Vitamin Dictionary for Skin

You might be stocking up well on your Vitamins orally, but there are only so much of them that actually reach your skin to target specific concerns.

Your body uses up most of these Vitamins to keep you healthy, fighting off diseases and building up your immune system, which indirectly translates to better skin. But those pesky dark circles and that sagging skin need extra help and a direct dose of vitamins applied topically is what needs to get the job done.

Here are top 6 Vitamins for your skin with details on how each helps, which one is the best for your skin and product recommendations to get you started on the new regime immediately:

Vitamin A

Best known as the Anti-Ager, Vitamin A is usually found in over the counter beauty products in the form of retinol or retinyl palmitate. Prescription products usually have a stronger kind in the form of retinoid which works faster but has harsher side effects too.

In any of these forms, Vitamin A works to stimulate collagen and fibroblast production which in turns resurfaces skin cells, fades brown spots and softens fine lines and wrinkles, making you look youthful over time.

While the benefits sound amazing, retinol products should be used with caution. Overuse or badly formulated products can cause excessive thinning of the skin and the same can be drying or irritating, especially for drier or sensitive skin types.

Since retinols essentially act as exfoliants, shedding the outermost layer of skin, the products containing them as an ingredient make the skin sensitive to sun and should be used at night time or during day time, followed by SPF.

Products containing retinyl palmitate should be used in your 20s to prevent free radical damage and switching to retinol in your 30s.

Product Recommendations: PETER THOMAS ROTH – Retinol Fusion PM Power TrioPCA Skin – Retinol Treatment for Sensitive SkinStriVectin – Power Starters Advanced Retinol Trio

Vitamin B

There are a number of forms of Vitamin B, some good for hair, such as vitamin B7 (Biotin) and vitamin B5 (panthenol) and others for skin care, specifically, vitamin B3, also known as, Niacinamide.

Niacinamide is particularly good for reducing redness, increasing hydration by upping the levels of ceramide and free fatty acid and evening out skin tone by suppressing melanin from reaching the skin’s surface and protecting it from further sun damage.

Since the skin’s barrier usually weakens in late 30s and early 40s, vitamin B3 is usually found in anti-aging products. However, anyone suffering from rosacea, sensitive and dry skin can also find vitamin B3 products extremely beneficial.

If you are using vitamin A in the form of retinoid, try incorporating a vitamin B3 product into your skincare routine to balance out the side effects, such as irritation, and increasing the anti-aging powers of your regime.

Product Recommendations: Pixi – Glow Mist, Dermalogica – AGE Smart Daily Superfoliant, Glamglow – Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment

Vitamin C

Extremely popular in the beauty world, due to its brightening properties, vitamin C is ideal for getting rid of hyper-pigmentation and dark spots. Acting as a topical anti-oxidant, the ingredient also works to tighten skin by inhibiting free radicals that cause wrinkles and sagging.

While vitamin C is your ultimate solution for getting flawless, glowing skin, the ingredient itself is quite unstable and therefore, right formulation and packaging of the product is key for effectiveness.

Vitamin C occurs in a number of different forms, including as ascorbic acid. However, the non-acid formulas are said to be gentler and more stable as compared to acidic ones.

In any case, look for products that come in a dark/opaque container with an airless chamber pump to keep the air out of the bottle.

Products containing vitamin C as one of the main ingredients should usually be applied in the morning before sunscreen to enhance free radical damage protection from UV rays.

Product Recommendations: Pixi – Overnight Glow Serum, PETER THOMAS ROTH – Camu Camu Power C X 30 Vitamin C Brightening Serum, Philosophy – Turbo Booster C Powder a.m. Topical Vitamin C Powder

Vitamin D

While this particular Vitamin works to reduce redness and soothe irritation, the ingredient itself is quite hard to absorb topically.

This is why products containing Vitamin D are rare and hard to find. Some sunscreens and moisturizers do contain Vitamin D and if you have sensitive skin, prone to redness and irritation, these will be your best bet to soothe and calm your skin.

Product Recommendations: Trilipiderm – All-Body Moisture Retention Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 30 With Vitamin D, Trilipiderm – Protective Day Creme SPF 30

Vitamin E

Known for its moisturizing properties, vitamin E is ideal for thirsty, dry skin. The vitamin E occurs usually as tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate, and works as an anti-oxidant by reducing the formation of free radicals and strengthening the skin’s barrier. This in turn helps maintain the skin’s lipid balance and reduces the trans-epidermal water loss.

These anti-oxidant superstar qualities make vitamin E a common ingredient in sunscreens to protect, after-sun products to repair and moisturizers to get rid scars and stretch marks. However, if the vitamin occurs as tocopherol at the end of the ingredients list, chances are it is only being used as a preservative in the product and not as an active ingredient.

Depending on what product you are using, vitamin E products can be used during the day and during the night too.

Product Recommendations: BABOR – Special Edition Ampoule Concentrates FP Vitamin, Dermalogica – AGE Smart Multivitamin Power Serum, iS CLINICAL – Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

Vitamin K

While it’s not proven absolutely, some research shows that applying vitamin K topically in forms of eye cream help reduce dark circles.

Dark circles are caused by a number of reasons including broken capillaries under the eyes. Since vitamin K helps clot blood, it is claimed that applying it topically in the form of an eye cream can help stop the blood leakage in these capillaries and thereby, lighten dark circles. Eye creams often also contain retinol, which helps thicken under eye skin – so the efficacy of vitamin K alone on its own is yet to be proven.

In any case, two super ingredients working to better your skin is always better than one, so look for eye creams with vitamin K in them and apply around your eyes by patting lightly, using your ring finger.

Product Recommendations: PETER THOMAS ROTH – Power K Eye RescueCANE+AUSTIN – Corrective Treatment Eye CreamiS CLINICAL – Youth Eye Complex