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Personalised Supplement5 Vitamins to Strengthen Your Skin

5 Vitamins to Strengthen Your Skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body and has a surface area of around 2 square metres. Pliable but tough, skin also plays a vital function, acting as a shield to protect the body from the elements; from objects, chemicals, germs, sunlight, or even to prevent the loss of water. Structurally, the epidermis and dermis are the outer and deeper layers of skin. Because of the skin’s protective role, the skin takes the heaviest damages from these factors, and is the first to show signs of ageing.

Maintaining skin health and strengthening this barrier can be achieved through a healthy, balanced lifestyle and diet. Nutrition plays an important part in strengthening skin health.



1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for skin health. It helps stabilize the collagen structure, enhances the efficiency of genes that synthesize collagen, neutralizes free radicals from pollution and sunlight, as well as inhibits melanin production, reducing dark spots.

Research on vitamin C effects on skin health finds that vitamin C consumption either through supplements or food can enhance skin elasticity, reduce facial wrinkles, improve skin roughness and tone, promote wound healing, relieve scars, reduce skin inflammation, as well as reduce skin cancer risk by neutralizing free radicals with vitamin E.

Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy, skin fragility, gum bleeding and slow wound healing. Deficiency in vitamin C compromises collagen synthesis, lowering the skin’s ability to heal and regenerate itself from damage.

Usually, the skin contains high vitamin C concentration compared to other tissues in the body. Vitamin C is found to be 2-5 times more concentrated in the epidermal layer than the dermis layer. Age and sun damage decreases vitamin C in the skin. In other words, the levels of vitamin C in your skin reflects the number of free radicals as well as exposure to pollution and UV.

Dietary sources of vitamin C are vegetables and fruits such as guava, tamarind, Indian gooseberry, madras thorn, rambutan, papaya, grapefruit, bell pepper, broccoli, etc. The Department of Health recommends a daily intake of 100 mg vitamin C in men and 85 mg in women.


2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is more concentrated in the epidermis layer than the dermis layer. Like vitamin C, it possesses antioxidant properties, and is the body’s first defence in preventing lipid peroxidation, protecting cells from free radical damages. The antioxidant activities of vitamin E require other substances such as vitamin C and selenium etc.

The antioxidant properties of vitamin E helps protect the skin from ageing and treat various skin conditions such as melasma, scars, and atopic dermatitis. According to research, a daily intake of 200-1200 IU vitamin E can relieve scleroderma symptoms by suppressing the autoimmune activities. Studies claim that vitamin E helps treat melasma through its prevention of lipid peroxidation and the increase in cellular glutathione levels. In addition, vitamin E widens blood vessels, and inhibits blood clotting and inflammation related proteins.

Vitamin E deficiency is usually uncommon and is often linked with disorders of digestion and absorption.

Dietary sources of vitamin E are grains and vegetable oils such as rice bran oil, canola oil, soybean oil etc.


3. Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 or niacin is highly beneficial for the skin. Topical applications of vitamin B3 help strengthen the skin barrier, reduce water loss, stimulate the synthesis of proteins such as keratin and of ceramides; which are fats found in skin cells that maintain the moisture in the skin. In addition, vitamin B3 is also used to treat atopic dermatitis, and its reduction of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF. Vitamin B3 is therefore useful in treating pityriasis rosea and other skin inflammations including acne.

A study was performed the efficacy of Vitamin B3 on inflammatory acne as a treatment in 160 patients; comparing 4% nicotinamide gel with 4% erythromycin gel, both applied twice a day for 8 weeks. Both groups resulted in reduced inflammation, however the group using nicotinamide gel, which contains vitamin B3 showed better improvements on seborrheic dermatitis.

Vitamin B3 also plays a role in repairing damaged DNA, helping reduce cancer risk. Taking vitamin B3 may help prevent skin cancer. In a study on the effects of vitamin B3 in slowing or reducing cell mutations that lead to skin cancer, it is found that the group taking vitamin B3 had cancer cells decreased by 23% after 12 months compared to the control group.

Another study also shows the effects of 5% topical vitamin B3 in 50 women whose facial skin displayed signs of ageing due to sun damage. The study shows that vitamin B3 can reduce wrinkles, dark spots, red spots, and enhance the flexibility of the skin.

Dietary source of vitamin B3 are egg, fish, meat, poultry, dry beans, rice bran, and yeast. In addition to dietary sources, the body can synthesize vitamin B3 from amino acid tryptophan. The synthesis of vitamin B3 is reduced in those with deficiency of vitamin B1, B2 and B6.


4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin with similar characteristics to steroid hormones. It is essential for the regulation of calcium in the body. The skin produces vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. It is essential in the immune system and helps prevent infection.

Topical applications of vitamin D help to control excessive growth of skin cells and reduce the thickness of the skin in the affected areas of diseases such as psoriasis. Vitamin D also reduces inflammation, accelerates wound healing, and prevents the skin from sun damage. Vitamin D can prevent up to 55-70% of cell death from sunlight, and vitamin D deficiency affects the severity of atopic dermatitis.

Dietary sources of vitamin D are food such as fatty fish and mushrooms, including salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, as well as fortified food, such as orange juice, soy milk, yogurt, cereals, etc.


5. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant essential in the process of cellular metabolism. Damage from stressors such as sun exposure requires energy to repair and regenerate resulting in decreased levels of coenzyme Q10. When skin cells generate insufficient energy, skin structure will change and show signs of aging, either in wrinkles or loss of elasticity.

A study in 73 non-smoking women to evaluate the effectiveness of cream and serum formulas that contain coenzyme Q10. The results showed that coenzyme Q10 applied on the skin can be absorbed directly into the skin and retains its antioxidant effects as well as ability to help maintain the energy level of the cell.

Dietary sources of coenzyme Q10 include fatty fish such as tuna and salmon. Vegetarian sources can be found in grains and cereals.


  1. Dattola A, Silvestri M, Bennardo L, Passante M, Scali E, Patruno C et al. Role of Vitamins in Skin Health: a Systematic Review. Current Nutrition Reports. 2020;9(3):226-235.
  2. Pullar J, Carr A, Vissers M. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):866.
  3. Reichrath J. Vitamin D and the skin: an ancient friend, revisited. Experimental Dermatology. 2007;16(7):618-625.
  4. Saini R. Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences. 2011;3(3):466.

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