If you want healthy skin — and who doesn't — you want to ensure you get the right combination of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. With so many out there, how do you know what specific vitamins promote skin health?
Whether you have adult acne, wrinkles, dry skin, slow-healing wounds, or other skin concerns, nature makes it easy for you. Hundreds of plants contain vitamins that boost skin health, keeping your skin moisturized, elastic, and having a smooth complexion.
Vitamins are vital for healthy skin and its function. With the right ones, we can stave off nearly every aspect of unhealthy skin getting in our way.
What Causes Unhealthy Skin?
Even if you’ve got a comprehensive skincare routine — exfoliate, wash, moisturize, repeat — if you’re not getting the right nutrients or you’re stripping away the ones you do have, you may end up with unhealthy skin.
If your skin is blotchy, has an uneven texture, has dark spots or acne, is dry and flaky, looks wrinkled, is tight or feels uncomfortable, you likely have unhealthy skin. Chapped lips are a telltale sign that your skin is dry.
Many things can wreak havoc on your skin:
- Excessive alcohol
- Picking at your skin
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Consuming too much sugar
The best path to get healthy skin is preventing unhealthy skin! Eat healthy, exercise, and stay away from things that keep your skin from looking its best. If you’re eating junk food — including sugar and processed foods — you’re probably going to have skin issues.
Stress also depletes vitamin levels — and that affects your skin. When you’re stressed or your vitamin levels are low, it can lead to acne breakouts. Your body heals as you sleep, including your skin. So give your skin enough zzz’s to do its magic.
Best Vitamins for Skin
The combination of stress and lower vitamin levels increases oxidative stress, leading to skin damage. Many vitamins and minerals have antioxidant properties that protect the skin from free radical damage (which leads to premature aging). Ensuring you get adequate levels of these vitamins can make a big difference.
We’ve compiled a list of the best vitamins for your skin. Whether they improve collagen elasticity, reduce the appearance of acne, or give you glowing skin, these are the best of the best.
Vitamin E is actually a group of eight fat-soluble compounds — four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Most dietary supplements only contain alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, which means it counteracts damage caused by free radicals inside the body and on your skin.[1, 2]
If you stay out in the sun too long, this vitamin can help counteract its effects, like dried-out skin and blemishes. Vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory properties. Interestingly, people who have acne tend to be low in it.
You can take vitamin E internally or you can use it directly on your skin. Many people like to get capsules of the oil, poke it with a pin, and squeeze it onto their face as a moisturizer. Choose an organic, plant-based vitamin E supplement. If spreading oil on your face doesn’t appeal to you, take it internally.
Sun exposure generates free radicals on the skin, which contribute to premature aging. If you want to slow down the signs of aging, vitamin C helps with its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It works best when taken with vitamin E.
Putting vitamin C serum directly onto your face is great for collagen production. The topical version comes in a dropper bottle for easy application, but you can also take vitamin C internally as a dietary supplement.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. People are unable to produce vitamin C on their own, so you have to get it from foods or supplements. You’ll get the highest amount of vitamin C from citrus fruit, bell peppers, and broccoli.
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Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you’ve spent too much time in the sun, omega-3s can help. While not a vitamin per se, omega-3s are important nutrients that protect against photo-aging and sunburn effects on the skin. That means less dry or damaged skin. Omega-3s can also help eye health, boosting tear production and keeping eyes moisturized.
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Of the three omega-3 fatty acids, only ALA has an established recommended daily allowance: 1.6 g for men and 1.1 g for women. While you can find ALA in flaxseed oil and olive oil, you can only find both EPA and DHA in algae oil.
Try eating olives, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. You can also get omega 3s from hemp oil, sea buckthorn oil, and algae oil. We recommend avoiding fish oil due to the high incidence of mercury and other oceanic contaminants.
Also called "the sunshine vitamin" because your skin produces it when exposed to the sun, vitamin D supports healthy, glowing skin. Interestingly, similar to vitamin C and E, when you're low in vitamin D, you may be more likely to get pimples. Some people use vitamin D serum on their skin for this reason.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 15 mcg for men and women. It can be challenging to get vitamin D from food. It most commonly comes from being out in the sun. Global Healing’s certified organic Global Healing's Vitamin D3 not only encourages glowing skin but also supports immunity and the nervous system.
Vitamin K is a skin-healing powerhouse. The delicate area under your eyes is prone to dehydration, which can bring dark circles, wrinkles, and fine lines. Applying vitamin K on the skin may help with these issues.
Interestingly, when people with bruising on their faces applied vitamin K topically, it improved the appearance of their skin within a couple of days. This versatile vitamin may even speed up the wound-healing process.
Make sure you get 90 mcg of vitamin K per day if you are a woman and 120 mcg if you are a man. Leafy greens, broccoli, parsley, and cruciferous vegetables contain the highest concentration of vitamin K.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 or niacin (which converts into niacinamide) can even out your skin tone and help you avoid excessive wrinkles and fine lines that come with age.
