June 2016

Skin vitamins

The basics of vitamins for the skin

There is a good chance that your skin is not getting enough nutrients. Cosmetic chemist Richard Parker gives crash course on what vitamins he needs and how to increase his supply


Retinol, retinyl palmitate, and retinaldehyde are all forms of vitamin A that stimulate collagen, unclog pores, and minimize discoloration and fine lines. Cosmetic chemist Richard Parker says retinol is the most popular, but can irritate the skin, while retinaldehyde is the most active and works on most skin types.

Find it in: The skin drying effects of retinol are countered by an ingredient in the Advanced Retinol Eye Treatment StriVectin-AR ($ 86, (02) 9663 4277).


Vitamin B includes a group of different but related vitamins, and Parker recommends focusing on two: vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to protect the skin’s immune cells, strengthen the outer layers of the skin, help control pigmentation, and improve elasticity; and moisturizing vitamin B5, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Find it in: SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel ($ 118.15, 1800 242 011) can be used on dry areas all over the body.


L-ascorbic acid is a form of vitamin C that works on collagen production and pigmentation. Parker says he is looking for “formulations containing oil soluble ascorbic acid because it is very stable and acts as an antioxidant, collagen booster and moisturizer.”

Find it in: Medik8 CE-Tetra Serum ($ 135.70, 1800 242 011) helps reverse the signs of skin aging and protect against further damage.


Vitamin D is delivered to the body through the skin and helps strengthen bones and the immune system. Even though the deficiency rates of this vitamin are high, daily sunscreen is essential. “Look for sunscreens that contain provitamin D,” Parker says. “It increases the skin’s vitamin D levels when activated by the sun.”

Find it in: Rational Photo’s Dynamic Light Activated Day Cream ($ 162, 1800 350 821) positively uses the harsh rays of our sun.


Parker says the eight forms of vitamin E in the skin work as powerful antioxidants, helping to prevent skin cancer and regulate pigmentation. “A good topical antioxidant should contain all eight alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols, and the corresponding tocotrienols.”

Find it in: SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex ($ 135, 1800 648 851) is packed with added vitamins and antioxidants.


Vitamin F is the collective name for the skin’s own essential fatty acids, which keep the skin supple. “The most important are gamma-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, and a quality moisturizer should contain both, ideally in the form of starflower oil, which is nature’s richest source of essential fatty acids. “says Parker.

Find it in: Chantecaille Flower Harmonizing Cream ($ 149, helps soothe skin with algae, vitamins, essential oils and flowers.

For bonus beauty points

These extra extras give the skin an even bigger boost

• Peptides: These tiny proteins train your skin to activate the correct response to keep it healthy. Try the HydroPeptide Soothing Serum ($ 190,

• Antioxidants: This describes any ingredient that reduces free radical damage to the skin. Try Racinne Essentialift Supplement Serum ($ 49,

• Glycans: These messenger molecules facilitate communication between cells in different layers of the skin, prompting them to produce collagen. Artificially increasing glycan levels or reprogramming aging glycans in older skin can encourage it to look younger. Try the YSL Forever Youth Liberator Serum ($ 120, 1300 651 991).

• Hydroxy Acids: Alpha (glycolic, lactic and citric) and beta (salicylic) hydroxy acids exfoliate the skin to keep it smooth. Try the Avon Anew Alpha Peel-Off Face Mask ($ 24.99, 1,800,646,000).

• Ceramides: These natural barrier lipids keep the skin supple. Try (5) Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum ($ 125 for 60 capsules,

All the products featured in this article are selected by our editors, who do not play favorites. If you buy something, we can get a share of the sale. Learn more.

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