Whenever your skin is damaged, be it from a scratch, surgical wound, or from a sunburn, your body will rely on key vitamins to help repair your skin back to its former healthy state. Folks looking to accelerate the healing process might consider eating certain vitamin-rich foods or taking vitamin supplements.
So, what is the best vitamin for skin repair? Let’s find out by examining the most important vitamins for skin health in general. Remembering all these vitamins is pretty easy since you can rely on their alphabetical order: A, B, C, D, E, and K! Just skip F, G, H, I and J.
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for your entire body, and it’s also one of the easiest to acquire. Many people regularly eat vitamin A-rich foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, eggs, and dark leafy green vegetables.
Vitamin A is the parent compound of several compounds that help with skin care, like retinol which is used as an anti-aging compound frequently found in skin creams. Indeed, retinol can help your skin look younger by making fine lines and wrinkles appear less dramatic or deep. Vitamin A can help your skin look younger for longer by aiding in the cell reproduction and regeneration processes, improving your skin tone and texture.
Thus, vitamin A is more of an important vitamin for skin repair in the long-term as opposed to short-term regeneration from a wound.
Note that retinol skin care products (usually made with synthetic ingredients) may not contain Vitamin A. The main way to get enough vitamin A is to use natural products, or to just eat foods naturally rich in vitamin A.
Many B vitamins are also important for skin health and regeneration. For instance, vitamin B3 (also called niacinamide) can slow the signs of skin aging and can improve aging spots or other types of skin discoloration. Vitamin B5 can help with acne and skin aging effects. Again, these vitamins are more important for long-term skin repair instead of providing direct benefits for healing recent skin injuries or wound healing.
Vitamin C is a super important nutrient, not just for your skin but for your entire body and immune system. For your skin specifically, vitamin C is normally stored and utilized in the epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin. It can also be found in the dermis, which is the second layer of skin (and the place where tattoo ink remains).
Vitamin C is an antioxidant. This means that it’s a special type of compound that can reduce free radical oxygen molecular damage. These free radicals damage various cells and can interrupt the process of healing or even cause cellular mutation. Antioxidants can help prevent this damage from occurring.
Even more importantly, vitamin C plays a key role in collagen production. Collagen is the type of protein that ensures your skin remains taut and youthful-looking. The more collagen your skin produces, the younger it’ll look for longer and the softer it’ll feel due to its elasticity.
Furthermore, low vitamin C levels are characterized by easy bruising and dry skin. You normally get plenty of vitamin C from your regular diet, but you can also get it from over-the-counter supplements or by eating more citrus fruits.
Vitamin D is perhaps one of the most important vitamins for your skin, and it’s also one of the easiest to acquire because your body can naturally create vitamin D through sun exposure! Of course, this is why doctors recommend you get more sunshine if you have a vitamin D deficiency.
In a nutshell, a type of cholesterol in your body turns into vitamin D whenever your skin absorbs enough sunlight. The vitamin D then goes in your liver and kidneys and can be transported throughout the rest of your body. In the process, it helps to create healthy cells, not just for your skin but for other tissues, too.
This being said, you can also take vitamin supplements and increase your vitamin D intake if you don't get enough sun because of your geographic area or job. Fortified cereals and yogurt are usually great food sources, as are various types of fish like salmon, tuna, and cod.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant, just like vitamin C. Vitamin E isn’t important for collagen production but instead protects your skin against sun damage. If you already have a sunburn, vitamin E is one of the most important vitamins for skin repair since it stops more sun damage from accruing over time.
In short, vitamin E can absorb harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This photoprotective ability can also help prevent wrinkles or dark spots from cropping up, even if you spend time in the sun while your skin is regenerating.
You still need to use sunscreen, though! Vitamin E is not enough to stop skin damage from occurring if you don’t protect your skin in the first place!
Your body normally produces enough vitamin E through the oily and waxy substance called sebum. This helps your skin maintain an adequate moisture level and prevents cracks from appearing. But, you can also get additional vitamin E from nuts and seeds or through vitamins and supplements.
Fast forward 5 letters and focus on vitamin K. Though less important, this compound is still an essential vitamin for skin repair and health. Specifically, vitamin K can improve your body’s blood clotting efficiency.
Blood clotting is a process that occurs whenever you get an open wound. It stops the flow of blood and allows scabbing and eventual healing to take place. Naturally, this is quite important for skin repair, so you need plenty of vitamin K if your body is to heal bruises and other wounds correctly.
Vitamin K can also provide benefits for various skin conditions, making your scars slowly fade away, and stopping dark spots from appearing. This doesn’t mean vitamin K can make your scars or stretch marks go away completely, mind you, but it has the potential to help!
These days, you can get vitamin K in several topical creams, especially those made with natural products. You can also eat vitamin K-rich foods like kale, spinach, and other green vegetables.
Which Is the Most Important?
Ultimately, each of the above vitamins is important for overall bodily health and function, but vitamins C and E are particularly important for short-term skin repair and regeneration; this is largely because of their role as both antioxidants and as skin maintenance elements.
Both vitamins can protect your skin cells from free radical molecular damage, but they also play a big part in collagen production and sunlight defense, respectively. Vitamin C in particular is super important for skin repair. More collagen production means your body can make more healthy skin cells more quickly. As you can imagine, replacing skin cells from an injury requires a lot of collagen compared to regular regeneration rates.
What Are the Best Ways to Give Our Skin More Vitamins?
Of course, eating vitamin-rich foods, particularly foods with vitamins C and D, is a great way to give your body extra tools to help the regeneration process along.
You can also use salves and nutrient-rich blends of various natural products. These provide vitamins and other nutritional compounds directly to your skin for easy absorption. Salves are particularly good since they can moisturize and soothe the skin while also providing extra benefits.
A great example of one of the best skin repair salves is Green Goo’s Skin Repair Salve. This quality product contains helpful natural ingredients like aloe vera and coconut oil, both of which can moisturize and soothe the skin. It’s an all-around great choice if you spend a lot of time outside.
Regardless, only go with natural products if possible. You can get all the vitamins you need from natural foods, flowers, or other substances like certain waxes. All of these are great since you don’t expose yourself to unnecessary side effects as you do with skin creams.
You should also, of course, wear sunscreen regularly if your skin is already sensitive to sunlight or if you’re already sunburned. The best way to help your skin repair itself from any kind of injury is to not give it extra work to deal with. That means taking gentle showers and not rubbing it with harsh towels when you dry off, too.
Vitamins C and E are great target vitamins if you want to help your body with skin repair, but don’t discount any of the other vitamins, as you need all of them for a truly healthy body overall. Consider taking a multivitamin if you think your diet might be deficient in one or more of the vitamins above. You can expand your diet and look for some whole-plant foods for added nutritional depth. If you do go the route of adding supplements or vitamins to your daily routine, always make sure to consult your healthcare provider first to make sure it’s a right fit for your health profile and medical history.