How Does Vitamin Deficiency Affect the Skin?

A vitamin deficiency can affect the skin in a variety of ways, from skin irritation to more serious ailments. Certain vitamins in particular, like vitamin D, make a big impact on overall skin health.

If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency of any kind, consult a medical professional for advice. Deficiencies can usually be treated by increasing your intake of key vitamins through dietary changes and sometimes supplements. Occasionally, however, they can be a sign of more serious medical issues. 

Below, we’ll look at how different vitamin deficiencies affect the skin in depth, as well as ways to find relief if you’re experiencing skin issues.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for skin health, but vitamin D deficiencies are very common. In fact, 77% of Americans are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D can affect the skin in many ways. It can cause dry, itchy skin and has even been linked to chronic skin conditions. Ichthyosis, a condition that causes severe dry skin, is associated with low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies are also common among people with chronic acne.

Vitamin Deficiency Affect the Skin

Vitamin D primarily comes from sunlight and foods like fortified cereals, milks, and fatty fish. It can be hard to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from diet alone. Also, in many parts of the world, sunlight exposure may be limited.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s vital to keeping your skin strong. It helps your skin recover after UV exposure especially, so vitamin E deficiency can have a serious impact on your skin’s health.

Blisters are a common result of vitamin E deficiency. Blisters associated with vitamin deficiencies do not have a clear cause and tend to appear around sensitive areas like the mouth. Vitamin E deficiencies can also cause hot flushes, which is sudden warmth and reddening of the skin on the torso that spreads up and down the body.

While vitamin E deficiencies can sometimes be treated with dietary changes and supplements, in some cases a vitamin E deficiency can be caused by serious underlying disorders like Crohn’s disease or liver disease. If you have symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency, talk to your doctor.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps speed up the skin’s healing and supports the skin’s immune system. Vitamin A deficiencies can have a profound impact on the skin.

Vitamin A deficiencies can cause scaly skin and can also worsen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They can also cause the skin to become dry and itchy.

Dietary changes can help you get more vitamin A. Fish oils, egg yolks, liver, and butter are rich in vitamin A, and you can also find dairy products fortified with vitamin A. However, as with vitamin E deficiencies, vitamin A deficiencies can sometimes be a sign of serious underlying medical issues.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C supports immune functions and wound healing. It helps skin stay strong and firm and also minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C deficiencies can have profound effects on your skin’s appearance and health.

Vitamin C deficiencies can cause rough skin, easy bruising, and skin tears. In extreme cases, a vitamin C deficiency can cause a condition known as jaundice, which is characterized by yellowish discoloration of the skin.

Vitamin Deficiency Affect the Skin

However, jaundice can be caused by several serious medical conditions, including liver issues, so it’s important to seek medical evaluation if you notice any symptoms.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, has a big role in cell metabolism, which is vital to healthy skin. A vitamin B3 deficiency can cause a disorder known as pellagra, which adversely affects the skin in a variety of ways.

Pellagra causes itchy skin and red skin lesions, mostly in sun exposed areas. It may also cause glove-like lesions on the hands and boot-like lesions on the feet. In addition to adverse effects on the skin, pellagra can also cause hair loss.

However, pellagra is rare in developed countries. It’s usually caused by a diet high in maize, which is a poor source of vitamin B3. However, if you notice any of the above symptoms, you should seek medical evaluation.

Vitamin B6

Important for a variety of enzymatic reactions, vitamin B6 is vital to skin regeneration and healing. Deficiencies can cause several noticeable changes to the skin.

Inflammation is a common sign of a vitamin B6 deficiency. You may notice greasy skin or red rashes. In severe causes, a vitamin B6 deficiency can cause numbness and prickling in the feet and hands.  

Luckily, vitamin B6 deficiencies are relatively uncommon. However, malnutrition and diseases like alcoholism can result in vitamin B6 deficiencies and other serious health issues. That’s why it’s important to seek medical guidance if you notice any of the above symptoms.

Treating Vitamin Deficiencies

Many vitamin deficiencies are common and easy to treat with simple lifestyle changes. Overall, the best thing you can do to promote skin health is adopt a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals is a great way to treat or prevent deficiencies. High fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains help you get adequate nutrients. As fish oils often come packed with important vitamins, try to incorporate more seafood into your diet.

However, as previously stated, some vitamins – vitamin D in particular – aren’t easy to get through diet alone. In these cases, you may need to talk to your doctor about a daily supplement. You should never start taking supplements without seeking medical advice first, however.

You may also want to treat the symptoms of vitamin deficiencies if they’re causing you discomfort. Dry, itchy skin can be uncomfortable to live with, but can be treated using natural oils. We recommend Delfina Dry Skin Oil.

Developed by a physician several decades ago, Delfina Dry Skin Oil treats dehydration of the skin cells by penetrating skin layers to stimulate hydration and nutrition. Learn more about how Delfina works here and see before-and-after pictures from other psoriasis sufferers here.

Conclusion

Vitamin deficiencies can affect all aspects of your health, including your skin’s health. Symptoms like dry, itchy skin as well as bruising, scaling, and wrinkling are often linked to vitamin deficiencies.

Vitamin deficiencies are fairly common, especially vitamin D deficiencies, and can usually be treated with lifestyle changes and dietary supplements. However, in some cases, vitamin deficiencies can be signs of underlying health issues, which is why it’s important to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing severe symptoms.

We understand how difficult it is to deal with skin issues like dry, itchy skin – and why finding the right treatment is important. If you have any questions about dry skin treatments or Delfina Dry Skin Oil, do not hesitate to reach out!