Evidence Suggests Vitamins Effective Against Sun-Damaged Skin

September 13, 2011
Evidence Suggests Vitamins Effective Against Sun-Damaged Skin

A new study reviewing current scientific literature on the effectiveness of vitamins in combating sun-damaged skin has found “there is evidence to support the potential role of vitamins A, C, E, and B3 in modifying the photoaging process.”

The study was compiled by Jenny Kim, M.D., Ph.D., FAAD of UCLA.

Vitamin A

The two most common forms of Vitamin A are retinols (found in liver, milk, eggs) and carotenoids (found in fruits and vegetables).

There is not currently enough evidence to support the use of carotenoids for treating photoaging, however they may be effective as a preventative measure because of the role they might play in preventing UV-induced collagen breakdown.

Very strong evidence supports the use of topical retinoids in treating photoaging. Retinoids are the active ingredient in many creams effective in treating sun-damaged skin, which are available by prescription or over-the-counter.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C plays a role in the production of elastin and collagen. It is commonly found in citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables, and is widely available as a supplement. Although it has antioxidant properties, there is only weak support for the idea that it reverses photoaging effects.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is widely available in over-the-counter topical products and has antioxidant properties. While the data do not support the idea of Vitamin E being effective in reversing UV-induced skin damage, there is evidence for Vitamin E’s role as a protectant when used before sun exposure.

Vitamins E and C should be used together, because Vitamin C plays a role in maintaining active levels of Vitamin E.

One should be careful not to take too much oral Vitamin E because of possible negative heath effects.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, one of the eight B-vitamins, “has been found to increase collagen production in in vitro studies and to reduce skin hyperpigmentation (dark spots) in clinical studies.”

Said Dr. Kim: “While initial studies show promise that topical vitamin B3 may prevent UV-induced skin aging, larger clinical trials are needed to confirm its role as a definitive treatment of photoaging.”

Abstracted from “New Study Evaluates the Effectiveness of Vitamins for the Treatment of Sun-Damaged Skin” by PR Newswire.