Vitamin D is one of the most recent additions to the natural skin care arsenal, yet in many ways it may be among the most important vitamins when it comes to maintaining skin health. We already know that Vitamin D is essential to maintaining good overall health, so much so that it has actually been added to certain foods including milk and cereal.
What we’ve come to realize in recent years is that it is also essential to promoting healthy skin and protecting against the common effects of aging. Like the other essential nutrients, Vitamin D is a building block of good health but there is one critical difference between this and other vitamins. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that can actually be manufactured by the body itself. The difficulty in terms of skin health is that the only way to produce it is through sun exposure. In fact, you can produce as many as 10,000 IU of vitamin D after just 20-30 minutes of exposure. But since sun exposure can be detrimental to the skin, this makes for a sticky situation in terms of maintaining the proper amount of this essential nutrient.
How Does Vitamin D Promote Skin Health?
Vitamin D is absorbed through sunlight and synthesized within the body through a complex process. Once this process is completed, the resulting amount of Vitamin D is dispersed throughout the body. Eating foods rich in Vitamin D or with Vitamin D added can help to boost levels in the body, as can taking an oral supplement. But this may not be enough to help reap the full benefits for the skin, as any amount of the vitamin taken in orally will be dispersed through the body before reaching the skin.
In order to maximize the effect on the skin, using a topical product containing Vitamin D is recommended. It is particularly important to get the proper amount of this nutrient as you age, since your skin loses its natural ability to produce Vitamin D over time. Typically, between the ages of 20 and 70, the ability to produce Vitamin D is reduced by as much as 75%. Add in the fact that the use of sunscreens to prevent skin damage has drastically reduced the amount of Vitamin D that we get naturally and you can begin to understand the importance of maintaining your level of the essential vitamin.
What Specific Skin Conditions Does It Treat?
The powerful healing properties of Vitamin D help it to protect against sun damage, combat the common signs of aging and minimize acne breakouts and the appearance of dark spots on the skin. It helps to destroy free radicals, harmful substances that can accumulate in the skin through exposure to the sun’s UV rays as well as exposure to other irritants including air pollution, smoke and alcohol. It also helps to improve the performance of the immune system, the skin’s first defense against infection and promote healthy skin growth and metabolism.
All of these factors make it a powerful tool for preventing acne, lessening the appearance of blemishes and improving overall skin tone by providing a strong framework for the skin to build on, thus keeping it smooth, supple and firm and reducing fine lines and wrinkles that occur naturally with age. Another benefit of Vitamin D is its ability to help in the healing process of wounds. One study on the many properties of this vitamin showed that it acts at the site of wounds to fight infection and promote proper healing. Topical application of Vitamin D, then, can actually help to speed up the healing process and protect against the invasion of microbes that can cause infection.
How Does It Compare To Traditional Treatments?
While there is still much debate over the benefit of Vitamin D, there has been enough evidence of its healing properties to prompt various manufacturers to include it in everything from skin creams to sunscreens and tanning sprays.
It is not a substitute for traditional treatments such as prescription medications and laser treatment, but is certainly an asset when it comes to maintaining the overall health of your skin. So if you want to keep your skin looking soft and smooth and help it to stand up to the rigors of sun exposure, look for skin care products that specifically list Vitamin D among their ingredients. It may be the best thing you’ll ever do for your skin.