Applied on the skin, B3 makes your skin more elastic and even out skin tone, including red blotchiness, skin sallowness (yellowing), and hyperpigmentation.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B3 is 14 mg for women and 16 mg for men. Plant-based sources of vitamin B3 include nutritional yeast, brown and wild rice, corn, and acorn squash.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
If you want to make sure you’re getting enough, Global Healing’s Biotin is plant-based and extracted from organic Sesbania herb. This ensures that all the cofactors and co-nutrients found in nature are present in your supplement.
The recommended daily allowance of biotin is 30 mcg for men and women. Biotin is mainly found in animal sources, so I recommend a supplement.
Tips & Tricks for Healthier Skin
There’s plenty you can do to improve the appearance of your skin. Check out these tried and true practices.
Eat a Plant-Based Diet
Boost your intake of whole, natural foods, particularly fresh raw fruits and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds. You’ll get some of those essential vitamins for your skin and also start feeling more energy. Eliminate or cut down on sugar, meat, dairy, and processed foods, and say goodbye to tobacco and alcohol. The havoc they wreak on your skin just isn’t worth it.
Get Your Sweat On
Sweat naturally detoxifies your skin. So hop in the sauna, get in a tough workout at the gym, or go to a hot yoga class. Once all the toxins hit the road, you’ll be left with younger-looking skin that people will envy. Make sure to wash your skin right after your workout!
Go All Natural
Choose natural skincare products, because standard beauty creams and washes contain toxic chemicals that can actually contribute to aging. Use a dry brush before your shower, and don’t use too much soap and shampoo (and use natural, organic products). Select an all-organic moisturizing cream like Luminous, a 100% natural and organic luxury face cream with aloe leaf juice, coconut oil, vitamin E, hemp seed oil, and exotic essential oils like blue chamomile, lavender, and Tunisian neroli.
Try a Cleanse
If you want to improve the look and feel of your skin, a cleanse is one of the best things you can do. A cleanse involves following a clean, healthy diet while taking supplements that support your body’s natural detoxification abilities. This allows your body — including your skin — time to rest and renew. If you don’t know where to start, consider Global Healing’s Chemical and Heavy Metal Cleanse Kit™.
Points to Remember
Your skin requires specific vitamins to look its best, whether you’re concerned about skin tone, moisture, wound healing, blemishes, or other issues.
Vitamin C and E are both potent antioxidants, counteracting the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Interestingly, vitamin D and E are low in people with acne. Make sure you are getting your recommended daily allowance. Vitamin D may help promote normal aging of the skin and hair.
Vitamin K can reduce the appearance of bruises and speed wound healing. Omega-3 fatty acids can give you extra power to fight off sun damage.
If you eat the right foods and minimize exposure to toxic chemicals (try a cleanse!), you’ll give your skin a boost that will make it appear more youthful and healthy. But it never hurts to lend a helping hand to our body’s natural process by ensuring you get enough of these vitamins for healthy skin.
- Keen MA, Hassan I. Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016 Jul-Aug;7(4):311-315.
- Vitamin E: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Updated 10 Jul 2019. Accessed 4 Feb 2020.
- Ozuguz P, et al. Evaluation of serum vitamins A and E and zinc levels according to the severity of acne vulgaris. Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2014 Jun;33(2):99-102.
- Telang PS. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr;4(2):143-146.
- Vitamin C. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Updated 18 Sept 2018. Accessed 16 May 2019.
- Kiefer D, Pantuso T. Omega-3 fatty acids: An update emphasizing clinical use. Agro Food Ind Hi Tech. 2012 Jul;23(4):10-13.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fact Sheet for Consumers. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Updated 21 Nov 2018. Accessed 16 May 2019.
- Yildizgören MT, Togral AK. Preliminary evidence for vitamin D deficiency in nodulocystic acne. Dermatoendocrinol. 2015 Jan 14;6(1):e983687.
- Mostafa WZ, Hegazy RA. Vitamin D and the skin: focus on a complex relationship: a review. J Adv Res. 2015 Nov; 6(6):793-804.
- Vitamin D. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Updated 9 Nov 2018. Accessed 16 May 2019.
- Ahmadraji F, Shatalebi MA. Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base. Adv Biomed Res. 2015 Jan 6;4:10.
- Shah NS, et al. The effects of topical vitamin K on bruising after laser treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Aug;47(2):241-244.
- Hemmati AA, et al. Topical vitamin K1 promotes repair of full thickness wound in rat. Indian J Pharmacol. 2014 Jul-Aug;46(4):409-412.
- Vitamin K. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Updated 26 Sep 2018. Accessed 16 May 2019.
- Bissett DL, et al. Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):860-865; discussion 865.
- Niacin: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Updated 1 Feb 2019. Accessed 4 Feb 2020.
- Mock DM. Skin manifestations of biotin deficiency. Semin Dermatol. 1991 Dec;10(4):296-302.
- Biotin. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Updated 17 Sep 2018. Accessed 16 May 2019.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.