It's reasonable to view the skin you wear as a window to your nutritional health. If you're plagued by dry, itchy skin or have ugly red blotches that you can't seem to get rid of, there may be vitamin and mineral supplements that will help your skin regain its health and natural glow.
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Important for Skin Health
A lack of certain nutrients can cause your skin to dry out or show other early signs of problems usually associated with dryness. When you're exposed to sun rays, cigarette smoke or other toxins in the air, these may siphon collagen and elastin from your skin, causing dryness and sensitivity.
If you have dry skin, you'll want to check with your doctor before experimenting with supplements, either orally or topically, because there may be a problem that's best treated by a medically prescribed product. When it comes to eczema, for example, there's only limited evidence that supplements are effective.
Skin Creams With Vitamins
Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It rebuilds damaged tissue and reverses scaly, dry skin. Topical preparations of vitamin A are better than oral supplements to moisturize the skin. These are often known as retinoids, and you can get such treatments over the counter or by prescription.
Vitamin K, like vitamin A, is best used topically when you're trying to improve the look and health of your skin. Vitamin K creams help ease the look of bruises and dark circles beneath your eyes. Vitamin E can also be used in skin-cream form.
Read more: Vitamin E Skin Cream Benefits
Taking Vitamins for Dry Skin
B vitamins, including riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin B6, play an important role in skin health. B vitamins assist in hydrating the skin, reducing inflammation and improving circulation. Better circulation will help your skin look and feel healthier.
Vitamins A and E may may help to prevent rough, scaly skin patches. If you have these chronically dry, itchy patches on your skin, it may be because you aren't getting enough vitamins A and E in your diet.
Vitamin E is fat soluble, so if you take supplements, it will store in your body and provide your skin with antioxidant protection. Vitamin E helps with free radical damage in the skin and may help with suppressing collagen breakdown.
Because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it helps to neutralize free radicals, stimulate production of collagen and reduce sun damage. As a water-soluble vitamin, it isn't stored in the body, so you need to make sure vitamin C is a regular part of your nutritional regimen, whether through diet or supplements. Citrus, broccoli, tomatoes and red peppers are good sources of vitamin C.
Other Supplements for Dry Skin
Adding some supplements to your diet can also help with dry skin. Fish oil for dry skin may help reduce itching and dryness.
Read more: Pros and Cons of Fish Oil Supplements
Probiotics can help in a roundabout way. They may help keep your gut healthy, which will, in turn, help your immune system stay healthy, possibly giving it the tools it needs to fight off colds and flu. Sneezing and runny noses dry out the face, making you feel worse than you already do.
Zinc, copper and selenium have also been shown to play a role in maintaining skin health. Supplementation should be done with care, however, and is best done under the guidance of a medical doctor.
If you consume omega-3 fatty acids, these will help lubricate the body and the cells. Collagen, which may help the skin stay smooth, can be taken as a supplement.
- Consumer Reports: The Truth About Hair, Skin and Nail Supplements
- Dermatology Practical and Conceptual: Diet and Eczema: A Review of Dietary Supplements for the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis
- National Institutes of Health: Riboflavin
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin B6
- Biomolecules and Therapeutics: Role of Micronutrients in Skin Health and Function
- Journal of Dermatological Science: Oral Supplementation With Fish Oil Reduces Dryness and Pruritus in the Acetone-Induced Dry Skin Rat Model
- WebMD: Collagen: "Fountain of Youth" or Edible Hoax?
- Women's Health: Five Vitamins That Will Give You Glowing Skin All Year Long
- Forbes: Why Probiotic Beauty Products Are Great for Your Skin
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.