Vitamins do not hold the key to the fountain of youth. But certain ones may play a role in helping prevent your skin from sagging, which happens when the collagen that supports skin structure starts to lose its elasticity. The vitamins you want to focus on for skin strength and health include vitamins A, C and E. Consult your doctor before adding dietary supplements to your routine.
Vitamin A for Sun Protection
It's not just any vitamin A that's good for sagging skin, but plant sources of the vitamin. Most specifically, beta carotene and lycopene, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. As antioxidants, these nutrients may help prevent damage to your skin, which can lead to sagging, by offering protection against ultraviolet light. Good sources of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, leafy greens and melons. Good sources of lycopene include tomatoes, red grapefruit and watermelons. Eating carrots can help you get both skin-protecting nutrients.
Vitamin C for Collagen Production
A study published in 2007 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women with higher intakes of vitamin C have younger-looking skin. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for collagen production. It's also an important antioxidant and may protect your skin in the same fashion as beta carotene and lycopene. Eating red and green peppers, oranges, broccoli, strawberries, kiwifruit, grapefruit, spinach and potatoes can help up your intake of vitamin C.
Vitamin E for Antioxidant Protection
Vitamin E is also an essential antioxidant that protects skin from UV light damage and may help play a role in preventing skin from sagging. Most Americans don't get enough vitamin E in their diet, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. To meet your needs for better skin, include foods such as almonds, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, spinach and broccoli in your diet.
B Vitamins for Healthy Skin
The B vitamins may not play a direct role in preventing skin from losing its elasticity and vigor, but they are important for overall skin health. These vitamins -- thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, biotin, folate and vitamins B-16 and B-12 -- are found in a variety of different foods, making it easy for you to meet your daily needs. Good choices include whole grains, vegetables, legumes, low-fat dairy foods and lean meats such as poultry and seafood.
- American Academy of Dermatology: Beauty From the Inside Out: Improving Your Diet or Taking Supplements May Lead to Younger-Looking Skin
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary Nutrient Intakes and Skin-aging Appearance Among Middle-Aged American Women
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Top 10 Foods Highest in Beta Carotene
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Top 10 Foods Highest in Lycopene
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
- Colorado State University Extension: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C