What vitamins are good for skin?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You may already know the importance of natural antioxidants inside the membranes of your cells (vitamin E is the most common in the skin): protecting you against free oxygen radicals in the membrane and lipid portions of the cell. They're especially important for protecting your skin, because they help thicken your epidermis while the sun quickly depletes levels of vitamin E.

Your body will replenish its own vitamin E if you are eating smart, but adding some extra vitamin C (which protects the water soluble portions of your cells can help decrease the appearance of wrinkles and improve the formation of collagen and elastin. Only certain types of vitamin C will penetrate the skin -- one called L-ascorbic acid does this particularly well. To work, it must be in a concentration of at least 10 percent and must be kept acidic. So, you can't just rub oranges on your face and expect it to work. L-ascorbic acid gets oxidized by the sun, rendering it ineffective, so use it at night.

Niacin (vitamin B3) and panthothenic acid (vitamin B5) are other vitamins (taken orally or topically) that are good for the skin. In fact, topical niacin helps prevent injury caused by the sun, and increases the level of certain fats and protein in the skin, which improves its barrier function, and it helps reduce the yellowing of skin that's associated with glycation (a chemical reaction in the skin that can contribute to yellowing and sallowness) (the yellowing can disappear between four and 12 weeks of use).
Eating a healthy diet that provides a wide assortment of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is important to keeping your skin healthy. In addition, certain vitamins may have specific benefits in skin. Vitamin A derivatives known as retinoids have in recent years been used in medications you take by mouth or apply to your skin to treat skin conditions including acne, psoriasis and even the effects of age.

B vitamins are also essential to healthy skin. Deficiencies of vitamin B3 (niacin), for instance, can lead to skin rashes. Talk to your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements.

Continue Learning about Vitamins

The FDA Warns That Biotin May Mask Test Results
The FDA Warns That Biotin May Mask Test Results
In the 1994 Jim Carrey film, The Mask, timid bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss discovers a magical mask, which transforms him into a manic, confident (and gre...
Read More
What are some supplements available for improving my brain health?
Lisa Marie RosatiLisa Marie Rosati
Here is a list of herbs that I use in to make a brain tonic. Used together they create a synergistic...
More Answers
8 Foods That Can Replace Your Multivitamin
8 Foods That Can Replace Your Multivitamin8 Foods That Can Replace Your Multivitamin8 Foods That Can Replace Your Multivitamin8 Foods That Can Replace Your Multivitamin
Skip the pharmacy and shop the produce department instead.
Start Slideshow
If I Could Only Have One Vitamin, Which One Should I Take?
If I Could Only Have One Vitamin, Which One Should I Take?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.