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Vitamins for the skin: Occurrence & benefits

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 462 views

Our body needs enough vitamins to stay healthy and efficient. Of course, this also applies to the skin. Vitamins such as biotin help to keep the skin healthy, supple and wrinkle-free for as long as possible. Read more about which vitamins are important for the skin, how they work and whether they also make sense in skin care products here!

Which vitamins are good for the skin?

The skin is our largest organ and a high-performance business: A well-coordinated team of around two billion skin cells protects the organism from pathogens and solar radiation, but also from overheating, excessive heat loss and dehydration. So there are plenty of reasons to take good care of your own skin – for example, by getting enough vitamins for your skin with your daily diet.

Which vitamins are good for the skin? In the following you will learn more about the most important vitamins for the skin and their effects.

Vitamin C

Studies have shown that vitamin C on the skin can help it produce more collagen and break it down more slowly. Collagen improves the surface structure of the skin, making it more elastic and firm. In addition, vitamin C is a so-called radical scavenger. That means: It can intercept cell-damaging aggressive oxygen compounds, so-called free radicals, and render them harmless.

A severe lack of vitamin C leads to the so-called “seafarers’ disease” scurvy. Symptoms can be seen on the skin, among other things: bleeding, poor wound healing and rough, scaly, brown skin are the result. But too much vitamin C also has an effect on the skin: it can quickly become irritated and tend to become red and sensitive.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adults is on average 95 to 110 milligrams. You can cover the need through nutrition: Vitamin C is contained in rose hips, lemons, broccoli, peppers and oranges, for example.

Vitamin A

Anti-Wrinkle Vitamins? Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is said to be able to smooth out small wrinkles around the eyes. It is converted into vitamin A acid in the skin and then supports the skin’s elasticity. Vitamin A preparations are also used for acne, especially those with the derivative of the vitamin A acid isotretinoin. It helps against pimples and blackheads.

A lack of vitamin A can manifest itself, among other things, in thickening of the skin.

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a daily intake of vitamin A of 700 to 850 micrograms per day for adults and young people aged 15 and over. Sweet potatoes, carrots, liverwurst, spinach , and kale are good sources, for example.

Vitamin E

According to studies, vitamin E, which is found in high doses in some skin creams, can help to repair damaged and dry skin and make it more elastic – so it is a suitable vitamin for dry skin. Due to its fat solubility, vitamin E can easily penetrate the cornea and be stored there. It should be well tolerated even in high doses. Vitamin E concentrations of up to five percent are usually found in cosmetics.

A high vitamin E content in the skin has many benefits, er

  • improves the moisture level of the horny layer.
  • smoothes small wrinkles.
  • increases the skin’s resistance to harmful environmental influences.
  • protects the skin from UV rays – the light protection of vitamin E is up to sun protection factor (SPF) 10, depending on the concentration.
  • improves wound healing after operations and reduces scarring.
  • inhibits inflammation and counteracts skin aging and age spots.

If the skin or the organism does not get enough vitamin E, the fat and moisture balance will be disturbed in the long run. The skin becomes dry.

According to the DGE, the recommended intake of vitamin E for young people aged 15 and over and adults is between 11 and 15 milligrams per day. It is contained, for example, in wheat germ oil, raspberries , savoy cabbage, tomatoes and almonds.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is not a single vitamin, but a whole group of vitamins that includes eight different vitamins. Some of them have a special meaning for the skin.


Biotin is one of the water-soluble B vitamins and is also called vitamin H or vitamin B7. It is known for its protective function of skin and hair: Biotin promotes, among other things, the growth of the sebaceous glands and supports the skin’s own regeneration processes by ensuring smooth cell growth and division.

If you take in too little biotin over a long period of time, the skin can become dry and scaly – the skin reacts in a similar way with a vitamin B12 deficiency.

The recommended daily amount according to the DGE is 40 micrograms of biotin for young people from the age of 15 and adults. Biotin is mainly found in liver, legumes, nuts, mushrooms and spinach.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, also called nicotinic acid or niacin, is important for the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, supports the cellular energy metabolism and is important for the regeneration of the skin due to its antioxidant effect.

One consequence of niacin deficiency is dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin. A vitamin B2 deficiency also leads to such inflammatory reactions of the skin. The daily requirement of vitamin B3 is between 11 and 17 milligrams per day.

Vitamin B3 is found in fish, dairy products, poultry and eggs, for example.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid. The water-soluble vitamin, which improves skin elasticity and effectively reduces blemishes, is often used in the treatment of acne.

The recommended daily requirement is five milligrams of pantothenic acid. It is also found in fish, meat, legumes and whole grain products.

Vitamin D

You can get vitamin D from food, but the body produces most of it itself through sunlight. Its most important representatives are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). In addition to numerous positive effects on the body, especially on bone health, vitamin D also has an effect on the skin.

It has been proven to help with skin diseases – for example acne. The vitamin regulates the body’s own hormone production, at the same time alleviates skin inflammation and strengthens the skin’s protective barrier. Vitamin D can also help with neurodermatitis or psoriasis.

What effect do vitamins have on the skin?

Vitamins support different processes in the body in different ways. A deficiency is often first noticed in the external appearance – for example in a disturbed complexion. In particular, vitamins A, C, E, biotin and niacin contribute to skin health and maintain the functions of the organ.

We have summarized the effect of vitamins on the skin for you:

  • Vitamin A maintains the elasticity of the skin.
  • Vitamin C supports collagen formation and keeps the skin firm. It is also a radical scavenger and protects the skin from oxidative stress.
  • Biotin maintains the growth of the sebaceous glands, blood cells and nerve tissue and supports the regeneration of the skin.
  • Niacin or vitamin B3 is important for skin renewal.
  • Vitamin E protects the skin from oxidative stress and supports the regeneration of damaged skin. It also has an anti-aging effect.

Vitamins for the skin – apply or take?

When it comes to vitamins for the skin, the following question often arises: What is the best way to get them where you want them? By swallowing them or applying them to the skin?

The following applies to external application: Since the cell layers under the epidermis are very dense, creams, serums and tinctures usually have difficulty penetrating in order to transport their active ingredients into the collagen and elastin tissue of the dermis. According to studies, anti-aging products do not create new collagen-forming cells that could fill in the wrinkles. However, it is possible that active ingredients such as vitamins A and C stimulate cell renewal.

Despite all advertising promises, it is usually better to get the vitamins for the skin through food. A balanced, varied diet normally provides the whole body with all the vitamins and other nutrients it needs. Before you take any dietary supplement , always talk to a doctor.

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