Can Your Skin Be Vitamin Deficient?

By krista / 18 December 2023

Can Your Skin Be Vitamin Deficient?

We know how essential vitamins are for our bodies. We hear a lot about vitamins C and D for immune health, especially during the past couple of years of the pandemic. We know vitamin D plays a crucial role in bones, too. The B vitamins are necessary for metabolism and energy. And many vitamins are antioxidants that protect against cellular damage. But how does vitamin deficiency play out for your skin?


It's well-documented that skin disorders can stem from nutritional deficiencies. For example, a lack of vitamin B12 can result in pigmentation disorders, including vitiligo. That's a more extreme example, but even running low in specific key vitamins can leave your skin dry, dull, more inflamed, and wrinkly. So, while you want to get an array of vitamins and nutrients through your diet, applying them topically to the skin can boost your supply and promote healthier, happier skin.

Here are the essential vitamins for skin health and where you can get them.

Vitamin A: This vitamin revs up skin cell turnover, which helps with everything from acne (pores are less likely to clog when you don't have a buildup of dead skin) to skin texture and tone, and aids in skin repair. And it's well-studied for skin. In one 2015 study, retinol and retinoic acid (two forms of vitamin A) increased collagen production and skin thickness. Participants who applied the topical vitamin A ingredients saw a visible reduction in wrinkles over 12 weeks. Vitamin B: A 2018 study found that B vitamins play a role in developing healthy skin cells. More specifically, vitamin B3 (a.k.a. niacinamide) is an antioxidant that helps with texture and tone; folic acid may help promote wrinkle-smoothing collagen; and vitamin B5 (panthenol) has been shown to reduce inflammation and acne. Your skin may be dry, rashy, and wrinkle-prone without enough B vitamins. Vitamin C: There's a body of evidence supporting vitamin C's role in healthy skin. The antioxidant not only protects skin from free radicals (unstable molecules that damage healthy skin tissue), it plays a crucial role in collagen production, and it also can help even out skin tone. Research supports that vitamin C can be applied topically to the skin, but the formulation is crucial. The vitamin is highly unstable and breaks down quickly. Check labels for stable versions such as L-ascorbic acid and ascorbyl palmitate (used in Pour Moi’s formulations). Vitamin D: Research continues to emerge on how vital vitamin D is for the body, including the skin. The fat-soluble vitamin has been linked to skin cell growth, cell metabolism, and repair. Studies have also shown that it may have a photoprotective benefit, too, protecting cells against damage from UV light. However, if you don't have enough of it, the skin may be more inflamed, exacerbating inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and eczema. Plus, the skin's barrier may be weakened, making skin more vulnerable to infection and irritation. Unlike some other vitamins, applying vitamin D topically may not help boost vitamin D in the skin. But Pour Moi uses a breakthrough vitamin-D-like ingredient from chicory root, which mimics the effects of vitamin D in the skin, reducing the appearance of dull, dry, and aging skin. Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant helps protect cells against damage from free radicals. (It's especially powerful when combined with vitamin C.) It also has anti-inflammatory benefits, which helps calm red, irritated skin. Animal studies have shown that vitamin E deficiency can cause skin ulcers and changes in collagen metabolism (collagen is what keeps skin firm and smooth). To get it topically, check labels for tocopherol. Vitamin F: This isn't a traditional vitamin. The F stands for fat, more specifically, a combo of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, two essential fatty acids (EFAs). Vitamin F is anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and promotes barrier function. Research has shown that higher EFA leads to less skin dryness and skin atrophy (decreased thickness). Unfortunately, the body can't produce EFAs on its own, so we need to supplement it through diet and topically. So, yes, skin can be deficient in vitamins. And when that happens, it affects skin's tone, texture, hydration levels, ability to protect itself, and how skin ages. Think of vitamin-infused topical treatments as multivitamins for your skin, providing it with the nutrition it needs to thrive.