Vitamins for a healthy scalp

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Vitamins for a healthy scalp help maintain hair follicles and skin cells on your scalp. Antioxidant vitamins are particularly important for a healthy scalp. Scalp problems like dandruff may improve by adding more scalp-nourishing vitamins to your diet.

Formulations of topical treatments that contain vitamins may also improve or help maintain scalp structures. Topical treatments include vitamin-rich shampoos, conditioners and ointments.

Vitamin A

Your body converts vitamin A into retinol, which it uses to produce substances that maintain the integrity of your skin, including your scalp. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, substances derived from retinol most likely affect processes that copy genetic information from skin-growth factors and growth-factor receptors. Etretinate and acitretin are substances derived from vitamin A that help treat psoriasis, which can cause redness, irritation, flakiness and dry patches on your scalp. Tretinoin and isotretinoin -- sometimes used for treating severe acne that can permanently damage hair follicles -- are also derived from vitamin A.

Vitamin B complex

Eight forms of vitamin B are essential for multiple body functions. Lack of vitamin B can damage your scalp and cause problems like dandruff, which forms when your scalp is too dry or too oily. Rob Hicks, M.D., recommends including plenty of vitamins B6 and B12 in your diet for a healthy scalp. Dermatitis is a symptom of prolonged vitamin B6 deficiency. Seborrheic dermatitis affects your scalp and causes scaly, itchy, red skin and dandruff. A U.S. patent document filed by Richard Levere, M.D., and his colleges in August 1994 suggests that shampoo formulations with 0.1 to 10 percent B12 can alleviate dandruff.

Vitamin C

Your body needs vitamin C to make collagen, a protein that maintains tissues throughout your body, including your skin and scalp tissues. Without vitamin C, immature collagen cells degrade, and your skin becomes fragile. Scurvy is a condition that develops during severe vitamin C deficiencies. Scalp bleeding, bruising and hair loss are symptoms of scurvy that can result from diminished collagen production. Vitamin C also supports healthy circulation to your scalp by maintaining your blood vessels' integrity.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that supports a healthy scalp. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage caused by toxic chemicals and pollutants. Vitamin E promotes healthy circulation to your scalp by preventing obstructions in your blood vessels. Your blood vessels release more prostacyclin, which promotes circulation to your scalp by widening your blood vessels. Vitamin E may also reduce scalp roughness and help prevent degradation of other antioxidant vitamins that support your scalp, including vitamins A and C.