Have you heard of vitamin K?
It’s the underdog in the vitamin world. While vitamins A, C, and E, get all the attention, vitamin K is pretty much unknown. I guess that’s because no one’s really sure about how beneficial it is for the skin. There’s so little research on it. But what does that little say? Are we missing out by not incorporating vitamin K into our skincare routine? Let’s investigate:
What’s Vitamin K?
Also known as phytonadione, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin manufactured in the liver. It’s also found in chicken, cottage cheese, and some fermented cheeses (it’s a waste product of the bacteria used to ferment milk into cheese). Vitamin K helps blood to clot. It’s to its part in the coagulation process that vitamin K owns its name to (the German word for coagulation starts with a “K”).
Can Vitamin K Treat Dark Circles?
Because of its role in the circulation process, vitamin K has been touted as an effective remedy against dark circles. And there’s some proof that it may work. A 2004 study has found that an undereye gel with 2% vitamin K, 0.1% retinol, and 0.1% vitamins C and E reduced both dark circles and wrinkles in 47% of the testers!
The catch? As the gel contained so many goodies, it’s hard to tell what part, if any, vitamin K played in this reduction. It’s possible one, or more, of the other vitamins did most of the heavy work. Without a study examining the efficacy of vitamin K alone, it’s simply impossible to tell.
Can Vitamin K treat purpuric discolouration?
A 1999 study has also found that vitamin K may help treat the purple discolourations that can occur after pulse-dyed laser treatment, which is used to get rid of spider veins, warts, and other vascular lesions. The researchers asked different groups of patients to try several types of treatments to reduce the purplish hue.
A cream containing 1% vitamin K and 0.3% retinol turned out to be the most effective treatment of all, speeding up healing time to 5-8 days (it usually takes about 11-13 days to disappear). This shows that vitamin K has anti-inflammatory properties that can help skin heal.
What are the best products with vitamin K?
Finding a good cream or serum with vitamin K is tough. It’s not as widely used as other vitamins and, even when it’s included, the dose is too small to do anything, anyway. If you’re curious to try it, and see if it helps with your dark circles and bruises, you can check out these formulas:
Donell K-Derm Cream ($49.00)
This hydrating cream is pretty basic and doesn’t contain much else apart from vitamin K. If you can afford the splurge, it’s the perfect way to discover how well vitamin K works on its own, without the help of the other, more famous, vitamins. The brand claims the formula can imrpove dark circles and bruises and, judging from the reviews, it seems to work fine for some people. It’s available at DermStore.
Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue Dark Circle Eye Treatment ($100.00)
I usually don’t recommend products packaged in jars, but, when it comes to vitamin K, we have so few choices, we can’t afford to be too picky. *sighs* The formula is full of antioxidants, such as green tea and vitamin C, but these can deteriorate when exposed to light and air. So be super quick to close that jar! This stuff is too expensive to leave it open to rot! It costs $100, but you can buy it at Amazon for $62.00.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin K is still very little studied, but the small evidence we have hints that it may be helpful to treat dark circles and purplish bruises. But, unless you can afford to try new things regardless of the price, I’d stick to formulas that contain both vitamin K and other proven-to-work antioxidants, such as vitamin C and retinol. That way, even if it turns out in future (and much needed!) tests that vitamin K doesn’t work that well after all, you wouldn’t have thrown your money away.
Have you ever used vitamin K? If so, how did it work for you?