Struggling with dark spots and discoloration on your skin? You’re not alone — it’s an incredibly common occurrence that can happen with hormonal changes (like pregnancy), as well as exposure to UV rays and certain medications. If you have spots on your skin that bother you, your first step should always be visiting a board-certified dermatologist who can assess the spots, make sure they aren’t anything more serious than an aesthetic concern, and discuss ways to remedy the concern. Your best solution might be a laser you’ve never considered — or a topical cream with a powerful ingredient that your doctor believes can help and can prescribe to you.
But if you’re interested in making a few subtle changes to your diet that can help you avoid dark spots and discoloration, look no further than essential vitamins and minerals that experts say are excellent for your health and also important for healthy skin. Dr. Firdous Ibrahim, trichologist and aesthetic physician & MD of Aesthetic Visions Clinic, recommends these five vitamins for discoloration and dark spots on your skin.
“Vitamin A is an antioxidant that helps to repair damage and improve cell turnover which can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots,” Dr. Ibrahim says.
Foods that contain an abundance of vitamin A include leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, milk, eggs, and red bell peppers.
“Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help to brighten the skin and even out skin tone,” Dr. Ibrahim says says. “It can help to reduce inflammation and redness, and also help to brighten your skin tone. Vitamin C can also help to protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and lead to premature aging.”
You guessed it: you’ll find loads of vitamin C in citrus fruits, as well as bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and even white potatoes.
As a fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin E is best taken along with a low-fat food (like yogurt, for example). You can get your fill of this nutrient in almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, and beets. “Vitamin E is one nutrient that is essential for maintaining healthy skin,” Dr. Ibrahim says. “It helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, and also helps to improve skin tone.”
“Vitamin B3 can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and improve overall skin tone,” Dr. Ibrahim says. “It helps improve skin tone by working to prevent the breakdown of collagen, a protein that gives our skin its elasticity and strength. Vitamin B3 also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and can even help protect against sun damage.”
Get your B3 in foods like red meat, poultry, legumes, and nuts and seeds.
“Vitamin B12 helps improve skin tone by working to create new skin cells,” Dr. Ibrahim says. “It also helps to keep existing skin cells healthy and functioning properly. Additionally, vitamin B12 helps the body to better absorb other nutrients that are essential for healthy skin, including vitamins A and C.”
Vitamin B12 is often found in meat, fish, and dairy products. If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet and suspect you could have a B12 deficiency, check with your doctor if a supplement can help you.
Lastly, there are two more minerals that Dr. Ibrahim says recommends: niacinamide and lycopene.
“Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that can help to even out skin tone,” Dr. Ibrahim says. “Lycopene is a carotenoid that can help to reduce inflammation and improve overall skin health. These nutrients are helpful because they can help to repair damage, brighten the skin, and even out skin tone. They can also help to reduce inflammation and improve overall skin health. These vitamins are helpful for reducing the appearance of dark spots and improving overall skin tone because they help to speed up the turnover of skin cells, protect the skin from damage, and brighten the skin.”
Skin creams and serums are great — and the advice of a dermatologist is indispensable. But one change you can make today is adding more skin-loving vitamins and minerals to your diet for a brighter skin tone.