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Vitamins (vita in latin means “life”) are micronutrients that are required for cell development, growth and overall optimal function. Some nutrients cannot be fully synthesized by the human body – that’s why we need vitamins, through diet and supplementation.

Just like you need different exercises to keep your body (and mind) healthy, you also need different vitamins to keep your skin healthy ~ supplements, diet, infusion, topical products, procedures – a multi-faceted approach will ensure your skin stays at its prime, ages gracefully and remains as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.

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Think about this ~ your skin is the last organ reached by the vitamins you ingest through diet and supplementation, so you need to complement topically (directly on the skin) with specific vitamins to achieve healthy skin (and a higher vitamin concentration), particularly as you age. Knowing that vitamins can be absorbed through the skin, you can also feed your skin with well-balanced (and Marie approved ;)) skincare products.

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Thirteen vitamins are required for healthy cell metabolism:

  1. Vitamin A (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, tretinoin, retinal palmitate, and several provitamin A carotenoids)
  2. Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  3. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  4. Vitamin B3 (niacin, niacinamide)
  5. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  6. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  7. Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  8. Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate)
  9. Vitamin B12 (cobalamins)
  10. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbate)
  11. Vitamin D (calciferols)
  12. Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
  13. Vitamin K (quinones). 

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Soluble in oil or water?

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Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble (“happy in water”) or fat-soluble (“happy in oil”). 13 vitamins are essential to good health: 4 fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C), although some forms of topical vitamin C can also be oil-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water and are excreted from the body if too much is consumed. Because they are not as readily stored, more consistent intake is important. Oil-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of fats. Vitamins A and D can accumulate in the body, which can result in dangerous hypervitaminosis, so consult with your doctor before starting supplements in order to have the best dosage.

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Fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, K

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Vitamin A // Retinoids

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Names: Retinol, Retinal, Retinaldehyde, Tretinoin, Retinoid acid, Retinol Palmitate, Provitamin A, Carotenoids, Beta-carotene.

Sources: Supplement, diet and topical

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Topical vitamin A products are sensitive to oxygen and this means cosmetic preparations should be packaged in a metal tube or airless pump, not be applied at daytime with the risk to be exposed in the sun, and cause increased skin sensitivity.

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Topical retinoids are used to improve:

  • large pores
  • oiliness
  • blackheads and comedones
  • active acne 
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • sun damage

Product Recommendations:

  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3%
  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5%
  • DermaQuest Retexture Serum (1.0%)
  • Differin (available under prescription)
  • Tactuo (available under prescription)
  • RetinA Micro (available under prescription)

It is recommended to start topical vitamin A products with the lowest dose, once to twice a week, and then slowly increase the concentration and frequency of application. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use topical vitamin A, and should wait until after they are done breastfeeding. Please consult with your doctor before starting a topical vitamin A skin regimen.

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Vitamin D

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Names: Cholecalciferol (D3), Ergocalciferol (D2), Calcitriol

Sources: Oral Supplement, Diet

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Health Canada explicitly bans the OTC use of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). However this does not apply to calcitriol, a prescription that can be beneficial for psoriasis patients. A whole series of interesting effects in the skin are described in the context of vitamin D. Once again, consult with your doctor to see if this is right for you.

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Vitamin E

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As a natural antioxidant, vitamin E occurs in all unsaturated vegetable oils. The outstanding physiological function of this vitamin lies in the protection of oxygen sensitive cellular components such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In the cosmetic field, vitamin E and its derivatives are primarily used to replenish and protect other vitamins, add an antioxidant effect to a formula and improve the preservative system.

Names: Tocopherols, Tocotrienols, Tocopheryl Acetate.

Sources: Supplement, diet, topical

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Topical vitamin E derivatives are used to improve:

  • Antioxidant effects and free radical scavenger activity.
  • Protection of vitamin A and its derivatives.
  • Replenishing vitamin C activity.
  • The free radical scavenger features also naturally involve a reduction of the stress caused by UV radiation. The same applies to inflammatory processes.
  • Stimulation of cell formation (epithelisation)
  • The moisture retention capacity of the skin.

