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    Science of Skin Care: Vitamin K

    Vitamin K is a newcomer to the skin care scene. Research has uncovered its role in blood clotting (although the mechanism by which it aids coagulation isn’t completely understood…there are just theories) and is just now beginning to test the claims of Vitamin K’s skin benefits. So far, this is what we know:span>

    Vitamin K Basics

    Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be acquired through eating (dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin K1) or manufactured by the liver (Vitamin K2). Because it is fat-soluble, Vitamin K may be stored by fat cells. However, the body rarely stores large amounts of Vitamin K, so we must continually get new stores through our diet and gut flora.

    Because bacteria are the synthesizers of Vitamin K within the digestive system, taking broad spectrum antibiotics can reduce the body’s Vitamin K production by 74%.[1]

    Vitamin K’s Role in Circulation

    Vitamin K is an important regulator of the chemical processes by which the body produces coagulating proteins. In fact, some blood thinning drugs work by interfering with the Vitamin K-facilitated chemical processes.

    Vitamin K’s documented role in blood circulation is the basis for the use of Vitamin K to treat rosacea, spider veins and dark under-eye circles. The coloration of these skin conditions is the result of blood vessels visible through the skin, which may be caused by:

      1. Thin skin, common around the eye area
      2. Broken capillaries, resulting in the redness, a common sign of rosacea
      3. Damaged valves that allow for a backup of blood near the skin

    Vitamin K is believed to connect with receptors on blood vessels, signaling them to constrict, limiting or completely stopping blood leakage. Reduced blood near the skin’s surface minimizes redness or purplish-blue coloration.

    Vitamin K’s Role in Pigmentation

    Vitamin K may also help to balance skin coloration. Vitamin K is believed to bind to pigment compounds and carry them out of the cells. Reduction of pigments may help lighten age spots, minimize the appearance of freckles or blemishes and further lighten dark under-eye circles.

    Vitamin K’s Role in Elasticity

    Most research has focused on Vitamin K as a circulatory agent, but there is some evidence that points to Vitamin K’s potential to fight wrinkles. So far, research has only been done on individuals with a rare genetic condition that causes severe wrinkling. The study suggests that a Vitamin K-activated protein was involved in inhibiting the calcification of the extracellular matrix, allowing skin to maintain its natural elasticity.

    While this research does not clearly indicate how Vitamin K may affect the appearance of wrinkles in individuals without the genetic condition, early research is promising!

    Vitamin K Dosage and Delivery

    Vitamin K is most commonly delivered to the cells and tissues internally—as a nutrient consumed in food or produced by the liver. However, Vitamin K’s skin benefits may be more fully realized if delivered directly to the problem areas.

    Vitamin K cannot penetrate the skin without a delivery method, and for it to be truly effective, must be delivered in sufficient concentrations (at least 2%). Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know whether or not a Vitamin K product is properly formulated just by reading the label.

    One product that works: Hale Cosmeceutical’s Profile K Milk Lotion. We’ve formulated a milk lotion fortified with Vitamin K and combined with the antioxidant properties of green tea and aloe! Contact us with questions or call 1-800-951-7005 to order today!

    [1]See “Vitamin K absorption and dietary need” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_K

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