Taking care of your skin should be an essential part of your health regimen. It is, after all, your body's largest organ.
Walking through your local supermarket, you’ll find aisles dedicated to skin care and beauty, from wrinkle creams to hydrating lotions. The first thing most health professionals will tell you to do in order to keep your skin healthy is to limit your exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and wear protective sunscreen when you’re exposed to sunlight.
But the sun isn’t all bad. Just 10-15 minutes of daily exposure helps manufacture vitamin D throughout the skin. Vitamin D is one of the best vitamins for your skin, along with vitamins C, E, and K.
The most major benefit of vitamin D is related to calcium absorption, but its positive effects aren’t just limited to bone health. Vitamin D has been found to help treat psoriasis. Calcitriol is a man-made version of vitamin D3, which is the kind of vitamin D that humans produce. Calcitriol is a topical cream that has been effective in treating patients with cases of psoriasis. In a study, applying calcitriol reduced the amount of skin inflammation and irritation in patients with psoriasis and produced few adverse side effects.
There is no shortage of products on the market that claim to reduce the signs of aging on the skin. One of the key ingredients found in many of those products is vitamin C. Vitamin C aids in skin care because of two things: its antioxidant properties and its importance in collagen synthesis. Taking vitamin C orally can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens applied to your skin for protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. It does this by decreasing cell damage and helping the healing process of bodily wounds. It can also help fend off the signs of aging because of its vital role in the body's natural collagen synthesis. It helps to heal damaged skin and, in some cases, reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Like vitamin C, vitamin E's main function in skin care is to protect against sun damage. Vitamin E absorbs the harmful UV light from the sun when applied topically. Photoprotection refers to the body's ability to minimize the damage caused by UV rays. Topical products that contain both vitamin E and vitamin C have proven to be more effective in photoprotection than those that contain only one of the two. Vitamin E also helps in the treatment of skin inflammation.
Vitamin K can be found in many different topical creams for the skin, and can help treat a variety of skin conditions. Doctors frequently use creams that contain vitamin K on patients who have just undergone surgery. Vitamin K is essential in aiding the body's process of blood clotting, which helps the body heal the areas bruised during surgery. Topical creams with vitamin K can also help treat unsightly skin irritations, such as spider veins, stretch marks, scars, and dark circles under the eyes. However, research on vitamin K’s effects on the skin is more limited than that for vitamins E and C.
As vitamins are essential to your health and body functions, vitamin deficiencies can cause adverse effects on the skin. For example, a lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy. Since vitamins C and E play such important roles in protecting your skin from the sun, deficiencies in either vitamin can increase the risk of skin damage, including skin cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.
Vitamin supplements are easy to come by these days, so consult with your dermatologist or doctor to start a regimen for your health. Next time you walk down the skin care aisle at the store, take a look to see if these four helpful vitamins are ingredients of your favorite products.