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Expert opinion: do vitamins work for the skin?

Expert opinion: do vitamins work for the skin?


Many bloggers start their day with a large glass of water with lemon, drinking collagen and a handful of dietary supplements. We turned to the experts to find out whether we all really should follow their example, and whether there are benefits from vitamins for the skin and hair.

Supplements are not just basic vitamins, as many think. It can be minerals, and amino acids, and herbs, and plant substances,– says dermatologist Melissa Kanchanapumi Levin.

The tendency to take biologically active complexes and vitamins for beauty and health of the skin has been actively developing over the past 20 years, and now those who are sure that external beauty is born inside more than ever.

"The global sales volume of beauty supplements will reach $ 6.8 billion by the end of 2024 (almost twice as much as in 2016)," the report of the research firm Goldstein Research says. At the same time, manufacturers of traditional vitamin complexes are suffering losses. GNC (the American company from Pittsburgh, which sells products related to health and nutrition, including vitamins, nutritional supplements, minerals) has closed 200 stores and announced a sharp decline in production volumes of its products.

Are they really necessary?

Supplements promise to give our body an extra dose of all the important vitamins needed for clean, smooth, perfectly cleansed skin.
We do a lot of research into the effects of vitamins and nutrients on skin health in our own Advanced Nutrition Program, the Skin Health Research Center, all of our products have been tested and have really confirmed results.– says Lorraine Perretta, nutritiologist at the International Institute of Anti-aging (UK), co-founder of the brand Advanced Nutrition Program.

Lorraine perretta
Lorraine perretta

In 2006, the British Journal of Nutrition published a scientific paper that combines 120 different studies of the effects of nutrients on skin health and beauty. So, in one of these studies, it was proved that the active ingredients begin to fall into the layers of the skin within eight days after the start of taking vitamins and only after 19 days reach their maximum.

Other data show that some natural and identical to natural forms of vitamins have a higher bioavailability and, as a result, more effectively affect the skin.

There are several main areas of influence of beauty-nutrients on the skin – this is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect and protection of the skin from UV radiation. Vitamins support the skin in various ways, some deliver the nutrient directly, such as vitamin E, nourish the epithelial cell membrane and provide anti-oxidative effects of the skin cells. Others support enzymes that provide an anti-inflammatory effect,– explains Lorraine.

The British Nutrition Magazine concluded that the effect of taking vitamins for beauty and health of the skin is superior to topical outdoor skin care products: for example, creams and serums. Beauty nutrients nourish the skin throughout the body, and outdoor products work only in the areas of application. Beauty nutrients reach the deepest layers of the skin when external care products work only at the level of the epidermis.

Thus, experts are confident that vitamins help us to form healthy skin cells in the deep layers of the dermis, and creams and salon procedures – to maintain healthy and beautiful cells.

In our skin health research center, we use the "gold standard" of skin analysis equipment to measure elasticity, moisture level, transepidermal moisture loss (TEPH) and wrinkle depth. We see that the biologically active complexes Advanced Nutrition Program improves skin parameters, increasing the level of moisture, reducing inflammation, maintaining skin density,– adds nutritsiolog.

The study showed that after taking Omega + (contains omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as vitamin A) skin moisture increased by 40 percent, TEPV (transepidermal water loss) decreased by 36 percent, wrinkles decreased by 24 percent after 12 weeks of use . Thus, according to one group of scientists, beauty nutrients can be an important and effective addition to daily skin care.

However, others claim that in fact our body already has a rather specific method of regulating the level of vitamins, so even if you take supplements, these nutrients will not automatically reach your skin (unfortunately).

In fact, if you already adhere to a balanced, relatively healthy diet, then supplements for skin beauty will most likely not produce a wow effect. You already get everything you need from food. That is, if you do not have a deficiency of vitamins, in this case, supplements may be useful. And even if you eat fast food all day, taking supplements will not replace healthy food,– Dr. Viviana Bukay, associate professor at the Center for Health Sciences at the University of Texas, is confident.

A well-known 2013 study by John Hopkins entitled “Stop Spending Money on Vitamins and Mineral Supplements,” in which scientists studied 27 types of vitamins and supplements, showed that there is no evidence that taking them prevents the development of any serious chronic diseases and favorably affects health. His co-author, epidemiologist Eliseo Guallar, says that since then no evidence has emerged that could change his mind.

However, some vitamins do work. Despite all the skepticism, there are supplements that have proven to be effective. For example, Dr. Bukay recommends vitamins with a plant extract called Polypodium leucotomos (it contains an incredibly powerful antioxidant). This supplement is well studied, it reduces the effects of UVA, UVB, infrared and visible radiation on the skin.

But what about fashionable drinking collagen?

Currently, there is no evidence that the consumption of collagen actually affects the processes of metabolism and digestion. There is no evidence that the substance is absorbed into the blood, and then increases the production of collagen in the skin, – says Dr. Levin. The expert notes that if you have a normal or protein-rich diet, then you already get enough collagen, so you don't need supplements.

What vitamins should be avoided

Nutritionists warn that it is better not to experiment with fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K. Although some supplements are harmless, there are those that can build up in the body and lead to serious health problems. That is why you should always consult a doctor before taking any supplements, even if they seem harmless.

Before you start drinking dietary supplements, you need to check whether the level of trace elements and vitamins in your body is high or low. The thing is, you can only hurt yourself if you take too much of them.

When will I see results?

If you have already consulted with your doctor, and he gave you the green light, you can go to the pharmacy or order yourself vitamins on iHerb. Just do not expect to see wonderful results overnight. At best, the effect can be seen after three months (and this is on condition that you will not forget to take vitamins).

It is strange to think that an additive or vitamin will instantly solve problems with nails, hair or skin. Each person is different, and his health problems can change monthly, weekly, or even daily, depending on many factors, such as stress levels, hormones, and diet. This means that one vitamin may act for one woman, but to be ineffective for another, Says Joel Schlessinger, a certified dermatologist from Nebraska.

Dr. Hawthorne's advice: before you buy supplements, first focus on your diet.When we get vitamins from whole foods that are not processed and not cleaned, and not from nutritional supplements, we reduce the risk of toxic doses of vitamins in the body and instead benefit from other natural ingredients in food, such as antioxidants and fiber.


1. Bioactive complexes to maintain the beauty of the skin from the inside are not needed by those who adhere to a healthy and balanced diet and who do not have a deficiency of vitamins. How to find out if you have a vitamin deficiency? Get examined by a doctor.

2. Do not know what vitamins to buy? How many to take? And how to figure out which ones are safe? Consult a doctor.


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