Vitamin deficiency and dry skin can, quite literally, go hand in hand. The appropriate dosages of different vitamins and nutrients are essential for proper health, and inadequate supplies of certain vitamins can result in dry skin.
Defining Dry Skin
Dry skin can be as simple as slightly rough or itchy skin, or it could be a more severe condition creating cracks, redness, peeling, pain, or a burning sensation. In severe cases, lesions may appear or the skin could begin scaling.
While simple vitamin deficiencies are not necessarily the cause behind severe dry skin, understanding which vitamins are necessary for healthy skin can help individuals afflicted with skin conditions plan a diet to keep their skin healthy.
Vitamins Essential for Healthy Skin
Several vitamins and nutrients are necessary for healthy, well-moisturized skin. Vitamin A – both the retinol and beta carotene forms – is the most essential, but proper skin health results from the proper balance of several vitamins.
Vitamin A was first discovered in 1913 and today it is known to be important for several health issues. Vitamin A not only contributes to proper cell growth and repair, particularly of skin cells, but is also essential for strengthening night vision, assisting bone growth, and regulating the immune system. A deficiency of Vitamin A can lead not only to dry skin but also to dry hair, broken fingernails, and dry eyes.
The recommended daily dosage of Vitamin A varies from 300 to 1,300 micrograms (1,000 to 4,300 IUs) based on age and other health factors such as pregnancy. While the beta carotene form of Vitamin A can easily be absorbed in much greater amounts, too much of the retinol Vitamin A can result in nausea, dry skin, headaches, and other symptoms.