We have all become aware that vitamins are necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies. In most cases, if we eat a balanced diet, we will be able to get most, if not all, of the vitamins we need for staying healthy. Our bodies require about 15 different vitamins in order to maintain health. Vitamins were only ‘discovered’ in the 18th and 19th Centuries, first when it was found that limes helped prevent scurvy on long sea voyages. Limes were first used in the British navy to prevent scurvy, which resulted in Englishmen being called ‘Limeys’.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are produced by animals or plants; many mammals can synthesize their own Vitamin C, for instance, whereas we have to get it from our food. The sun helps our skin make an inactive form of Vitamin D, which is then converted to an active form as it is metabolized. There are two basic kinds of vitamins: water-soluble vitamins that are used when dissolved in water, and fat-soluble vitamins that can only be broken down by fats. Water-soluble vitamins usually go through our bodies fast and have to be renewed every day while fat-soluble vitamins are stored in places like the liver and body fat. Keep in mind that because fat-soluble vitamins are not excreted quickly, taking too many could cause harm.
Vitamins for Your Skin
Vitamins not only have profound effects upon your internal organs but also on your biggest, most visible organ – your skin. Even if you are careful with planning your diet properly, it’s sometimes difficult to get enough vitamins to maintain health both internally and externally. Most of us take a vitamin supplement every day to make sure we are adequately nourished, and there are some vitamins that are essential to keeping your skin healthy and strong. Using these vitamins on the skin, usually as part of a cream, lotion, or gel can help to keep your skin looking good.
- Both your epidermis and your dermis use Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your epidermis by helping to heal the damage done to it. Wrinkles can be smoothed out to some extent by this vitamin, and the harmful effects of sunburn can be lessened. In the dermis, Vitamin C helps to make collagen which keeps your skin elastic and firm and helps to prevent sagging.
- Irritated and damaged skin needs Vitamin D to heal and prosper. This vitamin will be especially important if you are dealing with acne. Acne prone skin will improve by over 30% in many cases, and when Vitamin D is combined with a good anti-acne regimen to really make a difference in helping to control acne outbreaks. Vitamin D helps stimulate the production of collagen, as well, and is a good antioxidant.
- Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, helping to reduce the effects of aging. In addition, this vitamin also affords some protection against sun damage as it will absorb UV radiation. Vitamin E is one of the vitamins that we actually make in our own bodies; it is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sebum contains Vitamin E and helps to keep the skin soft and protected. Those with dry skin may have difficulty producing enough of this vitamin from sebum and should look for skin care products that contain it.
- When you have sunburn, rashes, acne, or other skin irritations, Vitamin K will help promote healing. Dark circles under the eyes are unattractive, but this vitamin can remove the worst of the under-eye darkness. Because Vitamin K also increases circulation, it will bring more nutrients to your skin layers.
- Vitamin B3 is sometimes overlooked in the list of essential vitamins for the skin, but it is one that you should always keep in mind, especially if you are suffering from any kind of skin irritation. This vitamin not only reduces redness, such as may occur from acne, but it also stimulates the formation of fatty acids and ceramides (waxy lipids), which help to form an outer layer of defence on your epidermis. B3 also minimizes the chance of developing unflattering age spots.
Using Vitamins Topically
In addition to taking your daily vitamin supplement, you can also keep your skin healthier and fresher by using vitamins direction on your skin. There are many products available that contain these vitamins, and a quick glance at the ingredients list will tell you which vitamins have been used to prepare the product. Moisturizers that contain vitamins are always a good way to maintain your skin’s health.
Besides purchasing products that already contain vitamins, you can increase the efficacy of your existing facial products by using vitamin capsules to add more of a particular vitamin. A few drops squeezed from a capsule into your favorite moisturizer will be sufficient. This is often a good way to make a relatively inexpensive moisturizer into a powerhouse.