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We know that vitamins are good for us, but when they are applied topically, they do very different things. Here’s the top five vitamins for skin, what they do and the very best of each. When it comes to the Five Best with vitamins, you need to know your ABCs (D & E, too).
Vitamin A is for exfoliation. Retinol is vitamin A in its whole molecule form. Vitamin A itself does not have a direct effect on skin, but is only effective after specialized enzymes in the skin cells convert it into Retinoic Acid. Vitamin A increases skin cell turnover. Read more on retinol and vitamin A.
Sciote Advanced Retinol Crème ($64 in the shop) is an antioxidant serum that has 2% retinol, which is backed up by some salicylic acid, which is also an exfoliator. The formula also contains vitamins E and B5, as well as Sciote’s signature natural form of hyaluronic acid.
Vitamin B is for cell metabolism, anti-aging and anti-acne. There are eight different B vitamins. The most common in skin care are niacinamide (B3) an antioxidant that enforces steady cell turnover, pantothenic acid (B5), a wound healer and acne curer, and B8, which helps protect the skin from UV damage.
Your Best Face Hydrate B Concentrate ($45 in the shop) is a simply formulated serum that punches above its weight with three forms of vitamin B: niacinamide (B3), panthenol (B5) and insositol (B8). A peptide called Syn-Hycan has been added to counteract sagging skin.
Vitamin C is for hyperpigmentation. It will also curb inflammation, enhance sunscreen protection, retain moisture and bolster the skin's immune system. There are many types of vitamin C with varying degrees of stability and effectiveness. Newer ones claim to be gentle as well as potent.
Medik8 CE-Thione Rechargeable Vitamin C Serum ($150 in the shop) offers 15% ascorbic acid, which is given a good boost by vitamin E and glutathione, a busy molecule that does all sorts of important things — detoxification, antioxidant defense, maintenance of thiol status (a molecule in our blood) and modulation of cell proliferation.
Vitamin D is for absorbing vitamins A and C, skin radiance and collagen production. Most of us are vitamin D deficient, and there are few good cosmetics that contain it. Vitamin D is helpful for counteracting skin redness.
Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Time Release Vitamin D Moisture Mist ($39 in the shop) is a moisturizer that comes in the form of a spray. One Love Organics uses shitake mushroom extract, which is a good source of ergocalciferol or vitamin D2. This is a good thing because ergocalciferol helps protect the skin from sun damage. This moisturizer also contains alpine rose.
Vitamin E is for antioxidants and UV absorption. Vitamin E protects cell membranes, active enzyme sites and DNA from free radical damage, therefore, it can prevent signs of aging including wrinkles and fine lines. Types of vitamin E include tocotrienols and tocopheryl acetate.
Kenneth Mark MD Antioxidant Hydrating Cream ($120). Vitamin E in the form of tocopheryl acetate is the dominant ingredient in this serum. But it doesn’t stop there. The good doctor has added the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, along with potent collagen booster, copper peptides, minerals, vitamin A, two forms of vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid and superoxide dismutase.