You can get it from the sun, and we all need it from time to time. It’s Vitamin D! However, despite needing this vitamin, you really shouldn’t stay too long in the sun to get it. Staying in the sun too long, without sunscreen, can, of course, lead to skin cancer. You may think because of this that vitamin D is bad for your skin, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
What is Vitamin D? What Does It Do?
Vitamin D is not one chemical but many. The natural type is produced in the skin from a universally present form of cholesterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol. Sunlight is the key: It’s ultraviolet B (UVB) energy converts the precursor to vitamin D3. Your body can actually produce this vitamin by getting regular exposure to the sun, and you can gain a deficiency if you avoid the sun.
Your body must have the vitamin to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia).
How Much Vitamin D I Need?
AAP recommends 400 IU/day for children and teens who drink less than a quart of vitamin D-fortified milk per day. The Vitamin D Council recommends that healthy adults take 2,000 IU of daily — more if they get little or no sun exposure. You should go about getting your daily dose of vitamin D by a combination of food, sunshine, and a supplement if you need it.
Vitamin D and Your Skin
Not only does it help your skin in a few different ways, but it can also help your skin heal after being injured. Vitamin D does this by keeping the immune system functioning. Appearance-wise, it can clear up acne and make the skin look smoother and healthier.
Furthermore, it has been shown that certain types of acne are made worse by a lack of Vitamin D. There is plenty of evidence that would suggest it can help clear up acne in certain cases. No matter, adding vitamin D to your routine can’t hurt you, especially since a deficiency of the vitamin can.
Other studies have been conducted that may be able to make a case for it benefiting eczema and rosacea. A small study (on 14 people) conducted by the University of California found that vitamin D supplements helped clear up eczema. It should be noted, though, that the subjects took a whopping 4,000 IUs a day. There is not a total set number of the amount of the vitamin you should get. There are only estimates.
It can also combat signs of premature aging. Premature aging is when the skin starts developing wrinkles, fine lines, skin tags and age spots at a young age. It often occurs as a result of free radical damage on the skin. It acts as an antioxidant to combat oxidative stress and free radical damage on the skin. However, too much of it has been linked to advance aging. Irony.
New research also points to vitamin D as a potential benefit for rosacea sufferers. Enzymes in the skin of rosacea sufferers cause them to produce antimicrobial peptides in an abnormal form, and a study in Belgium has made a connection between the regulation of these peptides and vitamin D.
Stress is a known trigger for psoriasis and vitamin D has the power to battle stress. It can help reduce inflammation, redness, and swelling in psoriasis. Supplementing with pills can help prevent psoriasis flare-ups.
Good news for those who will have and have had babies. It helps in the overall function of the skin and helps prevent stretch marks by increasing the elasticity of the skin. It helps in the proper formation of skin to help reduce the occurrence of stretch marks, scars and dark spots.
Another benefit of vitamin D that is laced with irony is its effect on skin cancer. Too much of the vitamin can lead to skin cancer, but the right amount can prevent skin cancer. Go figure.
The tricky thing about vitamin D is getting just the right amount. Too much can lead to problems, and not enough can lead to a different set of problems. If this is something you are concerned about, talk to your doctor. A good dose of vitamin D may just be what your skin needs.