Since skin is the body’s largest and most visible organ, vitamin deficiencies can be easily visible. This might affect how our bodies feel, and how we feel about our bodies. However, this visibility helps us notice the signs that something is off. Supplements can help our bodies achieve and maintain balanced nutrient levels to help fight chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, or to correct for deficiencies that result in dry skin or rashes. Consulting with a dermatologist can help identify the cause of irritation, as well as the best steps to take towards achieving and maintaining balanced vitamin levels for healthy skin.
Vitamins and minerals that we get from our diets are important because our bodies can’t make them, but we require them to maintain good health and body function. This is a situation where we are what we eat: in addition to being protein building blocks, nutrients help break down foods, provide energy for cellular productivity, and act as antioxidants to prevent cell degradation. Our skin benefits from all of these processes since cellular health results in strong tissue.
The vitamins and minerals in food might not be enough for some people to benefit from their essential properties. Most nutrients that we need are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy, and meat that many of us eat every day. Due to various potential reasons, we may not be getting enough of these foods, or our bodies may not be able to process the nutrients from their sources. Additional supplementation is an easy way to make sure we get the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to perform basic functions, including maintaining skin health.
Nutrients that we eat are distributed throughout our bodies to our cells, which build the various organs and fluids that make us up. Vitamin E is one of the most basic vitamins we need, which works with Vitamin C to construct collagen and repair tissue. This keeps skin firm, and able to hold moisture. The B Vitamins (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 12) are important in forming red blood cells and cellular metabolism (processing nutrients). Eczema, acne, dermatitis, hair loss, and muscle weakness are among the conditions that a deficiency in vitamin B can cause. Vitamin A supports cell growth, encouraging moisture retention and combatting dryness.
Vitamin D is usually produced in our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight, and is essential for absorbing calcium and other minerals. Since there are many dangers that come with sun exposure, it’s often recommended that Vitamin D be taken as a supplement. It works best when paired with vitamin K, which helps regulate calcium levels. Vitamin K also supports blood clotting, which is fundamental in healing cuts and other wounds.
Many minerals are important to tissue maintenance as well. Zinc, for example, supports sebum production and collagen repair, important for holding moisture and preventing dry skin. Iron builds red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body for collagen production, cell structure, and cellular production and function. A deficiency in potassium can lead to dry skin and hair loss because it is an important electrolyte that helps skin stay moisturized, manage energy use, and produce new cells. Other important minerals include selenium, silica, manganese, magnesium, sulfur, copper, and choline, all of which can be found in a variety of animal products, vegetables, and nuts, but may need to be supplemented based on availability and your body’s ability to process them.
It’s important to balance and monitor nutrient supplementation and try to get as many vitamins and minerals from foods as you can. Supplements help raise the body’s levels of them and may be important in maintaining them. Your dermatologist will know what you need based on a consultation and evaluation. Always follow a health professional’s directions closely for your unique needs.