The Best Vitamins for Hair, Skin and Nails

Vitamins are nutrients that perform vital functions in the body. Among other things, vitamins are needed to strengthen and maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails. In this capacity, some vitamins are more important than others. Vitamins C, E and B are three key vitamins needed in ensuring healthy skin, hair and nails.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the skin by working as an antioxidant, which help prevent damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of sunlight, smoking and pollution, among other things. Sunlight can be very harmful to the skin. Free radicals from sunlight can harm the skin by damaging collagen and elastin, fibers that form the structure of the skin. Because vitamin C is a free radical, it aids in preventing free radicals from damaging the body, including the skin. This includes reducing wrinkles, improving skin texture, and even reducing the risk of skin cancer.

Vitamin C is also important in maintaining nail growth. A lack of vitamin C can cause hangnails. The Institute of Medicine recommends you take between 75 and 90 mg of vitamin C daily. This vitamin is found in many foods including citrus fruits.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, so it works the same way as Vitamin C. Both vitamins C and E are antioxidants, and combined, they can drastically reduce skin damage caused by sunlight. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, taking 400 IU of Vitamin E daily can both reduce the risk of damage to skin cells and reduce the production of cancer-causing cells. In addition, if used topically, Vitamin E can aid skin dry or rough skin.

Vitamin E can also help hair growth. Vitamin E improves circulation throughout the body, including the scalp. This helps promote hair growth and prevents hair from becoming dry and brittle. The Institute of Medicine recommends 15 mg of vitamin E daily for adults. Vitamin E can be found in fortified cereals, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin B Complex

Two B vitamins, biotin and niacin, are important in maintaining healthy skin and nails. Biotin forms the foundation skin cells. A lack of biotin can cause dermatitis, an itchy skin reaction, as well as fragility and dryness in the nails. Biotin also helps strengthen hair and can be found in many hair products. A biotin deficiency can cause hair loss.

Niacin helps to retain moisture in the skin and also works as an anti-inflammatory to soothe irritated skin. Topical Vitamin B can dramatically improve skin aging according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Biotin is produced naturally by the body, so most people have proper levels. It is also found in foods, such as bananas, eggs, oatmeal and rice. Niacin can be found in meat, fish, milk, and green vegetables.

About this Author

Andrew Sheldon is a writer from New York. His writing focuses on health and exercise, but he is knowledgeable in various other areas. Sheldon has published articles on and other online health and fitness publications. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science degree.