The conversation about skin care often revolves around expensive toners, creams and serums which promise to give you smooth, clear flawless skin. But skin is much more than an outer covering to be made visually appealing. More importantly, skin is the largest organ in your body and the first line of defense against toxins, radiation, and pathogens. With three layers and billions of cells, skin is a living structure which is constantly reacting to the environment and regenerating itself.
Since skin is such a complex and dynamic organ, skin health is best supported from the inside out. Certain vitamins and supplements have been shown to help skin in growth and regeneration. And when skin is growing properly, it will have a healthy, vibrant appearance that can’t be achieved with topical products alone. This list of the best vitamins for healthy skin will show you how to give your skin new life.
For general skin protection, zinc is a go-to mineral. The benefits of this element have been demonstrated by numerous studies in humans. Zinc has powerful antioxidant effects that work in all systems of the body. In the skin, zinc can alleviate skin disorders such as acne and rosacea by reducing inflammation. Zinc supplements have helped me to control my acne in the past. Laboratory studies suggest that zinc may also protect against UV radiation-induced injury, providing skin with an extra barrier against sunlight (1).
For general purposes, you should be getting enough zinc as part of a healthy diet. To treat skin conditions, though, you will want a zinc supplement such as this Garden of Life Raw Zinc Whole Food Supplement with Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a key essential nutrient found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. It is a normal component of skin, but levels decline with aging and exposure to UV rays and pollution. Vitamin C performs a great variety of functions in maintaining healthy skin. It has antioxidant properties which protect against damage from UV radiation. However, oral vitamin C does not provide sufficient protection against UV radiation, so don’t use it to replace your sunscreen!
Vitamin C also helps prevent wrinkles, both by protecting against oxidative damage and by regulating collagen production. Studies have found that people who have higher levels of vitamin C in their diets have better skin appearance and less wrinkling. In addition, vitamin C may prevent water loss from the skin and has been used to treat acne (2).
Vitamin C plays essential roles in multiple areas of skin health. It is fairly easy to get the recommended daily of vitamin C from diet alone since it is present in many common foods like oranges, tomatoes, and broccoli. If you are concerned about getting enough vitamin C, though, a NOW Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release supplement will effortlessly cover your daily intake.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance which is produced naturally in the human body, occurring in the greatest concentrations in the joints and eyes. It is important for retaining moisture in the skin, which helps it to stay healthy and firm. Hyaluronic acid has been used as a dermal filler, but it also can be taken orally to increase skin moisture and reduce aging effects.
A recent study has shown very positive results in the treatment of skin wrinkles with oral hyaluronic acid. The trial included sixty participants who had crow’s feet wrinkles at the start of treatment. After eight weeks, the participants taking hyaluronic acid showed significantly reduced wrinkles compared to the placebo group (3).
You very well might want to try this promising new supplement for your self, but first be forewarned that many hyaluronic acid supplements are derived from rooster combs! A good vegan option is NOW Double Strength Hyaluronic Acid, which is made in the United States through a fermentation process.
Ceramides are a group of lipids naturally found in the skin. They have water-retaining properties, helping the skin to stay full and hydrated. They also reduce harmful free radicals, prevent hyper pigmentation and help to keep skin elastic. Like many components of skin, however, ceramides decline during the aging process.
Thankfully, scientists have developed a phytoceramide extract which can increase ceramide levels when taken orally. The phytoceramide used in these supplements is derived from wheat, but contains only purified oils and is gluten-free. The effectiveness of phytoceramide supplements has been validated by several clinical trials. Oral phytoceramides have been shown to improve skin hydration as well as smoothness and suppleness (4). Based on the evidence, Phytoceramides are definitely worth trying if you suffer from dry skin, and they may also improve the appearance of healthy skin.
Collagen is a protein that is produced naturally in our skin, connective tissues, and organs. It makes up about 75% of the dry weight of skin, giving it a smooth, plump appearance and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. As we age, though, collagen is broken down in our bodies faster than it’s produced, leading to visible aging.
Many people are interested in replacing the natural collagen that is lost as they age. This has led to a rise in the popularity of collagen supplements, which purportedly decrease signs of aging in skin. These claims have been supported by a few studies, but the studies have mostly been small and methodologically flawed (5).
Besides, collagen supplements are derived from animals such as cows, pigs, chickens and fish, and taking tissues from animals to stave off wrinkles is just sad. A vegan alternative is Garden of Life Organic Plant Collagen Builder, which contains a combination of vitamins specifically selected to stimulate collagen production in your body.
Support your skin from the inside out.
Hopefully, this list of the best vitamins for healthy skin has demonstrated how you can achieve healthier, stronger skin by building it from the inside out. Before relying on supplements, be sure that you are practicing lifestyle habits that protect your skin. A whole-food plant based diet is a great place to start, since it provides all the antioxidants your skin needs to fight the stress of aging and environmental damage. Other healthy practices include avoiding UV radiation, wearing sunscreen when you go outside, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding cigarette smoke and other pollutants. By practicing these habits, you will be doing a lot to keep your skin healthy and minimize aging.
If you are already taking all these precautions, though, you may want to give your skin some extra support. Unavoidably, our bodies become more high-maintenance as we age, and that includes skin. No supplement can prevent aging entirely, but many of these supplements can help to maintain levels of the natural skin components that decline with time. Your skin works tirelessly to protect your body, so wouldn’t you like to give it some support?
If you have any questions or want to share how you keep your skin healthy, please leave a comment below!
- Rostan, E. F., Debuys, H. V., Madey, D. L., & Pinnell, S. R. (2002). Evidence supporting zinc as an important antioxidant for skin. International Journal of Dermatology, 41(9), 606-611. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.2002.01567.x
- Vitamin C and Skin Health. (2018, January 01). Retrieved from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
- Oe, M., Sakai, S., Yoshida, H., Okado, N., Kaneda, H., Masuda, Y., & Urushibata, O. (2017). Oral hyaluronan relieves wrinkles: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study over a 12-week period. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 10, 267–273. http://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S141845
- Phytoceramides. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2014/11/Phytoceramides-Skin-Rejuvenation-From-The-Inside-Out/Page-01
- Matthews, L. (2018, May 31). Do collagen supplements work? How do I choose one? Retrieved August 30, 2018, from https://www.mygenefood.com/do-collagen-supplements-work/