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Examples of well balanced vitamin E-containing skin care products:

  • SkinCeutical CE Ferulic
  • SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
  • DermaQuest C Infusion Serum
  • DermaQuest Radiant Skin Oil
  • Aliquote Skin SensiCalm Lotion

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Vitamin K

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Names: Phylloquinone, Menaquinones, phytonadione (vitamin K1)

Sources: Diet, topical

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Topically applied, phytonadione stabilizes the capillary system, minimizes bruising, speeds up healing of bruises, decreases the appearance of dark circles and helps firm the skin. That is why vitamin K1 (phytonadione) can also be used to treat rosacea, couperosis and dark circles.

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Water-soluble vitamins: B (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12) and C (ascorbic acid)

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The different classes of B vitamins are:

• Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

• Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

• Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

• Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

• Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

• Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)

• Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

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Vitamin B1

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Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamin, is known as the ‘anti-stress’ vitamin and is heavily involved in the functioning of the nervous system. A deficiency in vitamin B1 can massively effect the skin as it can cause hyper sensitivity and make the skin more sensitive to products, external aggressors and climate – leading to redness, acne or dry, flaky skin, as well as causing the lips to dry and crack.

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Name: Thiamine

Sources: B Complex Supplement, diet

Vitamin B1 It is vital in the metabolism of oxygen. It has the property to lessen the appearance of bags and dark circles under the eyes diminishing and delaying premature ageing. It is often used in combination with other B vitamins, it can be found in vitamin B complex products and is essential for skin regeneration and increasing collagen production. 

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Vitamin B2

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Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, plays an extremely important role in the maintenance of healthy, glowing skin. Riboflavin maintains the growth of tissues to ensure healthy cell turnover for a bright, radiant complexion.

Name: Riboflavin

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet

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Riboflavin is important to the connective tissues, it’s used as an ingredient in skincare products because of its ability to benefit the skin, hair and nails. Riboflavin speeds the healing of wounds and burns and is used to treat rosacea and related problems by improving the skin’s secretion of mucus, according to the Nutritional Supplement Bible.

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Vitamin B3 // Niacinamide

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Vitamin B3 is one of the best forms of the B vitamins for your skin. Also known as Niacin, Vitamin B3 can help to improve the condition of the skin, helping to treat rosacea, acne, eczema, dermatitis, hyper pigmentation, sun-damaged, aging and dry skin – so it’s a must-have vitamin for healthy, glowing skin!

Name: Niacin, Niacinamide, Nicotinamide riboside      

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Topical

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This vitamin works to prevent water loss and moisturizing the skin. It’s also studied to increase keratin. When it comes to wrinkles, niacinamide improves the surface structure, helping smooth out skin’s texture and delay the aging process while evening out pigment. It’s the ULTIMATE multi-tasking vitamin!

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Our favourite Vitamin B3 // Niacinamide product:

  • DermaQuest Niacinamide Youth Serum

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Vitamin B5

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Vitamin B5 also helps to heal and protect the skin, to reduce inflammation and redness while strengthening the skin barrier, making it perfect for acne-prone skin. Studies have shown that Pantothenic Acid can reduce the skin’s formation of oil to regulate and maintain optimum oil levels to reduce the formation of acne.

Name: Pantothenic acid 

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Topical

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In the cosmetic field sometimes the calcium salt (Calcium Pantothenate) is used, but more often the easily skin surface penetrating provitamin (D-Panthenol) is preferred which after going into the skin is transformed into pantothenic acid. 

Fields of application are:

  • skin hydration
  • treatment of inflammatory processes
  • cell formation and epithelization
  • suppression of itching and redness
  • hair cures, deeply moisturizing 

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Recommended products:

  • DermaQuest Essential B5 Serum
  • SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel

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Vitamin B6

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Vitamin B6, also known as Pyridoxine, is required by the body for the development of red blood cells, cell production and protein metabolism, which assists with the growth and repair of the skin cells. Vitamin B6 can also help to regulate some of the hormone irregularities which can cause acne flare ups, to keep your skin clear and acne-free, especially during menstruation, as well as reducing the inflammation that co-exists with acne flare ups to leave you with calm, clear skin.

