You might be well aware of the fact that vitamins play a pivotal role in nourishing the skin. Each vitamin has its own set of functions which aids and nurtures our body in different ways, including the skin.
While your childhood Flintstones Gummies may have graduated to pills and capsules in adulthood, that’s not where the vitamin evolution ends. Lately, people are feeding their faces in a whole new way — with topical serums, moisturizers, and oils packed with skin-healthy supplements. Vitamins A, C, and E in particular are having a moment, but another super vitamin is quietly gaining strength in the beauty space is Vitamin D and its skincare products are quietly gaining popularity the world over.
Stay with us to find out everything you need to know about taking and using vitamin D, including its benefits as well as the possible effects a deficiency can have on the skin and so on.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and one of the most critical vitamins for biological function. Our skin is an important natural reservoir for its production, triggered by UV light into synthesis. Our gut (via diet) and skin (via sunlight) are the two main sources of vitamin D, which is made in two forms—vitamin D3 in the skin and D2 and D3 in the gut—both of which are further modified by our kidneys.
Vitamin D is available in an oral supplement form for those who are deficient, prescription topical forms to treat inflammatory conditions, and is even found in some OTC beauty products, like oils and moisturizers. In addition to this, you can also consume food fortified with vitamin D such as milk, orange juice and cereal etc.
Exposing our skin to the sun is the other way to obtain it, as the sun’s UVB rays stimulate skin to produce vitamin D. But there is a catch: exposure to the sun causes long-term damage to your skin. That is why people generally avoid this method.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Inadequate sunlight exposure and poor diet are the two most common reasons for Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency has a very big impact on your skin. It deficiency is associated with poor immune function, increased inflammation, and decreased insulin sensitivity and conditions such as eczema, and rosacea.
That is why you need to obtain enough amount of Vitamin D.
Reasons for Vitamin D deficiency
Up to 90% of the vitamin D your body needs to support healthy skin, teeth and bones can be absorbed naturally by the sun. The issue many of us face, is that we are not exposed to sunlight for long enough periods especially during the autumn and winter months to stimulate vitamin D production naturally. The other concern is that as vitamin D production relies on sun exposure, which has well known risks including UV damage to skin, it’s difficult to balance these contradictory elements. It can also be difficult to gauge how much sun exposure is necessary to top up your vitamin D levels naturally, which is why additional supplementation either orally or topically is recommended.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Decreases inflammation: The most important use of Vitamin D in the skin is that, being anti-inflammatory, it is used as a cream in the treatment of conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo. Taking vitamin D supplements could also be an alternative way of treating recurrent acne that appears red and inflamed.
Protects the skin: Vitamin D functions as a steroid, working within a cell’s nucleus to stimulate proliferation, regulate function, and potentially stabilize genes. It has been proved through a study that this has a protective effect on the skin, potentially staving off skin cancers.
Decreases environmental damagers: As an antioxidant, topical vitamin D can also squelch damaging environmental oxidants that cause premature aging.
Normalizes cell turnover: Vitamin D analogues have been shown to normalize cell turnover and prevent the build-up of dead cells on the skin's surface that lead to psoriasis plaques.
Side Effects of Vitamin D
Topical vitamin D is generally safe to use daily, but like any skincare product, it could irritate, depending on how it’s created. Dermatologists warns that many of these products are oil-based, which could be too heavy in acne-prone skin and cause pore-clogging.
When taken orally, it’s fairly difficult to consume a significantly excessive amount of vitamin D. The most common side effect of vitamin D toxicity is a build-up of calcium in your blood, called hypercalcemia. Hypercalcelmia can cause nausea and vomiting. Taking too much vitamin D over time can result in heart arrhythmias, tissue calcification, kidney stones, and organ damage.
Vitamin D levels can also be decreased when taking corticosteroid medication.
To conclude, every skin care product comes with it’s own merits and demerits. It’s just that, you should first find out complete information of the product rather than simply buying it.
Also, you should always consult a dermatologist before opting for any skin care ingredient (including Vitamin D).