What exactly do vitamins do in skincare formulations? Are you comforted by their presence on the ingredients list on a product? Well, the good news is that vitamins are great for the skin! Our goal here is to shed some light on the role our favorite vitamins play as skincare ingredients.
The vitamins you’ll mostly find in your skincare are Vitamin A, Vitamin B (B3 and B5), Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the so called Vitamin F. If you’ve never heard of vitamin F, don’t worry, it’s not a real vitamin, the F stands for Fats and it refers to the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
You’re likely to find Vitamin A listed as an ingredient in a cream or serum recommended for night time use since it can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. The more widely known forms of Vitamin A are retinol and retinyl palmitate which, along with other derivatives, are called retinoids.
Retinoids as a group are very well studied and have been shown to be great for the skin as they stimulate collagen production and cell renewal, helping improve the skin’s elasticity, firmness and fines lines. Retinol can however cause dryness and irritation, so when introducing it to your routine, we recommend you start slowly and at a low concentration to allow you skin to adjust. It also requires a bit of a commitment as results start to show anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. Also if you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is best to pause usage and only resume after delivery of your baby and breastfeeding has stopped.
There are eight different types, but you’ll mostly find B3 and B5 in skincare.
At Bolden we treasure Vitamin B3, or more specifically, niacinamide. It is an active form of vitamin B3 and is used both orally and topically. It is a water-soluble vitamin which means it is not stored in the body, so must be ingested or applied topically with some regularity to continue to get the benefits. This workhorse of an ingredient enhances many skin processes and has several benefits:
1. Prevents free radical damage
2. Reduces inflammation
3. Helps with hyperpigmentation as it evens out skin tone and reduces the appearance of dark spots
4. Improves the skin’s barrier function
It is a cornerstone ingredient in our bestselling Brightening Toner and a testament to why it’s so well loved.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Panthenol is a stable and non irritating form of Vitamin B5. When applied topically, it penetrates the skin layers and gets absorbed by the skin from where it is converted to Vitamin B5. Panthenol performs double duty as both humectant that reduces moisture loss, and as a wound healing emollient, repairing and softening the skin. It is an ingredient in our Brightening Toner.
We absolutely love Vitamin C and believe it deserves a skincare hero award! The quickest way to recognize Vitamin C on an ingredients list is as ascorbic acid or other derivates (look out for “ascorbyl”). It is a well researched ingredient and offers amazing skin benefits that have been documented. In terms of its importance, it ranks right after sunscreen in preventing premature aging.
Vitamin C keeps your skin looking youthful because it neutralizes free radicals by stabilizing and rendering them nontoxic to the skin cells, it is anti inflammatory, and it boosts collagen production.
When you add less inflammation and oxidation, to increased collagen production, the skin is able to heal itself quicker, helping clear out acne scaring and hyperpigmentation. This is why Vitamin C lies at the heart of our Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30 formulation.
Vitamin E is usually listed as tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate in skincare formulations. It is a powerful antioxidant that provides anti inflammatory benefits. It helps slow down oxidation in oil based products such as our Bolden Shea Oils so it acts as a good preservative.
Vitamin F is not actually a vitamin, the “F” stands for fatty acids, specifically linolenic acid also known as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and linoleic acid a.k.a omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Since these two fatty acids are a mouthful to say, they are fondly referred to as vitamin F. They help with maintaining a healthy skin barrier, and sealing in moisture. Importantly, research has shown that topical application of Vitamin F could reduce hyperpigmentation from sun exposure.
So there you have it, a quick rundown of the vitamins in your skincare.