By Rachel Welch
With the return of warm weather, many of us are spending more time outside in the glorious sunshine. Time outdoors at the pool, the park, and sitting in our yards is more commonplace in the spring and summer, and this is a wonderful thing! The sun is a nourishing, vital joy of life, and it provides an essential nutrient. Vitamin D plays a role in various levels of our health and well-being, along with our skin health! We need vitamin D to nourish our skin and to benefit other aspects of our health also.
Vitamin D is one of the best nutrients for our body, and without enough of it, we can suffer from:
- Depressed mood
- Weakened immune system
- Fatigue and low energy
- Bone and joint pain
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of balance
- Hair loss
Without vitamin D, we can experience these unpleasant side effects, and we can also lose vibrance in our skin (1).
The skin (our epidermis) is the largest organ in the body and should be cared for with great respect. Just like we wouldn't neglect our heart or liver, we shouldn't neglect our skin. It protects our insides from dirt, debris, and unpleasant airborne particles. The skin is the barrier between us, and the unsavory parts of the world that we don’t want inside of us. It helps to regulate body temperature and allows the sensation of touch. The skin is essentially a layer of armor, and it works hard! The skin completely regenerates new cells approximately every 27 days (2). It works hard at the goal of protecting us, and we need to do our part to care for it properly. Thankfully, we have vitamin D available to us. Here are some ways that this happy nutrient helps to ensure clear, happy, healthy, skin!
Vitamin D for Skin Health
Vitamin D has antimicrobial properties that help to decrease acne-causing bacteria. It also helps to strengthen bones, encourage cell regeneration, and strengthen the immune system (3). These factors contribute to the overall health of the body, and specifically to the health of the epidermis. Certain inflammatory skin disorders, like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, may be treated and improved by balancing out a healthy amount of vitamin D (4). With so many benefits to proper vitamin D levels, it is helpful to know that the three known sources of vitamin D are sunlight, certain healthy foods, and vitamin D supplements (5).
Soak Up the Sunshine
Vitamin D nourishes the skin and is naturally synthesized in our bodies when we spend time in the sun. One fun and lesser-known fact is that it takes 15-30 minutes for our bodies to begin producing vitamin D, and that's only if we are not wearing sunscreen! Sunscreen is very helpful at protecting our skin from excessive exposure to the sun. But, it may be valuable to wait and only apply sunscreen after you've had at least 15-30 minutes in the sun without it. Otherwise, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency (6).
It is also important to note that the amount of melanin in a person's skin can impact their body's synthesis of vitamin D. Dr. Drake explains that melanin acts as a natural sunscreen, meaning that those of us with darker skin may actually require more unprotected time in the sun to produce the same, healthy amount of vitamin D from the same amount of time spent in the sun (6). To ensure that you will absorb enough vitamin D to nourish skin, consider absorbing at least 30 minutes of sunscreen-free sun, at least 3 times a week.
The Vitamin D in our Diet
Another way that we can obtain a healthy amount of vitamin D that will help nourish our skin, is through our food! Some foods that are high in vitamin D are (7):
- Fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon)
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
The next time you are grocery shopping, consider how many vitamin D-rich foods you are bringing home with you! In addition to our food, we can also increase our vitamin D intake, through the use of health vitamins and supplements.
There are five different forms of vitamin D and its dosage is measured in IU (international units) (8). For instance, a doctor might prescribe 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day for someone with a vitamin D deficiency. (Always consult your doctor before beginning a new supplement, to ensure that it is a good choice for you).
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, compared to a water-soluble vitamin (like vitamins C and B). This means that it can be found in fatty foods, as mentioned above. It also means that it is possible to take too much than your body can process, which is why it is important to always adhere to the recommended amount, whether by your doctor or on the bottle (9).
If you have established that a vitamin D supplement is a good option for you, you can purchase a high-quality, organic health vitamin right here, at Health by Principle.
Vitamin D to Nourish Our Skin
With the warm glow of the sun, tasty foods, and carefully crafted supplements, you can bring vitamin D to a healthy balance within your body, which will lead to more nourished and healthy skin. Remember, the skin is our largest organ. It endures and protects us from a lot of exposure in our daily lives, so let's give it some tender and loving care.
Soak up some sun for at least 30 minutes a few times a week. Eat healthy foods, particularly foods with healthy fats. Finally, if it’s a good option for you, take a vitamin D supplement. Abiding by these tips will be excellent steps towards keeping your skin happy, healthy, nourished, and glowing!
- 1. Why It is Important to Take Vitamin D in the Winter. (n.d.). Retrieved from Health By Principle website: https://www.healthbyprinciple.com/blogs/news/taking-vitamin-d-in-the-winter
- 2. How Does the Skin Work? (n.d.). Retrieved from WebMD website: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-overview-skin#1
- 3. Clear Skin And Your Hormones: 4 Vitamins & Minerals To Fight Acne. (2020, January 10). Retrieved May 19, 2021, from ReNue Rx website: https://renuerx.com/clear-skin-and-your-hormones-4-vitamins-and-minerals-to-fight-acne/#:~:text=2.-
- 4. Umar, M., Sastry, K. S., Al Ali, F., Al-Khulaifi, M., Wang, E., & Chouchane, A. I. (2018). Vitamin D and the Pathophysiology of Inflammatory Skin Diseases. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 31(2), 74–86. https://doi.org/10.1159/000485132
- 5. Mostafa, W. Z., & Hegazy, R. A. (2015). Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A review. Journal of Advanced Research, 6(6), 793–804. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jare.2014.01.011
- 6. Vitamin D and Skin Health. (2016, November 7). Retrieved May 19, 2021, from Linus Pauling Institute website: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-D#production
- 7. Hecht, A. (2010, November 17). Top Foods for Calcium and Vitamin D. Retrieved from WebMD website: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods
- 8. Vitamin D Supplements 101. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2021, from Health By Principle website: https://www.healthbyprinciple.com/blogs/news/vitamin-d-supplements-101
- 9. Water-soluble versus fat-soluble vitamins – what does this mean for your health? | Bailey Medical Center | Hospital in Owasso, Oklahoma. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2021, from baileymedicalcenter.com website: https://baileymedicalcenter.com/blog/water-soluble-versus-fat-soluble-vitamins-what-does-mean-your-health
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