Go to the nearest drug store in search of B vitamins and you'll discover there are many — eight different classes, to be exact! That makes using vitamin B for skin a little more complicated, so let's break it down.
Here's your guide to vitamin B benefits, how the different B vitamins affect your skin and where to get a healthy dose of vitamin B every day.
Vitamin B benefits for skin
While all of these B vitamins work with enzymes to support your body's functions in a variety of ways — from transporting nutrients throughout the body to releasing energy from carbs and fats — they each have benefits all on their own.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Thiamine is good for red, irritated, acne-prone or dry skin. It also improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): B2 can help improve skin tone, make skin more radiant and balance natural oils, making these great vitamins for dry skin or acne.
- Vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid or niacinamide): Vitamin B3 supports your skin's natural defenses. It helps protect against environmental stressors and improves the look and feel of mature, dry and sensitive skin.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Struggling with dry skin, dullness or loss of elasticity? B5 is a great option for keeping skin feeling hydrated and supple. Pantothenic acid also balances skin and calms the appearance of redness and inflammation.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): This B vitamin helps diminish the effects of hormonal imbalance, which can lead to acne breakouts. Use B6 to take on hormonal acne, inflammation and redness.
- Vitamin B7 (biotin): Biotin gives skin a naturally revitalized appearance, making it well-suited to dull and aging skin.
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate): B9 lends skin a purified feeling. Give it a try if you experience frequent acne or congestion.
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): B12 boosts the radiance of dull and mature skin. This B vitamin also helps to diminish the look of dark spots and uneven skin tone.
The B vitamins most commonly used in skincare are niacin, panthenol and biotin. Niacin often makes an appearance in its other form, known as niacinamide, in face masks and creams to improve the look of enlarged pores, fine lines and dullness. You've probably seen panthenol, which is made from pantothenic acid, on hair care labels, but this ingredient is also used in skincare to moisturize dry, flaky skin. Biotin makes an appearance in many beauty products for hair, nails and skin.
Foods with vitamin B for skin
The various B vitamins come from different sources and have distinct chemical makeups. However, different compounds often occur side by side in some foods and supplements. When a supplement contains all eight compounds, it's considered B-complex.
B1 is found in a long list of foods, including white rice, tuna and sunflower seeds. You'll spot B2 in oats, yogurt and kidney beans. Get your niacin from chicken, lentils and bananas, and incorporate shiitake mushrooms, chickpeas and cabbage into your diet for B5. B6 comes from bulgur, nuts and raisins. B7 biotin-rich foods include eggs, spinach and milk, while folate can be found in asparagus, romaine and peas. To round out the list — and your plate — high levels of B12 appear in fish, poultry and milk.
A well-rounded diet of healthy whole foods should provide adequate vitamin B benefits. But how much is enough, and when is it time to supplement?
If you feel you aren't getting the daily recommended value of each of the B compounds, it may be time to supplement with a B-complex. While experts say it's best to get your B vitamins from food sources, if your diet doesn't include enough or you're deficient in one of the B vitamins then supplementing could be a reasonable option. Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement, and make sure to purchase from a reliable vendor.
Who knew all those Bs were a path to A+ skin? The next time you're wondering what to eat, pull out a list of vitamin B-rich foods to nourish your health and your skin.
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