Skin is nourished by what we eat and drink. To keep our skin looking healthy, there are some essential vitamins our bodies need. Whether it’s for healthy cell generation or protection from damage or repair to the skin, vitamins are the secret ingredient to healthy, glowing skin. Vitamins C, E, D, K, and B-Complex are the superstars when it comes to skin health.

Vitamins C and E

It would be hard to overstate how helpful Vitamin C is in skin health. Vitamin C is key in your skin’s natural ability to defend itself against the sun. It helps protect against free-radicals, and assists in repairing cell damage after sun exposure. And Vitamin C in combination with Vitamin E has been shown to increase Minimal Erythema Dose (MED), our skin’s version of UV-protection.

But Vitamin C doesn’t stop there. One of the reasons sun damages our skin is because it can change the structure of our skin. Vitamin C regulates the synthesis of structural protein collagen, helping keep our skin looking healthy even after time spent in the sun. Plus, Vitamin C and E intake has been associated with fewer wrinkles as we age and can even visibly reduce the roughness of skin.

As if that wasn’t enough, Vitamin C is associated with wound healing and moisture retention in our skin. Vitamin C really is a bit of a wonder vitamin for skin’s healthy glow. Make sure you’re gobbling up those citrus fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C like bell peppers and broccoli. Vitamin E is in foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, and asparagus. Because it can be a challenge to get all you need, you can take a vitamin supplement to make sure your skin is getting all it needs.

B-Complex

For healthy, glowing skin, the last vitamin you want to miss out on is B-Complex. Vitamin B-Complex is an MVP vitamin for skin. The most significant B vitamin is biotin which is a foundational nutrient for skin, hair, and nails.  Without it, you might suffer from dermatitis or even hair loss. B-Complex has also got a role to play in the hydration and even tone of skin. B Vitamin niacin helps your skin cells hold on to moisture, preventing dry skin. Plus it has anti-inflammatory properties that will soothe and reduce irritation in skin. In high concentrations, topical applications of niacin have even been shown to reduce blotchiness in skin.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to find B vitamins in your diet. Biotin is found in cauliflower, eggs, peanuts, liver, and chicken. Niacin comes in meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, and whole grain bread. Be careful when preparing foods with B vitamins in them; B vitamins are water soluble and prolonged cooking or exposure to alcohol can destroy them.  

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the sunlight vitamin. When our skin absorbs sunlight, cholesterol is converted to Vitamin D. This is taken up by the liver and kidneys and distributed around the body for healthy cells. But Vitamin D isn’t just created through the skin: it contributes to the healthy creation of new skin cells. Vitamin D helps in the lower layers of skin generate new cells and refresh the upper layers, giving that new skin glow. It also helps with cell differentiation, which is really exciting, because it means that Vitamin D may be very important in skin health.

Vitamin D is not in many foods naturally. It does occur in fish like salmon, tuna, and cod, and in fortified foods like some milks, but it is difficult to get enough from diet alone.  It is recommended that you spend a limited amount of time out in the sun to help your body produce Vitamin D.  How long this is will vary based on several factors, including the time of year and sun conditions.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is the vitamin that is responsible for helping blood clot. So what does it do for your skin? It turns out that Vitamin K can reduce dark circles around eyes as well as healing bruises when applied topically. When paired up with Vitamin A, it becomes even more effective and reduced wrinkles, too. Vitamin K is also thought to help with stretch marks, spider veins, and scars. More good news is that Vitamin K deficiency is rare; it is readily available in the diet through foods like kale, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, and green beans, and some fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir.

A healthy, balanced diet with limited natural sun exposure is the best way to provide your body with the vitamins for skin health. If you are worried about getting enough, chat with your doctor about supplementing your diet with a good daily vitamin supplement to ensure you keep getting what you need for that healthy, glowing look.