Vitamin K, a vitamin that is essential to blood clotting, may also help your skin look younger. In newborn nurseries across the United States, infants routinely receive a dose of vitamin K to prevent possible hemorrhaging. Now dermatologists believe that vitamin K can also help aging and damaged skin look younger and healthier.
Reduces Severity of Bruising
Two studies strongly suggest that vitamin K cream helps skin heal faster after pulsed dye laser treatments, which are usually used to erase spider veins in the face. In a 2004 study conducted at the University of Miami Medical School, patients undergoing a laser procedure used cream containing vitamin K on one-half their face and a placebo on the other. Half the patients used the cream for two weeks before the treatment. The other half used it for two weeks after the treatment. In the post-operative group, the bruising on the vitamin K side of the face was less severe than on the placebo side. Patients in the pre-operative group showed no difference.
In 2009, researchers at the University of Colorado gave patients a gel containing vitamin K oxide to use on one side of their faces after laser surgery and a placebo to use on the other. Researchers used photographs to evaluate bruise resolution--how quickly the bruises faded--each day. The vitamin K side of the face consistently showed more improvement than the placebo side each day after the second day. The researchers concluded that topical application of vitamin K gel could help patients heal faster after facial laser surgery.
Improves Skin Elasticity
Doctors in the Netherlands believe they've found a link between vitamin K and skin elasticity. Researchers from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, were investigating the role of a vitamin K-dependent enzyme in the genetic disease pseudoxanthoma elasticum--PXE. People suffering from PXE have severe skin wrinkling on the face and body. The researchers found that a specific protein--Matrix-carboxyglutamic acid protein, usually called MGP--inhibits the calcification of skin tissues that lead to wrinkling in PXE. Vitamin K activates the protein. People whose bodies cannot metabolize vitamin K also show symptoms of PXE. While this study focused on people suffering from PXE, the researchers suggested that vitamin K may play a role in preserving elasticity in the skin of people without the disease as well.
Improves Dark Under-eye Circles
Vitamin K reduced dark under-eye circles in almost half the patients in a 2004 study conducted at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo. Researchers recruited 57 volunteers with dark circles and wrinkles under their eyes. Each volunteer used a gel containing 2 percent vitamin K along with small amounts of retinol and vitamins A and C. At the end of eight weeks, 27 participants showed reduction of dark circles. Some of them also showed a reduction in wrinkles.