The True Beauty Vitamin? by Deb Chase

Vitamin pillsLast week I received a simple question that did not have a simple answer– what  is the most important vitamin for my skin, the true beauty vitamin?   Just about every nutrient has been promoted for skin  health, but three  keep making the list:

1. Vitamin E-

Vitamin E is a  powerful anti-oxidant found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables.  Studies have shown that  it can block free radicals and  ( in theory) reverse signs of aging.    There are also  suggetions that vitamin E   can reduce scar formation. But  sad to say the impact and benefit of  vitamin E  has  been somewhat oversold. Vitamin E creams and cleansers  have been shown to  actually provoke breakouts in oily or acne prone skin.  And as for help in scar reduction, numerous researchers report  it just doesn’t happen.  In fact one study showed that not only did  Vitamin E fail to help scars, 30% of patients developed an itchy red rash.  This type  of irritant reaction has  been noticed  with other vitamin E rich skin care products.

2. Vitamin A-

This seems like a no-brainer.  Retin A , that super powerful skin care ingredient is derived from vitamin A and this supplement should  be the true skin care care rock star.  Not so fast.

Vitamin A is found in fish, greens, carrots and yellow squash. In the body, vitamin A helps normalize skin turnover and lack of vitamin A is linked to seriously dry, flaky skin.  If you eat a healthy, well balanced  diet and stay away from vitamin-poor fast foods you will meet  recommended daily requirement.  Yeah, right.  Because it can be genuinely challenging to get what you need IRL, vitamin A ( and D) has been routinely added to milk, flour and butter since the 1930’s.

In skin care products, issues are rather complex. Effective products use Retin A in the form of a retinol- a baby version of the prescription only Retin A. Some like Retinol 1.% from Skinceuticals have enough retinol to be effective, but others may contain  just trace amounts.  Just plain vitamin  A in personal care products will not take you where you want to go.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C in food and supplements is certainly essential to healthy skin. It is found naturally in oranges, leafy greens and berries. Our bodies   cannot store  vitamin  C and you need a fresh supply every day.

The NHANES study compared  the diet of 17,000 Americans  with the risk of common health  problems  including diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer.  The good news  for beauty junkies like us, they also  tracked   diets against signs of skin aging.   After ten years the NHANES found that people who had diets  high in vitamin C had fewer lines and wrinkles.

These are not really surprising results.   Vitamin C is known for collgen formation– the same collagen that is essential for smooth  firm skin.  This is the same collagen that when old and weak is a  major cause of lines and wrinkles. In foods, supplements and in properly  formulated  treatment products  ( eg CF Ferulic from Skinceuticals), vitamin C  is a valuable  anti-oxidant, skin brightener and  of natural collagen protector.

To get back to the original question, I think the case can be made that Vitamin C is the true beauty vitamin.  It is widely available in food, supplements and treatment products.  You can also  whip up an amazing vitamin C serum at home with  just three ingredients that costs less than $10. I will soon be posting a slide show  showing  how to do  just that.



One thought on “The True Beauty Vitamin? by Deb Chase

  1. I think it’s important to not just focus on one vitamin but really try to eat a balanced diet that gets you enough of all these important vitamins and minerals. I’m pretty sure I get enough vitamin C from all the fruit I eat, and I think and hope I’m good on A and E too with all the veggies I eat.

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