Vitamins to Promote Healthy-Looking Skin

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A woman checking her healthy skin in a mirrorWe all want healthy-looking skin, but sun damage over time can take our skin from looking fab to drab. Antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins A and C can help protect your skin from future damage.

Cooper Clinic Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist Bobby Kennedy, DO, FAAD, shares two vitamins that can help turn back cellular time and discusses how you can incorporate the vitamins into your daily skincare routine.

Understanding Sun-Damaged Skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body and after years of sun exposure, the damage begins to show.

“When ultraviolet light hits the skin, it can damage your skin cells,” explains Kennedy. “When too much damage occurs, it can lead to cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma or the deadliest of all, melanoma.”

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns in their lifetime
  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen can reduce the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent

Cooper Clinic’s board-certified dermatologists recommend wearing a daily sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater.

Vitamin A to reverse signs of aging

The most common form of vitamin A in the dermatologic world is a topical application. Retinoids, originally developed to treat acne, are a form of retinol with clinically proof in treating wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and rough skin.

“These topicals are great for reversing the signs of photoaging,” says Kennedy. “When the ultraviolet rays hit the skin, it damages collagen leading to photodamage and eventually “wrinkles.”

If healthy skin can’t make extra pigment and continues to be bombarded by ultraviolet light, Kennedy says it tries to accelerate the rate of squamous cells. If the cells build up, the skin becomes rough and scaly.

Vitamin A works to speed up cell turnover, which occurs when new skin cells travel from the lowest layer of skin to the top, causing our dead skin to shed. It can also boost collagen and elastin, while stimulating cellular repair. It can also help increase circulation, which in turn can give healthy skin a glow.

Kennedy recommends a topical, such as Skinbetter AlphaRet™, for best results. Vitamin A can also be consumed through supplementation. Cooper Complete’s Dermatologic Health supplements can be taken orally, contains 3,000 IU of vitamin A.

Vitamin C to repair and heal damaged skin

Vitamin C is the most plentiful antioxidant in human skin, yet exposure to ultraviolet light can reduce the availability of vitamin C in healthy skin.

“Think of a fruit containing a lot of vitamin C, such as an orange,” explains Kennedy. “After it sits out in the sun for a while, it doesn’t look so fresh anymore. That’s because it’s losing vitamin C.”

If you were to pump vitamin C back into the fruit, Kennedy says it would perk up again. The same goes for your skin. Dietary and topical vitamin C have beneficial effects on skin cells.

Benefits of vitamin C include:

  • Battles aging by stimulating the production of collagen, the protein responsible for making your skin supple
  • Heals damaged skin
  • Reduces the appearance of wrinkles in some cases
  • Repairs and prevents dry skin
  • When combined with vitamin E, helps decrease inflammation brought on by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light

Like vitamin A, vitamin C can also be taken orally. Cooper Complete’s Dermatologic Health contains 350 mg vitamin C and 200 IU vitamin E. Studies show applying a 10 percent vitamin C topical may help reduce UVB-induced redness by 52 percent and sunburn cell formation by 40-60 percent.

As a reminder, your physician understands your health profile best, so it’s important to talk with him/her about which supplements are best for you.

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