Topical or oral, that is the question to be decided. When it comes to skin care, is it best to apply our vitamins directly to the affected area, or is it better to ingest them?. On the one hand, our skin is an outward expression of what’s going on in our bodies, including aging. This being the case, we should take our vitamins orally; healthy body, healthy skin, right? However, do you ever wonder if the vitamins know where to go after they are consumed? Is there a vitamin whisperer in your body directing the vitamin E to your crows feet? Apparently not. Clinical Professor Mary Lupo says, “The body delivers only a certain percentage of vitamins to your skin no matter how much you ingest.” That means, if you want to confront the problem head on, you’re probably best with a topical approach. Here are topical nutrients to boost skin’s glow.
Vitamin A (the derivatives are known as retinoids) is probably the best remedy for wrinkles, roughness and brown spots. Commonly found in night creams, OTC lotions, and prescription products, vitamin A is one of the strongest proven anti-agers on the market. According to Doris Day MD, “There are more than 700 published studies on retinoids. They’re tried and true ingredients. Anyone who wants younger skin should use one.”
As for application, retinoids are best applied at night, as sunlight renders vitamin An inactive. Prescription retinoids work fastest, but tend to be irritating; OTC products are better for beginners. To avoid irritation, begin by using the vitamin A treatment sparingly every two or three nights, gradually building to nightly use.
If redness is an issue for you, its B-3 to the rescue. Often referred to as niacinamide on the labels of creams, lotions, and serums, B-3 known to increase skin’s fatty acid and ceramide production, strengthening the skin’s barrier. Leslie S. Baumann, MD, explains, “As that barrier is strengthened, skin is better able to keep moisture and irritants out if your complexion is dry or sensitive.” One study showed it to effectively reduce blushing and redness caused by rosacea.
B-3 can also minimize dark spots by inhibiting pigment transfer to skin cells. B3 can be applied morning and evening and can be used in conjunction with retinoids to reduce the retinoid irritation.
When it comes to skin health, vitamin C o gets superstar status. However, don’t expect top billing for vitamin C. C should be listed near the middle of the panel of ingredients to ensure the concentration of 5% or higher needed to make an impact on skin.
Vitamin C quenches free radicals that lead to wrinkling, and sagging, and helps to firm and smooth skin while fading dark spot. One study showed women who used a vitamin C cream on their sun damaged skin for six months saw a noticeable improvement in fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C is best applied in the morning right before sunscreen to protect from UV free radicals.
Because vitamin E is known for its ability to hydrate and boost skin’s UV defense, it is commonly found in sunscreens or sun related skin products. It’s recommended 1 % concentration will usually place it near the middle of the ingredients label. Vitamin E eases dryness by helping skin to maintain its natural moisture and it is known for its powerful ability as a neutralizer of free radicals. One study showed vitamin E was actually able to reduce the number of unstable molecules caused by cigarette smoke. Others showed skin treated with vitamin E before UV exposure was less swollen red and dry.
While vitamin E’s protection from sun exposure makes it ideal for application before and after the sun soak, it should be noted that a strong single blast of UV light can destroy half of the skin’s natural supply of the vitamin, and it is best to use a sunscreen with both E and C to ensure effectiveness.
Let us know what vitamins you’re delivering straight to the spot.We love to hear what your favorite topical nutrients are.