Originally published: JULY 22, 2021

There are an array of vitamins and minerals that have a positive effect on the health of our bodies in general as well as the appearance of our skin. It is for that reason that many of us strive to eat a variety of foods containing antioxidants, omega-3s, and vitamins C, E and K among others. But did you know that the “sunshine” vitamin, AKA vitamin D also has a profound effect on skin?

Vitamin D and Skin Health

It turns out that vitamin D is actually an integral part of skin synthesis and activity. It plays a regulatory role in numerous biological processes within the skin including skin cell growth and repair, skin metabolism, protection from free radicals and other environmental stressors that cause premature aging as well as overall rejuvenation of the skin.  While a sufficient vitamin D intake is great for anyone’s skin health, there are a few specific skin conditions that can particularly benefit when it comes to this sunshine vitamin.

Skin Conditions That Might be Improved with Vitamin D:

  • Acne. Since vitamin D is thought to have a desirable effect on fighting and reducing inflammation in the body and on the skin, it may be beneficial for those battling with acne breakouts.
  • Eczema. Eczema is a skin disorder that presents itself as a dry, itchy rash. Though doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes it or how best to treat it, preliminary studies suggest that vitamin D can be a potentially effective treatment for this irritating skin condition. 
  • Wrinkles. Since vitamin D acts as an antioxidant, it may be helpful in protecting against fine lines and wrinkles as well as other common signs of aging.

Should I Get More Sun Exposure?

So vitamin D is an essential vitamin needed by the body for a myriad of regulatory physiological processes, including having a strong impact on skin health - but does that mean you need to be baking outside in the sun each day in order to get enough?

I’m sure you could already guess the answer to that is no.  Adequate sun exposure is the name of the game when it comes to vitamin D. As far as sun time is concerned, 20-30 minutes of sun exposure on the arms and face each day is all that’s necessary for our bodies to produce sufficient vitamin D. Try to get your sun time in the morning before the sun is at its strongest and always wear natural sunscreen, no matter the time of year. When it comes to sun exposure, remember there is a sweet spot- as too much can speed up skin aging leading to sun spots, wrinkles and an increased risk of skin cancer. A sunburn is not necessary in order to get a healthy amount of vitamin D!

Combined with a healthy amount of sun time, you can also opt to include foods rich in vitamin D in your diet and/or vitamin D supplements if necessary.  Living in Canada, it is usually the case the supplementation is necessary on some level.

Vitamin D is just one of many vitamins and minerals that affect the appearance and health of our skin, so taking the time to make sure our diet is full of whole, healthful foods and plenty of water is one of the best ways we can support our largest organ. 

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