Looking Good With Skin Vitamins

Signs of vitamin deficiencies show up firstly in the skin, hair and nails. The reason this occurs is due to the fact that in times of stress or low intake the body preferentially provides nutrition to the critical organs such as the heart, lungs and brain rather than the skin. So irritating skin issues such as cracks in the corners of the mouth or peri oral dermatitis may actually be signalling a nutrient deficiency rather than a disease state or skin condition.

Underlying causes for nutrient deficiencies are many and various but often come back to reduced intake or excess demand. Inadequate intake of water-soluble vitamins such as the B group and vitamin C is more common due to the fact that our body doesn't store these vitamins. Any excess passes out on a daily basis. It makes sense then that an inadequate intake of B group and vitamin C rich foods could eventually lead to signs of deficiency. Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, E, D and K are slower to show up as deficiency sigs as our body stores these nutrients in some cases for long fairly long periods. However, lack of dietary intake (or sunshine) will eventually use up stored resources and again eventually lead to lower levels.

The other factor that may lead to skin signs of deficiency is placing excess demands on our vitamin resources. Stress, environmental toxins, dietary excesses and ill health will all use vitamins up, sometimes faster than we are taking them in. Again the net result is lower levels.

A good dietary intake of both water and fat-soluble vitamins will help to maintain healthy and vibrant skin. For specific skin signs, the nutrient association and the food sources see the table below.

Possible Skin Sign
Food Sources

Vitamin A
Rough, dry and scaly skin - particularly on the back of arms, thighs and buttocks. The carotenoid form of vitamin A will also help to improve skin colour i.e. give you a healthy glow.
Liver, cod liver oil, yellow, orange and red vegetables (plant source is carotenoids)

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Bleeding gums, rough skin and easy bruising, poor wound healing, pinpoint broken capillaries particularly where extensive sun exposure has occurred e.g. face, neck and chest
Kiwi fruit, green capsicum, citrus fruits, paw paw, strawberries, berries, broccoli, sprouts

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Inflamed eyelids, cracks and redness at the corner of the mouth (caution, this may also related to low iron so get your iron levels checked if B group supplementation doesn't improve within 2 weeks), facial skin lesions with greasy scales, peri-oral dermatitis
Almonds, salmon, spinach, milk & milk products, eggs, oats, whole grains

Pantothenic Acid (B5)
Excessive sebum production particularly associated with acne
Avocado, mushrooms, lentils, milk & milk products, eggs, almonds

Pyridoxine (B6)
Scaly dermatitis, peri-oral dermatitis, cracks and redness in the corners of the mouth.
Bananas, tuna, avocado, spinach, mackerel, brown rice, Brussels Sprouts

Folates (B9)
Peri-oral dermatitis, cracks and redness in the corners of the mouth.
Lentils, spinach, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, paw paw, yellow corn

Vitamin D
Worsening of inflammatory skin conditions due to imbalanced immune function e.g. eczema and dermatitis
Cod liver oil, salmon, oysters, whole milk, egg yolk

It is important to note that because fat soluble vitamins build up in the body, it is advisable to speak to a health care professional such as your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist before taking supplemental forms.

Please comment if you have any questions.

For more information about natural & organic skin care products contact Ananda Mahony ND at http://www.vitalenatural.com.au or at info@vitalenatural.com.au

As a naturopath Ananda has been involved in the natural skin care industry for many years. She specialises in the treatment of skin disorders such as acne, eczema, rosacea and dermatitis as well as anti-aging.

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