Originally published September 28, 2016 on the Denver Style Magazine Blog
There’s a lot of talk these days about vitamins in skin care. Everywhere you go, you are likely seeing a cocktail of alphabet letters on the package of your favorite beauty products. And with good reason! Vitamins are amazing ingredients, that can be used to treat and improve your skin. That said, with so many options out there, it can be a little overwhelming figuring out what you need and how to use it.
The good news, is you can’t really go wrong with vitamins in your routine. But just in case you need a little cheat sheet, here’s the scoop on these must-haves for your skin:
Vitamin A is one of the most popular ingredients in skin care. The potent anti-aging ingredient retinol, is just Vitamin A that has been converted to retinoic acid in the skin. You will see Vitamin A referred to by many names – Retin-A, Retinoids, Retinyl Palmitate and over-the-counter brand names like Renova, just to name a few. They vary in terms of formula and potency, but the idea behind all of these is essentially the same.
Retinol helps your skin to exfoliate, increasing cell turnover and repairing damaged cells so that the skin can perform more youthfully. This exfoliation can be good for a number of skin concerns including acne, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and sluggish skin associated with aging. It also helps increase collagen production and prevent photoaging.
Because the strength and formula varies greatly from product to product, it’s a good idea to only start with a very low dose of retinol or Vitamin A and work your way up. Some skin types may be sensitive to the exfoliation. You’ll want to be careful not to overdry or irritate your skin, and there can be a bit of an adjustment period when adding retinol to your skin care.
It is recommended that you use Vitamin A at night, as it can make the skin more sun sensitive.
Unlike Vitamin A, Vitamin B is a bit of an unsung hero in skin care. But Vitamin B is great for the skin. It often appears in skin care in the form of Vitamin B3, niacinamide or niacin. Similar to Vitamin A, Vitamin B is good for cell metabolism in the skin which aids in preventing fine lines and hyperpigmentation. It is also an anti-inflammatory, helping with conditions such as acne and rosacea.
In the form of niacinamide, Vitamin B is great for helping repair the skin’s barrier. Factors such as climate and environment can contribute to breaking down your skin’s natural protection, leaving you to feel dry and or sensitive. But niacinamide helps improve surface function, keeping harmful elements out and locking moisture into the skin. Doctors and dermatologists like Vitamin B because it is gentle and great for most skin types. It can even act as a brightening agent in the skin as it helps inhibit excess melanin production.
Possibly the most versatile and beneficial vitamin in skin care. Vitamin C is good for so many things, it’s hard to know where to begin. For starters, it is a powerhouse antioxidant. Unlike Vitamin A, you can use Vitamin C as part of your morning routine because it provides protection against UV radiation and free radicals which can damage and dull the skin.
Vitamin C is a natural skin brightener, helping to both prevent and reduce dark spots. It can also minimize redness by controlling inflammation. On the age-management side, Vitamin C fights wrinkles by stimulating collagen and improving skin elasticity – both of which decline as we get older.
When looking for C in you skin care, you’ll often see it listed as L-Ascorbic Acid, which is the only bio-available form of Vitamin C for the skin. Magnesium Ascorbyl is also commonly listed derivative.
Vitamin E is yet another wonderful vitamin, beneficial to most skin types. You can find Vitamin E in many moisturizing products as it is emollient and great for hydrating the skin. It softens the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Topically applied to the body, it can help prevent stretch marks and break down scar tissue. The soothing properties in Vitamin E also make it a good choice for treating sunburned or irritated skin.Vitamin E is fat soluble and a major antioxidant that protects the skin, while also healing existing damage.
You can find Vitamin E labeled as Tocopheryl Acetate or Tocotrienols and it can be used very effectively in combination with vitamins A and C to fight free radical damage. Since free radicals are a big culprit in aging the skin, E is definitely something you want in your arsenal.
So now you know your ABCs (and Es) when it comes to enriching your skin care. I highly recommend adding a few of these nourishing ingredients to your routine and I promise, your skin will thank you.