something that shows in the form of a deficiency, rather than something which gives an immediate and obvious difference like c or b3. Vitamin D deficiency will appear as sluggish skin function, irritation, redness, flakiness or dryness- often those who suffer from eczema are deficient.
My favourite item for this is Societe’s D Complex- a super hydrating daily moisturiser loaded with D, as well as C, E and peptides.