The skin is the largest organ of the human body. The skin performs multiple functions. The skin as the first outer layer of the body prevents the entry of external agents into the organs and inner tissues. The skin also helps regulate body temperature. There are three layers of the skin, namely the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.
Best Vitamins For Your Skin
The best vitamins for the skin have been suggested by medical knowledge on the basis of the study of three layers of the skin. The components of healthy skin layers give the cue to how we might have healthy skin.
Vitamins are essential nutrients required in very small quantities by our bodies. Though required in minuscule amounts, their deficiency causes several diseases, including skin diseases.
Vitamins like Vitamin C, D, E, and K are required for maintaining skin health. Cosmetologists, with the help of special medical devices and microdevices, make directed and measured use of vitamins like vitamin C to cure skin diseases.
Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid
Who knew that vitamin C or Ascorbic acid or Ascorbate could be described as actually a carbohydrate of low molecular weight soluble in water? The skin has a large use of Vitamin C.
The epidermis layer of the skin comprises about five times higher vitamin content than the dermis. The content of vitamin C is not uniform in the epidermis but is graded.
The bad news is that the body cannot synthesize vitamin C on its own; the nutrient has to be obtained from external sources. Vitamin C is not stored in the body; being water-soluble excess vitamin C is passed out through urine.
The good news is that vitamin C is available plentifully in most plant foods. Foods rich in vitamin C are oranges, lemons, guava, mangoes, and a host of other sources.
Vitamin C performs the following functions for the skin:
- Antioxidant action provides protection against UV rays by keratinocyte differentiation and melanin synthesis control.
- In the dermis, vitamin C forms the collagen layer that acts as a skin barrier.
- Collagen helps counteract skin oxidation and modulates cell signal pathways for the growth and differentiation of cells.
Several skin diseases are known to be caused or triggered due to scarcity of vitamin C levels; these include:
- AT or Atopic dermatitis
- PCT or Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Malignant melanoma
- Herpes zoster
- Postherpetic neuralgia
Knowledge-based use of high doses of vitamin C has been known to stop the progress of cancers and cure several skin diseases.
When sunlight falls on the skin, cholesterol gets converted to Vitamin D. So our bodies are capable of synthesizing vitamin D from cholesterol with the help of sunlight. Cholesterol, in turn, can also be synthesized within the human body with the help of other nutrient molecules.
The vitamin D so formed is taken up by the liver and kidneys and thereafter transported throughout the body whenever there is a peripheral requirement. When new cells are required to be made, vitamin D is transported to the required body part. In the skin also vitamin D helps make new cells. Vitamin D is used in medical therapy to treat skin diseases like psoriasis.
Sun as a maker of Vitamin D, is nice to soak during winters. The morning summer sun does not feel too bad on the skin, but the ripe hot sun has loads of UV rays that hurt the skin. An adult human requires 600 IU of vitamin D per day; pregnant women and people above seventy years require more.
Plant food sources contain a D2 variety of vitamin D found in oranges, almonds, and mushrooms. Animal food sources like fatty fish, tuna, egg yolk, and dairy products are rich in vitamin D3, which is considered to be a superior variety of vitamin D compared to vitamin D2. However, it is known that the body is able to convert vitamin D2 into vitamin D3. Egg yolk does provide part of a daily needed supply of vitamin D, but egg yolk is rich in bad cholesterol.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties like vitamin C, and hence like vitamin C helps the skin protection from UV rays by absorbing the harmful rays. Thus adequate levels of vitamin C and E in the skin make people who have them better tolerant of UV rays.
The ability to protect skin from UV rays and its effects on the skin like dark spots and wrinkles is called the photo protection ability of the skin. The required daily amount of vitamin E is 15 mg per day.
Food sources rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and almonds. The body can produce vitamin E intrinsically from an oily substance secreted by skin pores called sebum. The presence of adequate sebum in the skin protects against dryness. When sebum protection is below requirement, a vitamin E supplement can help in removing skin dryness.
The main use of vitamin K made by the body is helping the blood to clot when the body gets wounded or bruised.
Vitamin K supplements are largely prescribed to heal surgical wounds. In the skin, vitamin K performs the function of healing stretch marks, spider veins, scars, dark spots, dark circles under the eye.
The body requires 90 to 120 ug of vitamin K per day. Food sources rich in vitamin K include green leafy vegetables and green vegetables like beans, spinach, kale, lettuce, and cabbage.