Introduction

Vitamins consist of a mixed group of chemical substances that all occur in nature. Different from most other cosmetic ingredients, they are essential nutrients playing key roles in the metabolism of all human organs, including the largest human organ, the skin. The skin is often the first indicator of a dietary deficiency in one or more vitamins.

Laboratory and clinical studies have shown beneficial effects to the skin for some of the 13 vitamins when topically applied. This scientific evidence is the platform for the incorporation of this substance group in all kinds of cosmetic products.

The most widely used vitamins in cosmetics and toiletries are vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, and panthenol (provitamin B5). Vitamin E and vitamin C are antioxidants. They neutralize unstable oxygen molecules, the free radicals, thereby preventing the damage these highly reactive substances can cause to the skin. Vitamin A has shown to be effective in preventing, retarding, and restoring changes associated with the aging process, such as dry and scaly skin, photodamage, and the formation of wrinkles. Panthenol is incorporated into skin- hair- lip- and nailcare products mainly for its moisturizing property. In addition, panthenol has wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Although not cosmetic properties, these are welcome side effects, in particular when cosmetics are applied to slightly damaged skin.

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