Synthetic vs. Natural Vitamins in Skin Care

Synthetic vs Natural Vitamins in Skin Care – which is Better for your skin.

Does it matter to your skin if you are using Synthetic vs Natural vitamins in skin care? For good health and great skin Vitamins and Minerals are very important but did you know that most supplements that you purchase are synthetic even in skincare.  When it comes to the body the scientist is still fighting among themselves and it is very controversial with conflicting results. For example, there are many people who cannot absorb the natural Vitamin B found in leafy greens but who can absorb synthetic Vitamin B in a tablet form perfectly well. Part of the nutritional debate is that many synthetic vitamins lack the transporters and co-factors associated with naturally occurring vitamins because they have been “isolated and manufactured to be a pure vitamin.

Please note that the vitamins in your skincare only penetrate into the skin and are used by the skin cells and they do not flow into the bodies blood stream. As this article is not about the nutritional value of vitamins to the body but about vitamins in our skincare. This article looks at  Synthetic vs natural vitamins and if one is better than the other when applied to the skin. It is probably most accurate to say, “sometimes natural vitamins are better, sometimes synthetic vitamins are better and sometimes it makes no difference at all”.

Patented Synthetic Vitamins.

If you were to ask a Chemist, they would tell you that as far as chemical composition, there is no difference between synthetic vs natural vitamins as long as the synthetic is naturally identical.  If the vitamin has been modified to enable the company to obtain a patient then this can affect its ability to be used by the skin cells. Many companies modify a compound to enable them to gain a patent and have a commercial edge over their competitors but unfortunately, the body or skin may not recognize the compound. The easiest way to modify a compound like a vitamin is to modify one of its appendages and stitch it back on in a different place. It is like cutting your thumb off and then sewing it back on next to the little finger. You would still have a hand with 4 fingers and a thumb but not in the correct configuration. The skin cells would not recognize the new format and reject the vitamin thus not giving the results that you want to see from your skincare.
Naturally Identical Synthetic vs Natural Vitamins in Cosmetics

As the skin does not need the transporters and co-factors associated with naturally occurring vitamins then a skincare can use either naturally identical synthetic or natural vitamins.  What is important to the skin is the delivery method to the correct skin cells at need the vitamins. It is important that the formula enables the vitamins to penetrate the layers of the skin and not be destroyed by the acid mantel of the outer skin layer.

Read: Do Cosmetic Ingredients penetrate skin

Read: Why to pay more for encapsulated Active ingredients in skincare.

Will Natural Vitamins in Cosmetics give you better results?

When it comes to vitamins used in cosmetics most customers would prefer natural ingredients.  Botanically derived vitamins are dramatically more expensive than synthetic vitamins plus natural vitamins are subject to unpredictable fluctuation in price and availability making them impractical for large manufacturers and a nightmare to accountants. The plant based natural vitamins quality can be affected by the seasonal changes, environment, and weather but and thus it is like purchasing your fruit and vegetables the prices fluctuate depending on the farming conditions. To help stabilize the cost of natural vitamins are often animal derived. Fish oils, beef liver, and egg yolks are used. They are the most abundant sources of natural vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12 which make them unacceptable for vegans.

If you put cost and availability aside it has been found that natural vitamin E superior to its synthetic counterparts. The natural Vitamin E derived from vegetable oil is a far more potent antioxidant effect than the synthetic Vitamin E.  Natural vitamin E is not a single compound but is a group of molecules which may have unique properties for the skin. The increased potency of the antioxidants is very important when fighting the signs of aging or healing the skin. As for the other vitamins Naturally, Identical Synthetic vs Natural do not show any differences and has the same effect on the skin.

Getting Results from Your Vitamin Skincare.

As it was pointed out above the formula is very important as it will affect its ability to deliver the vitamin to the skin cells. It is also important to look at the percentage level of the vitamin used in the skincare. For example, if the vitamin is being used as a preservative for the formula like Vitamin E is then the antioxidant is used to delay the onset of rancidity of other fats and oils within the skincare and extend the shelf life of the product. You will know that the vitamin E is being used as a preservative as it will be listed at or near the bottom of the ingredient list. Therefore the vitamin E whether Synthetic or Natural is being used as a preservative and is not there for your skin health but for the skincare health.If you want results then look for a Cosmeceutical skincare product. Cosmeceuticals active ingredients including vitamins must be at the scientifically proven levels of concentrations that have a positive effect on the skin. They must be in a delivery system that ensures that the active ingredients can penetrate the skin correctly to get results.

Read: Cosmeceuticals vs Cosmetics

The debate as to Synthetic vs Natural Vitamins in skin care depended on what vitamin, how it is formulated and what percentage it is in the skincare formula as to whether it is worth the extra money or give the results that you want. In the end, it comes down to the skincare companies philosophy and target market and the consumers choose.  In the event that a customer wishes for a skincare product with natural botanically derived vitamins then they must be willing to pay extra for it.


QUESTION ABOUT YOUR SKIN?  Make an Appointment Today or send me an email to debra@debraspence.com

PERMISSION TO REPRINT: You may use this article in your print, blog, magazine or electronic newsletter. But in order to do so, you must include the following paragraph “Information courtesy from Debra Spence – Answering your skin problems with Science and Nature. Debra Spence is a Cosmetic Chemist and Skin Specialist who provides skincare and treatment tips, product recommendations and reviews to professionals and patients.  www.debraspence.com”

Content Copyright © 2016, Debra Spence

All products, material and information provided within this Website are for educational and informational purposes only. No medical claims are implied in the information given and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Any reference to health benefits cannot be taken as a replacement for medical advice or prescription medication or seen as a diagnosis for a specific condition. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice or treatment of your medical professional. The information provided by in this website is believed to be accurate based on the best judgment of the author but the reader is responsible for consulting with your own medical professional / skin therapist. In no way is any of the content on this website to be construed as medical advice or instruction.


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Debra Spence is a Qualified Medical Aesthetician, Cosmetic Scientist, Lecture and Author. Owned of an Australian National Award Winning Medi Spa. Now is concerntrating on Education of Skin and Skincare plus provideing advance treatments to her private patients. Plus developing Zen Dejour a Result Based Cosmeceutical Skincare Range and Dermal Solution Private Lable Professional Skincare.

QUESTION ABOUT YOUR SKIN? Make an Appointment Today or send me an email to debra@debraspence.com

PERMISSION TO REPRINT: You may use this article in your print, blog, magazine or electronic newsletter. But in order to do so, you must include the following paragraph “Information courtesy from Debra Spence – Answering your skin problems with Science and Nature. Debra Spence is a Cosmetic Chemist and Skin Specialist who provides skincare and treatment tips, product recommendations and reviews to professionals and patients. www.debraspence.com” Content Copyright © 2017, Debra Spence

All products, material and information provided within this Website are for educational and informational purposes only. No medical claims are implied in the information given and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Any reference to health benefits cannot be taken as a replacement for medical advice or prescription medication or seen as a diagnosis for a specific condition. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice or treatment of your medical professional. The information provided by in this website is believed to be accurate based on the best judgment of the author but the reader is responsible for consulting with your own medical professional / skin therapist. In no way is any of the content on this website to be construed as medical advice or instruction.