Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
5 min read
We all know the value of healthy skin. You feel better. You look better. It’s your body’s largest organ, after all.
But changes to your skin are a natural part of any life. As we get older, we can end up seeing dark spots on our skin when we look in the mirror. This is very normal; if you’re noticing some dark spots, there’s no need to fret. Such spots are often the result of overactive pigment cells, which can be activated by aging and UV rays. Oxidative stress, too, tends to increase as we age.
While dark spots are nothing to worry about, you may be looking for ways to lessen or alleviate them. Fortunately, there are some vitamins that can help.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, found abundantly in leafy greens and synthesized in your large intestine. While there haven’t been many studies into the effect of vitamin K on dark spots specifically, there is research to suggest its benefits for skin. Vitamin K plays a key role in the body’s process of blood clotting, which helps mend wounds, bruises, and areas affected by surgery. One study found that patients experiencing skin scarring who were treated with oral vitamin K saw greatly reduced healing times compared to the control group. Topical vitamin K, too, has been shown to support wound healing and may also play a role in developing collagen. Furthermore, one study demonstrated that vitamin K has potent antioxidant properties, which can play a role in relieving oxidative stress and supporting skin health. While some maintain that vitamin K can address dark spots, more research is needed. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that’s naturally present in many foods, most notably fruits and vegetables. It’s added to other foods and is available as a popular supplement. It’s also been shown to be helpful for promoting skin health, which is why it’s found in a number of skin care products. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it helps manage harmful free radicals – including those activated by skin-damaging sun exposure. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also helps regulate collagen synthesis, and, in concert with vitamin E, it helps provide photoprotection – meaning it helps your body heal molecular damage caused by sunlight. It does this by helping restore the skin’s ascorbate levels.
When it comes to dark spots on the skin, specifically, vitamin C plays a role in inhibiting melanin synthesis. Since dark spots are often the result of your body’s creating more melanin than it should, vitamin C can play a role in reducing melanin and preventing the appearance of dark spots. A study also found that higher intakes of vitamin C – in conjunction with other positive steps, including more linoleic acid intake and reduced fat intake – was associated with better skin health. Care/of’s Vitamin C is available as a 30-day supply and designed for maximum absorption. The RDA for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.
“Vitamin E” refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds with antioxidant properties. Vitamin E is richly available through dietary sources, including nuts, spinach, and whole grains. Because of its function in combating free radicals and protecting the skin from UV rays, it’s been used for more than five decades in dermatology. With an RDA of 15 mg, it’s also one of the most abundant lipid soluble antioxidants in human beings. It works synergistically with vitamin C to promote skin health, and studies have shown it to have photoprotective properties. That’s why vitamin E oil is such a popular skin supplement. Oral vitamin E intake can thin your blood. You should talk to a medical professional about vitamin E supplementation while taking other medications.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an endogenously synthesized lipid-soluble antioxidant that’s essential for energy production in your cells. It’s available in organ meats and in supplement form.
CoQ10 diminishes with age and under the influence of external skin stressors, such as UV rays. Fortunately, studies have shown that topical CoQ10 is beneficial for skin health, in that it reduces free radicals and enhances the skin’s antioxidant capacity. Studies have also shown that topical CoQ10 has anti-aging effects for skin because of the way it enhances mitochondrial function in the skin.
Besides using the supplements listed above, there are other ways to treat and prevent dark spots on your skin. Prevention is ideal. Use sunblock, limit sun exposure, and use clothing that prevents UV rays from harming your skin. Exercise extra caution in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., which is when UV rays are at their strongest.
Some tweaks in your diet can go a long way, too. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants: This will help fight free radicals and keep your skin healthy. Vitamin A derivatives and topical vitamin C can help improve photodamaged skin. You can also consider Care/of’s Superberry powder, which boasts anti-aging and skin-supporting properties. Similarly, ceramides have been shown to improve skin hydration, smoothness, and elasticity, especially when used in combination with collagen; check out Care/of’s 30-day supply.
Getting enough water is always important, for a variety of reasons. Staying hydrated is good for your skin, too. If you’re a smoker, try cutting back or quitting altogether, since smoking can contribute to dark spots.
Talk to your dermatologist about your skin routine, especially if you’re noticing more dark spots or if they’re worsening.
Dark spots after age 50 aren’t unusual at all. Your skin health changes as you age. Still, incorporating the vitamins listed above can help support your skin health and possibly address those dark spots. Furthermore, there are some lifestyle tweaks that can go a long way.