13 Best Vitamins for Skin, Hair, and Nails
Your body needs 13 essential vitamins to survive, and a deficiency in these could leave you with thinner hair, rough skin, or brittle nails.
There are many vitamin-rich topical treatments available, but the most important way vitamins work is from the inside out.
Supplements can be useful for people who have special dietary requirements that make it hard to meet their nutritional needs, but the best way to achieve your daily requirements is through the food you eat. Here's an overview of how different vitamins keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy, along with foods that are rich in each one.
1. Vitamin A
Skin: Great for fighting acne, diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, and blocking free radicals.
Hair: An antioxidant that stimulates scalp oil production—particularly good for dry hair.
Nails: Reduces brittlenes.
Found in: Eggs, cantaloupe, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, fortified milk, and cereal.
2 – 9. B-Complex Vitamins
These include vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), biotin, folic acid, and vitamin B12 (cobalamins).
Skin: Improves skin tone, evenness, and helps retain moisture.
Hair: Prevents hair loss and stimulates melanin production so hair retains its color.
Nails: Maintains moisture and thickness, preventing splitting and discoloration.
Found in: Egg yolks, vegetables, whole-grain cereals, chicken, fish, and milk.
10. Vitamin C
Skin: Stimulates tissue growth and boosts skin's immunity.
Hair: Helps hair bind and reduces splitting.
Nails: Simulates growth and healthy color.
Found in: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, and some green vegetables.
11. Vitamin D
Skin: Can help prevent blemishes.
Hair: Keeps hair elastic and prevents thinning.
Nails: Strengthens nails; helps body metabolize calcium properly.
Found in: Fish, fish oils, some mushrooms, fortified milk, juices, and cereals.
12. Vitamin E
Skin: Speeds up healing of damaged skin; fights free radicals.
Hair: Stimulates scalp circulation.
Nails: Maintains natural strength and moisture.
Found in: Nuts, leafy greens, dried beans, and vegetable oils.
13. Vitamin K
Skin: Helps lighten under-eye circles and repairs bruises.
Hair: Also grown in the human gut, it can help the body build proteins—one of them being hair.
Found in: Cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, soybeans, and cereals.
If you find it difficult to work these into your diet and decide to use supplements, be sure to follow the recommended dosages and guidelines.
While it's true that vitamin A may help reduce acne, it's not true that an excessive amount will keep your skin clear. In fact, it can be downright dangerous. The FDA warns that vitamin overdoses can cause severe problems, including permanent organ damage. The risks are higher for older people, people with medical issues, and women who are pregnant or trying, so be sure to talk to your doctor before starting vitamin therapy, especially if you're in a higher risk group.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
13 Essential Vitamins
Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails
Vitamins for Strong Hair
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