If any pill has the potential to improve the appearance of your skin it’s going to be vitamin C….in my opinion. It is essential for collagen syntheses. Collegen is connective tissue and the substance that makes skin look plump and full. In the presence of vitamin C deficiencies people develop wounds that do no heal properly. Healing is rapidly achieved when the deficiency is corrected.
In addition to having the potential to increase the thickness of the skin, vitamin C also has the potential to unify the skin color. Some experts categorize it as a skin bleach….wikipedia.
Vitamin C is the substance that keeps fruits and vegetables from tarnishing and becoming discolored when cut open and exposed to air. It’s a complicated process called biochemistry, but basically vitamin C donates an electron to atoms and molecules in desperate need of one. And for that reason, vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron from the stomach into the blood stream. Very important for people with iron deficiency anemia and blood loss.
Vitamin E is another pill with the potent to improve the skin. Similar to vitamin C, it prevents the discoloration and deterioration of meat. It is applied to meat sold in the grocery stores and keeps the produce pink and fresh looking. Without it the meat would turn a bluish gray.
Vitamin E is also added to fish oil capsules to prevent the oil from becoming rancid.
So it may came as no surprise that many topical skin products contain vitamin C and E. And there are studies proving their goodness, especially vitamin C.
But what would happen if you took these vitamins in a pill form?
Well, there are two studies that tested both these pills together short term and the results were astounding to me. Taking a combination of both vitamin C and vitamin E supplements ORALLY 2 grams of vitamin C along with 1000 IU oral vitamin E before sun exposure, reduced skin inflammation after sun exposure.4715,4716
Could these pills prevent photo aging? Possibly, since the main source of skin damage is from the sun, it makes sense, but I wouldn’t use these pills in place of sunscreen.
However, there are some commercially available products on the market that claim to be sunscreen in a pill. Basically they are combinations of vitamins C, E and A. If you don’t know it yet, vitamin A is dangerous and should only be prescribed by an eye doctor or skin doctor because it caused cancer in smokers. However, it is good for the skin and eyes. That’s another blog….subscribe and I’ll explain later.
There is also a new an antioxidant pill made from a fern that protects from the sun. It’s called Heliocare and we are still discovering how it works and what side effects it has.
But I would caution people that these pills have consequences. Vitamin C in high doses can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and kidney stones. Vitamin E has been linked to an increase in prostate cancer and hemorrhagic strokes. But lots of people are willing to take their chances in pursuit of beauty, and I totally understand that. If you’re that kind of person you might also want to look into DHEA. DHEA is a pill and has been studied in relation to improving the skin and I will reveal those studies in a future blog along with much more. Stay tuned. Subscribe!
Topical Vitamin C: Traikovich SS. Use of topical ascorbic acid and its effects on photodamaged skin topography. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999;125:1091-1098.
Fuchs J, Kern H. Modulation of UV-light-induced skin inflammation by D-alpha-tocopherol and L-ascorbic acid: a clinical study using solar simulated radiation. Free Radic Biol Med 1998;25:1006-
Eberlein-Konig B, Placzek M, Przybilla B. Protective effect against sunburn of combined systemic ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and d-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). J Am Acad Dermatol 1998;38:45-