B is for B Vitamins

Vitamin B is another vitamin (or group of vitamins) that’s vital to good skin health. As part of

my series of vitamin-based blog posts, here’s my guide to the role of ‘B’ vitamins in keeping

your skin healthy and looking great.

There are actually eight B vitamins;

• Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

• Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

• Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

• Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

• Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

• Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)

• Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Although you probably know about some of the benefits optimum levels of B vitamins can

have on your health, did you know that they also have beneficial effects on our looks, from

keeping skin looking good through to building stronger nails and hair?

Studies have also highlighted vitamin B’s important role in skin care – adding it to some

skincare products has been shown to help prevent the effects of ageing. In particular, B3

(Niacin) has been proven to have antioxidant benefits along with anti-wrinkle, and skin

brightening properties. Topical application of niacin can help to improve and protect the

skin barrier, which helps make the skin look younger, too.

All of the B vitamins have great health and beauty benefits; and although it can be used in

topical skincare, supplements are a common way to boost your intake. Back in 2005, the

University of Maryland Medical Centre carried out some research into B vitamins, which

showed that taking vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) in supplement form helped to lower

people’s triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which had a knock-on effect on their skin health.

Niacin may be good for other skin conditions, too. In a double-blind trial carried out by

the State University of New York, applying a 4 percent niacinamide gel twice a day for two

months resulted in measurable improvements to symptoms of acne. Niacin also promotes

faster healing when it’s used in combination with vitamin C, and is known to help reduce the

effects of acne by helping the body to break down triglycerides and cholesterol.

The range of B vitamins are all easy to get from a healthy, balanced diet. Some of the best

sources are:

• milk

• cheese

• eggs

• chicken and red meat

• tuna, mackerel, and salmon

• shellfish

• dark green vegetables, spinach and kale

• avocados, and potatoes

• whole grains and cereals

• kidney beans and chickpeas

• nuts and seeds

• fruits, including citrus, banana, and watermelon

• soy products, such as soy milk and tempeh

• blackstrap molasses

• wheat germ

• yeast and nutritional yeast.

There’s also a range of supplements available, some especially formulated for skin, nails and

hair, and of course Alumier MD, the skincare range I stock at my skin clinic in Needham

Market, includes some lovely products containing niacin – like the Ultimate Boost Serum

and the Sensicalm cleanser. Ask me for more advice on the range or skin care in general.

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