With endless vitamins that assist our body with skin health, come different types of applications. There are two main ways of absorbing vitamins into the body: topically and orally. Should you apply or ingest vitamins for skin?

Which is right for you?

It’s always best to consult with your doctor, dermatologist, or specialist to determine how you should be getting your daily dose of vitamins for skin health. Whether you apply or ingest them depends on the specific vitamin itself. This is Skincare + Science. 

Applying Vitamins Topically


  • A serum is a highly-concentrated formula that delivers vitamins and minerals to the skin quickly and efficiently. Serums are applied before moisturizers and work best after exfoliating. Only one or two drops are necessary.
  • Serums are often formulated to help short-term skin issues such as redness or to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. This means that results may change after discontinuation of use.

❗Test your serum out on a small patch of skin prior to use to ensure you don’t have any allergic reactions. The risk is low, but possible due to the high concentration of vitamins.

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Sun Exposure/Tanning

  • Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is the only vitamin that humans can absorb through our skin from the sun or the use of UV lights.
  • Safe sun exposure is one of the easiest and best ways to increase your vitamin D levels.


Ingesting Vitamins

Knowing which vitamins are water soluble and fat soluble will determine how they affect you when ingested and how long they stay in your body. These two types of vitamins are absorbed into the bloodstream differently.

Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K.

  • Are stored in your fat
  • Are absorbed best through your body’s fatty tissue and liver
  • Can stay in your body’s bloodstream for up to 6 months
  • Can be taken with food or found in food for best absorption

🚩Danger: While unlikely, since fat-soluble vitamins do not easily leave the bloodstream and are stored in fat, it is possible to take too much. Taking over the recommended amount of fat-soluble vitamins can result in toxicity.

Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins B and C.

  • Are not stored in your bloodstream
  • Your body eliminates unneeded vitamins through urine
  • Need to be replenished frequently
  • Absorbed into the body quickly


  • Dietary supplements contain a powdered, ground, or liquid form of the vitamin inside of a capsule. Supplement bottles contain an informational label on the back with nutritional information and dosage instructions. Your doctor may prescribe or recommend different dosages depending on your deficiencies or needs.
  • A quick way to get your necessary vitamins with proper measurement.
  • Usually a “short term” solution to overall nutritional health.
  • Vitamin supplements are not intended to diagnose or treat any sort of illness. Many brands are not FDA-approved (check the label to find out).

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  • Getting vitamins through your daily diet is a critical way to ensure that your skin is receiving its proper nutrients. Throughout this article, we will mention foods that are high in the vitamins listed.
  • In fact, studies have shown that there are benefits we receive from food that we would not get with taking vitamin supplements.
  • Improving nutrient intake is directly linked to improved skin aging.
    • This study noted that oral supplements alone are not enough to improve your skin.
  • Deciding to change your lifestyle and diet to improve your skin health and the effects of aging is a long-term process that involves dedication.
  • While receiving vitamins to improve your skin via food intake is recommended, there is still room for further research. It is unknown the exact length of time and in what capacity our metabolism will process the vitamins for them to reach the skin.

healthy diet for skin health

Serums, Sun, Supplements, or Sustenance?

There is no one correct answer for the best method of absorbing vitamins into your body. For example, much of the answer depends on what vitamin you are deficient in or what symptoms you’d like to fix.

Take, for example, being deficient in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. For treating inflammation, topical applications for vitamin D can be prescribed by a doctor or OTC. But if your body is heavily deficient in vitamin D, a doctor may prescribe a clinical supplement. If you fall somewhere in the middle, a little sun exposure and changing your diet may be a great addition to your lifestyle.

Cheat Sheet:

Serums = For treating visible skin concerns and improving the appearance

Sun = For increasing vitamin D (remember to use sunscreen!)

Supplements = For fixing a short-term deficiency, skin concerns, and maintaining optimal skin health if your diet is not sufficient.

Food = Getting vitamins from food is a great way to ensure that you’re reaping the full benefits of what you put into your body. The better our diet, the better vitamins are able to be absorbed.

Take Control of Your Complexion Today

If you’re interested in taking supplements, changing your diet, or using serums to help with skin health, it’s best to consult with your doctor or medical professional to ensure no drug interactions or allergies occur.

Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K are building blocks to a clear complexion and controlling signs of aging. Vitamin supplements or serums can be a great addition to your skincare routine. Take some time and consider whether applying or ingesting vitamins for skin health is right for you.

What we consume daily directly impacts the quality and clarity of our skin. If you’re breaking out, experiencing dryness, oiliness, aging effects, or many more symptoms, this may be an opportunity to take control.

Abington Center Medi Spa is a medical spa near Scranton, PA, that aims to help you reach your cosmetic goals with non-invasive medi spa treatments in a comfortable, relaxing environment.