With skincare on the rise, and continually growing faster than any other corner of the beauty industry, it’s easy to want to dive in head first! But while there are countless amazing skincare ingredients out there, you won’t need to try them all in order to achieve a healthy, glowing complexion. Instead you can start with these four cornerstone vitamins that are known to improve common skin concerns, and the best part is some of them can be added into your routine without even buying extra products; look no further than your diet!
Possibly the best ingredient for treating acne, vitamin A derivatives range in strength and accessibility. Prescription forms are tretinoin and adapalene (although adapalene can be purchased OTC in percentages of .1% and lower). OTC options include retinol, and retinyl palmitate/retinyl acetate, all of which yield the same benefits as their prescription counterparts, but with less irritation and a smaller acclimation period. But what makes this particular vitamin so effective at treating severe skin concerns? Simply put, vitamin A increases cellular turnover. As we age, our CRF, or cell renewal factor, steadily decreases. This means that it starts to take our skin longer to shed dead skin cells to be replaced with new ones. As a result, the skin can easily become textured, dull, and adult acne can form. Incorporating vitamin A into your routine while you are in your twenties is a preventative and/or corrective move that I recommend to all of my clients.
Otherwise known as niacinamide in the skincare universe, vitamin B3 is an antioxidant and hydrator that can be extremely beneficial for reducing the appearance of pores, strengthening the skin’s barrier, and reducing pigmentation and inflammation. This makes it a star ingredient when working to heal acne, which often results in all of the aforementioned symptoms. Another desirable component of B3 in the form of niacinamide is its compatibility with other active ingredients. While it’s always important to start slowly on active skincare (especially with the goal of using multiple products at once), niacinamide has a very high success rate when paired with AHA’s, BHA’s, and vitamins A and C. Using these ingredients together helps to accelerate the skin’s healing processes, yielding faster results when targeting acne, dehydration, and some signs of premature aging.
This vitamin is one of the most popular in skincare, and for good reason! A very powerful antioxidant, vitamin C aids in the reduction of UV and free radical damage, both of which are responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which leads to premature aging and other cellular damage. Because vitamin C interacts with tyrosinase- the enzyme responsible for the conversion of melanin into pigmentation- it also doubles as a skin lightening agent, and can help prevent the creation of pigment entirely. And since this vitamin is so well known for its healing and preventative properties, it’s fortunately one that most people aren’t deficient in. Found easily in foods (citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, to name a few), and one of the leading ingredients in the skincare industry, vitamin C is both highly accessible and approved by the masses.
Recent studies have shown that more and more Americans are becoming deficient in vitamin D, which not only affects bone health, mood, immunity and energy, but the skin as well. Healthy levels of calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D) are found to aid in skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism. These are important keys in preventing the shortening of telomeres, which ultimately leads to DNA damage, followed by cell death. While you can easily enhance your diet to include more vitamin D rich foods, I also take a more unorthodox approach and encourage my clients to get around 10 minutes of sun exposure a day, or as weather permits. However, as an esthetician, I advocate very strongly for the daily application- and reapplication- of sunscreen.
Note: this does not entail picking the hottest part of the day to rub coconut oil on yourself and exceeding that 10 minute maximum. Instead I like to suggest that my clients get in the habit of early morning outdoor meditations or grounding, or a quick walk before the sun is at its highest!
Vitamins are absolute powerhouse ingredients when it comes to healing the skin, maintaining results, and preventing future damage. Because they can often be incorporated orally and/or topically into your daily skin line up, the options are truly limitless, and never have to turn boring on you! Remember, the funnest part of skincare is finding the combinations that work best for you, and vitamins are a great place to start!