Vitamin K for cosmetic laser recovery and bruising

November 14, 2018

Vitamin K for cosmetic laser recovery and bruising

Most people have heard of B-group vitamins and Vitamins C and E, but although Vitamin K is less well-known it is no less important. It has been shown to have some surprising properties when applied to the skin.

What is Vitamin K?

Phytomenadione, also known as Vitamin K1

Vitamin K1 (phytomenadione, or phylloquinone) is found in highest amounts in leafy green vegetables, because in plants it is directly involved in photosynthesis. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the human body, and both deficiencies and excesses are rare in the absence of other pathologies.

As a vitamin, vitamin K has one main function: blood clotting. It is required for the liver to activate a group of proteins called coagulation factors, all of which are necessary for blood to clot. In fact, the “K” in its name comes from its name in German, “Koagulationsvitamin”. The commonly-prescribed anticoagulant medication warfarin works by antagonising (opposing) Vitamin K’s action.

Vitamin K also plays an important role in bone health.

So why put Vitamin K on the skin?

Bruising (or pupurea) is a common side-effect of many cosmetic laser treatments, for example laser hair removal or laser skin resurfacing. Several studies have found that products containing at least 1% w/w vitamin K shorten the length of time that skin is reddish-purple when these products are applied after laser treatment (2, 3, 4).

Vitamin K may also be applied to other skin areas that may benefit from bruise-reduction. For example, a cream containing 2% vitamin K, 0.1% retinol and 0.1% vitamins C and E has been shown to have a moderate effect on reducing dark circles under eyes (5).

Topical vitamin K has also been shown to promote the healing of wounds (6).

Topical application of vitamin K is unlikely to have any effect on systemic blood clotting, as it has no known toxicity in overdose. Any small amounts that may be absorbed across the skin must be significantly diluted before they can exert any effect where coagulation factors are activated in the liver.

More information

If you have any questions or would like to make an order, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

References

    1. “Vitamin K Overview”. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-k(accessed 26 February 2016).
    2. Lou WW, et al. (1999) Effects of topical vitamin K and retinol on laser-induced purpura on nonlesional skin. Dermatologic Surgery25(12):942-4.
    3. Shah NS, et al. (2002) The effects of topical vitamin K on bruising after laser treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol. 47(2):241-4.
    4. Cohen JL and Bhatia AC (2009) The role of topical vitamin K oxide gel in the resolution of postprocedural purpura. J Drugs Dermatol. 8(11):1020-4.
    5. Mitsuishi T, et al. (2004) The effects of topical application of phytonadione, retinol and vitamins C and E on infraorbital dark circles and wrinkles of the lower eyelids. J Cosmetic Dermatology. 3(2): 73-75
    6. Hemmati AA, et al. (2014) Topical vitamin K1 promotes repair of full thickness wound in rat. Indian J Pharmacol. 46(4):409-12.



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