Name: Pyridoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal  

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Topical

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Vitamin B6 deficiencies lead to various forms of dermatitis. Normally the hydrochloride of pyridoxine is used in skin care products. Vitamin B6 can also help in regulating hormonal problems which can cause acne breakouts, keeping your skin clear from acne.  Additionally, vitamin B6 has long been considered to have an important role in amino acids metabolism as a coenzyme.

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Vitamin B7 // Biotin

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Vitamin B7 is more commonly known as Biotin and is essential for the healthy growth and repair of cells and synthesis of fatty acids and amino acids within the body. Biotin helps to revitalize the skin and even out the complexion while combatting the harmful effects of free radicals on the skin as well as maintaining the skin’s production of fats to encourage a plump, hydrated complexion that’s less prone to the early signs of aging.

Name: Biotin

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet

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Vitamin B7 is a key component in the enzymes of the amino acid and fatty acid metabolism. Deficiencies lead to growth disturbances of the hair, nails and the skin. Consequences are loss of hair and dermatitis. To avoid causing breakouts you need to make sure that you don’t have an excess amounts of biotin. If you’re taking supplements, skip the pure biotin if you have problematic skin.

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Vitamin B9

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Vitamin B9 is more commonly known as Folic Acid and is an essential B vitamin for cell production and tissue growth, ensuring optimum cell turnover for healthy, radiant skin. Vitamin B9 also helps to detox the body, in turn, reducing the occurrence of breakouts and acne. Folic acid also contributes to glowing, healthy skin that looks clear, plump and radiant.

Name: Folates, Folic acid

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Multivitamin, Diet 

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Vitamin B12

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Just like all of the vitamin B complex; vitamin B12 has another name – Cobalamin. Vitamin B12 helps to regulate the production of pigment in the skin, helping to prevent dark spots and pigmentation. Cobalamin also assists the body with the metabolism of  protein which, in turn, promotes the growth of healthy skin cells and helps to repair damaged skin.

Name: Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin.

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Infusion

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Vitamin C // water-soluble and oil-soluble

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When added to your daily routine, vitamin C provides a range of benefits, from evening out your skin tone, shielding skin from the visible impacts of pollution, significantly improving hydration, and keeping your skin looking younger, longer!

Name: Ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid (water-soluble), tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (oil-soluble), ascorbyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, calcium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate.

Sources: Supplement, Diet, Infusion, Topical

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Fields of application of vitamin C:

  • Creates a brighter, more luminous complexion. 
  • Evens out skin tone by reducing transfer of pigment to epidermal cells.
  • Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping build collagen in the upper dermis.
  • Works as an antioxidant to fight free radicals during the day when used under a sunscreen.
  • Is also a cofactor in the production of collagen and elastin, increasing production of both when applied. 
  • Reduces redness and inflammation associated with rosacea.

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Recommended vitamin C containing products:

  • Aliquote Skin HydraGlow Mist
  • Aliquote Skin Fresh Complexion Polisher
  • Aliquote Skin Advanced Youth Complex
  • DermaQuest C Infusion Cleanser
  • DermaQuest C Infusion Serum

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Vitamins are important for healthy skin but the lifestyle and habits you have on a daily basis can also influence vitamin absorption, and ultimately their bio-availability. A poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, smoking, environmental pollution, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can deplete your vitamins and minerals and ultimately have a negative effect on your health and skin.

At SkinScience, we believe in fully customized skin care solutions – so if you are wondering which vitamin-containing skin care products you should be using, we’d be happy to educate you on the best options based on the latest scientific discoveries.

Ready to start your journey to healthy skin? We’d love to meet you!

403-287-1477

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