The vitamin alphabet: what are the cosmetic properties of vitamins?

Others by Nicky Trynide


It is highly unlikely that there is a cosmetic product that does not contain any vitamins. Each of the vitamins has a different effect and can occur in various forms and concentrations. What are the properties of vitamins A, B, E, F and K?

Vitamin A

Most often vitamin A can be found in the form of retinol or its derivatives. It improves the appearance of the skin which gains elasticity and rejuvenation. Why? It is because the vitamin affects the synthesis of collagen and elastin, thus improves the firmness and elasticity of the skin and smoothes small wrinkles. In addition, vitamin A neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals, so it delays the aging process. Also, it reduces discoloration and unclogs pores due to its exfoliating properties. Vitamin A stimulates the regeneration of the upper layers of the skin.

Products with vitamin A are intended for mature, acne, tired, gray or damaged skin. Vitamin A sensitizes it to UV rays, which contributes to discoloration. For this reason, the cosmetics with vitamin A should be used before bedtime or simultaneously with some kind of sun protection. What is more, products with retinol should have additional moisturising ingredients because vitamin A regulates the secretion of sebum and thus – has a drying effect.

Vitamin B

Out of all B-group vitamins, vitamin B5 deserves special attention. In particular, pantothenic acid and its derivative: d-panthenol. Vitamin B stimulates cell division, prevents wrinkles, accelerates wound healing and soothes irritation. Cosmetics with vitamin B improve the condition of dry skin – they make it smooth and elastic. When it comes to the hair care, the vitamin protects the hair from mechanical damage, split ends and premature greying. Vitamine B5 and its derivatives are relatively durable and absorb easily.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C neutralizes oxygen free radicals. In the deeper layers of skin, the vitamin stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin and improves microcirculation. It also exfoliates the skin and brightens freckles and discolorations. Products with vitamin C are a great choice for mature, tired and floppy skin. In addition, they reduce acne.

Vitamin E

This vitamin neutralizes free radicals and thus protects from oxidation and destruction of collagen and elastin fibers of the skin. In addition, it stimulates and nourishes the skin and improves blood circulation and the elasticity of connective tissue. Vitamin E smoothes, firms and moisturises the skin, this way delaying the skin aging process. Additionally, the vitamin has anti-inflammatory properties and can bind free radicals.

Vitamin E can be found in many cosmetics designed for all ages and skin types, such as creams, body lotions, cleansing milks, lipsticks, nail care products and sunscreens. It needs to be noted that the effects heavily rely on the concentration:

  • concentration of up to 1.5% – only protective function, mainly against unsaturated acids;
  • concentration of 1.5-3% – exhibits its most important properties;
  • concentration of 5% – provides protection from the sun.

Vitamin F

Vitamin F is a mixture of essential unsaturated fatty acids: linolic acid, linolenic acid and arachidonic acid. They are easily absorbed by the skin and renew its lipid layer. Also, vitamin F facilitates the absorption of other vitamins contained in cosmetics that dissolve in fats, such as A, D, E and K. In addition, it accelerates the regeneration of skin tissue and restores the skin’s proper pH level. Vitamin F leaves the skin moisturised and nourished.

Vitamin F is an important ingredient in creams and body lotions for dry skin because it improves its condition. It is added to shampoos and hair conditioners for dry and damaged hair. It can also be found in nail polish removers and nail polishes because it nourishes the nail plate. Vitamin F is also a component of cosmetics for children, liquid soaps and foam baths.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is famous for its anti-haemorrhagic properties as it affects blood coagulability. It also seals blood vessels and prevents bruising. It lightens skin redness and soothes irritations. Vitamin K is a very important component of cosmetics intended for the care of couperose skin, especially in combination with vitamins C and E.

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About the Author
Nicky Trynide

is a professional make up artist whose work has graced the runway and the red carpet as well as national and international television shows and magazines. Nicky credits his long and successful career in the industry to his innate ability to see and bring out the beauty in everyone. Growing up, his passion for his future profession was sparked by his mother and two grandmothers, all European-trained estheticians

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