[By Jessica Hall]
Research shows that certain nutrients are essential for preventing and reversing many signs of skin aging. A well-balanced diet is important,, that’s why consuming a variety of healthy foods helps keep skin supple and glowing. But the fact is, the body delivers only a certain percentage of vitamins to your skin, no matter how much you ingest. Plus, there’s no way to send them straight to your crow’s feet or brown spots. So it makes sense to apply some of these vital vitamins directly to your skin. Here’s the shortlist of the most vital vitamins that will make a difference to your complexion.
Read more: Skin Vitamins uncovered Click here
Best overall age-fighter
Proven to: Reduce wrinkles, fade brown spots, and smooth roughness. “There are more than 700 published studies on Vitamin A, also known as retinoids—they’re tried-and-true ingredients. Anyone who wants younger-looking skin should use one, according to dermatologists.
How to use: Apply your retinoid at night—sunlight inactivates most forms of vitamin A. Prescription retinoids work fastest, within four to eight weeks. The downside: They’re irritating, causing redness, scaling, and flaking that can last for weeks or longer. OTC products are best for beginners; you’ll experience fewer skin care side effects because the retinol they contain is slowly converted to retinoic acid, the active ingredient in prescription creams. To avoid irritation, apply an OTC or prescription retinoid every second or third night, at least for the first two weeks, and build up to nightly use. Apply sparingly; a pea-size amount is enough to cover your entire face.
Boosts hydration to reduce redness
Proven to: Increase production of ceramides and fatty acids, two key components of your skin’s outer protective barrier. “As that barrier is strengthened, skin is better able to keep moisture in and irritants out—making B3 a great ingredient if your complexion is dry or sensitive. In one study, a moisturizer with niacinamide improved the flushing and blushing of rosacea, a common condition that can worsen with age. Another B3 skin care benefit: It inhibits the transfer of pigment to skin cells, minimizing dark spots.
How to use: For maximum results, apply B3 vitamins in the morning and evening. To reduce irritation from your retinoid, use it in conjunction with niacinamide. Besides decreasing side effects, the combo produces superior anti-aging benefits.
All-around skin brightener
Proven to: Mop up the free radicals that trigger wrinkling, sagging, and other aging changes. Vitamin C also helps smooth and firm skin and fade brown spots. In one study, women who treated sun-damaged skin with a C cream for six months saw significant improvement in fine lines and discoloration. Though the benefits of retinoids (see vitamin A) and vitamin C sound similar, using both delivers more complexion perfection. Tip: Look for C near the middle of the ingredients panel to help ensure the 5% or higher concentration needed to see skin care benefits.
How to use: Apply vitamin C in the morning before sunscreen to shield your skin from any UV-generated free radicals that get by your sunblock.
Proven to: Also known as the “sunshine vitamin’, we already know that skin is a crucial catalyst and gateway for vitamin D to get to where it needs to in the body. Vitamin D is primarily synthesized in skin exposed to UV light, if not obtained by diet or supplements. And since over time, the skin’s ability to create vitamin D decreases (up to 75 percent from the age of 20 to 70) you’ll eventually have to pop more vitamin D supplements to reach standard levels than when you were younger. But does D play a much more superficial role? Having sufficient vitamin D in the skin helps minimize acne, boost elasticity, stimulate collagen production, enhance radiance, and lessen lines and the appearance of dark spots.
Find it in: Your skin can make Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but for those of you surviving a long winter, consider getting it from your diet or from a supplement. Vitamin D is only in a few foods and often in ver/y small amounts. Foods that provide vitamin D include: Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks.
Eases dryness and bolsters skin’s UV defense
Proven to: Quell dryness by helping skin retain its natural moisturizers. Also, vitamin E’s potent ability to neutralize damaging free radicals has earned it the moniker “the protector.” A slew of skin care studies document its superstar status. In one, E significantly reduced the number of these unstable molecules created after exposure to cigarette smoke. Others show that when it’s used before UV exposure, skin is less red, swollen, and dry.
How to use: Apply before and after serious sun exposure. A single strong blast of UV light can destroy half the skin’s natural supply of E, so shore up defenses by slathering on a sunscreen supplemented with E and C before going into the sun—the C helps ensure effectiveness. Some studies show that the anti-inflammatory action kicks in to reduce damage even after you’ve been in the sun. Tip: The best anti-aging products contain at least 1% vitamin E, so it will be listed near the middle of the ingredients panel.
For younger, brighter eyes
Proven to: Possibly help lighten under-eye circles. Fragile capillaries that allow blood to leak into skin are considered one cause of under-eye circles, and vitamin K (aka phytonadione) may put the skids on this seepage by controlling blood clotting. Daily use of a K cream significantly lightened circles after 4 months in one study, but because the cream also contained retinol, researchers aren’t sure which ingredient deserves credit for the improvement—retinol alone thickens the translucent under-eye skin (making it harder to see the dark blood vessels below) and lightens melanin that makes circles more prominent. Still, it can’t hurt to try a cream that contains vitamin K and retinol, the retinol may enhance K’s ability to penetrate skin and knock out darkness.
How to use: Apply nightly. First allow skin to become acclimated to the retinol—use once or twice the first week, and add a night every week after.
Read more: 5 Good Eating Habits You Must Adopt Now Click here
* Selected as Editor’s Choice Nov 2013*