If vitamins are the micronutrients our body needs in order to function, then it’s only logical that using the best vitamins for your skin can have a profound effect on your appearance.
But vitamins have not always been vitamins. Let’s back up for a minute: Until the 1900s, no one had any idea there was such a thing. Then a Polish biochemist named Casimir Funk (yes, the best name ever, we know) came along. He was studying beriberi disease, and realized all the sufferers were deficient in what’s now called vitamin B1 or thiamine. Casmir coined the term himself: After realizing these nutrients were essential to human function, he chose the name “vital amines,” with vital coming from the root word “vita” meaning “life” in Latin. But more than a century later, trying to figure out what each vitamin actually does — and which ones are best for you — can still feel a bit like wading through a bowl of alphabet soup.
If you’re deciding which ones to ingest, we suggest consulting a doctor or nutritionist. But if you’re looking to figure out the difference between a vitamin C serum and a vitamin A-derived retinol cream, knowing the benefits of each can empower you to make the best choice for your skin.
And choices abound. Vitamin-enriched skin-care products can protect against free-radical damage, treat fine lines and wrinkles, and lessen hyperpigmentation. Basically, there’s a vitamin out there for every one of your skin concerns — you just have to know which one provides which benefits.
That’s why we dedicated the fifth episode of The Science of Beauty to the best vitamins for your skin. Our guest, Frauke Neuser, principal scientist and senior director, scientific communications at Olay, got hosts Michelle Lee and Jenny Bailly looking at the vitamin alphabet in a whole new way — and now you will, too.