What is Vitamin D?
Like me, you may have grown up with your parents preaching the benefits of milk as a source of Vitamin D. As adults, you realized that vitamin D is important, but dairy isn’t the only (or preferred way) to get it. Here’s what you need to know about vitamin D and its effect on your skin.
For many of us, we are probably getting sunlight while driving around or during walks outside, but our skin color plays a huge role in whether or not we are producing enough Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a huge role in helping the body process and absorbs nutrients like calcium and magnesium. From a beauty perspective, Vitamin D is essential for your skin and hair.
Related: Do you need vitamin E for your skin?
Vitamin D benefits for the skin
Did you know that the skin is your body’s primary source of vitamin D?
The body requires the skin to produce Vitamin D which can only happen if your skin is able to absorb direct sunlight. If you think about it, it is a little bit like photosynthesis.
Here’s a quick science class refresher for you guys: remember how plants need sunlight (plus carbon dioxide and water) to make “food”, it is kinda similar to the process the human body undergoes to create vitamin D.
In addition to being anti-inflammatory and being essential for healthy skin, vitamin D also prevents and reduces premature aging of the skin. It’s a good idea to check your vitamin D levels if you have persistent acne or extremely dry skin. In some cases adding a vitamin D supplement has proven to help. Talking to your doctor or dermatologist can help too.
Can Your Skin Tone Affect How Much Vitamin D You Absorb from the Sun?
Short answer: yes. Darker skin has a higher amount of Melanin and Melanin is a protective pigment in the skin, blocking UV radiation from damaging DNA and potentially causing skin cancer. You probably realized this when your more pale gal-pals were treating sunburns after a day by the pool, and you were admiring your tan.
The flip side to having melanin protect your skin from sunlight via a physical barrier is that your skin is less likely to take in Vitamin D from the sun.
Dark-skinned women are at a much higher risk to be a vitamin D deficiency. This is where a supplement can come to play. Taking vitamin D orally can be a good idea especially if you are not getting enough sunlight, or if you have darker skin.
My personal go-to is the Vitamin D3 soft gels from Solimo on Amazon.
Related: Benzoyl Peroxide, a Throwback To Our Teens?
Vitamin D and Sunscreen
One of the most commonly discussed questions in the skincare world is the relationship between Vitamin D and sunscreen. If our bodies need sunlight, is applying sunscreen counterproductive?
Just because some parts of sunlight are good for you that doesn’t mean all of it is.
Remember for most lighter-skinned people 15 minutes of sun exposure a day can create sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. Sunblock only blocks the dangerous UVB rays and this merely lowers the amount of vitamin D that is created, it doesn’t prevent it.
30 minutes of sun every day with protection should be enough for most people to create healthy amounts of vitamin D, including those with darker skin tones.
- Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen (chemical, for daily wear with no white cast)
- Supergoop Matte Sunscreen (mineral, perfect for the beach)
- ISDIN Eryfontona Actinica Sunscreen (mineral) (splurge, but available on Amazon)
- EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 Tinted (mineral)
- Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen
What happens when you don’t have enough Vitamin D?
The lack of Vitamin D has been linked to various skin issues like psoriasis and eczema.
It is clearly an essential vitamin for the human body and it affects your outer appearance. Vitamin D plays a larger role in skin cell growth and repair. It is a major factor to allow your skin to care for itself.
Vitamin D for skin and hair
Vitamin D can stimulate hair follicles to improve hair growth. It is one of the key ingredients that can be added to your diet to encourage thicker hair. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to alopecia which is an autoimmune condition that leads to bald patches.
Adding a vitamin D supplement will only really help if you are deficient which people often do because of their lifestyle. If you are producing enough vitamin D taking a supplement will not change anything.
Oral Vitamin D supplements are shown to improve eczema symptoms and help with psoriasis.
Skincare Products With Vitamin D
There are vitamin D-based skincare products that cater to those that don’t have any skin issues. They are not as common as Vitamin C products but they are around.
The Drunk Elephant D-Bronzy Antipollution Sunshine Serum is a popular product with Vitamin D. However the key ingredient that makes the product great is not the Vitamin D that is present but the chronocyclin, a peptide that works to convert sunlight to Vitamin D. This ingredient supports the skin’s natural process of converting sunlight to vitamin D.
Another popular product is the One Love Organic Vitamin D Moisture Mist. This product helps boost the skin’s moisture barrier. As we mentioned before Vitamin D plays an important role in skin health and applying it topically can help prevent issues.
Related: A Guide To Why You Need Squalane
Final Thoughts on Vitamin D and Skincare
Vitamin D is important for everyone, but especially darker-skinned women. Your doctor can help get you a blood test if you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels. Getting enough will keep your skin glowing, your hair thicker, and your bones steady. There are many aspects of your health that can be affected too if you don’t have the balance of vitamins in your body. So always keep track of your diet and sun exposure.