Ingredient Spotlight: Vitamin D

You’ve probably heard the someone say “Gotta go catch some vitamin D!” when they were talking about soaking up the sun, but did you know that vitamin D is also an impressive ingredient in many skincare formulas? Learn all about its skin benefits!

Vitamin D can be found in fish oil

What is vitamin D?

This well-known vitamin is made up of fat-soluble steroids which help our body to increase its absorption of key nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Vitamin D also helps regulate metabolism and plays a major role in stabilizing and maintaining the body’s calcium levels. Calcitriol, the biologically active form of vitamin D, promotes healthy bone growth, immune function and neuromuscular function.

Vitamin D deficiencies are relatively common — it’s estimated that up to a third of the population doesn’t have enough vitamin D internally. This can be remedied by sun exposure or by taking oral supplements; the later is safer, as sun exposure can cause skin damage and, in extreme cases, skin cancers.

How do you get vitamin D?

Vitamin D is unique in the sense that it’s available in limited food sources, although it is present in fatty fish and fish oils, mushrooms, tofu, soy, and egg yolks. That said, the best way of helping your body to develop vitamin D is via sun exposure. This is because vitamin D is made naturally in the skin by our cholesterol which is dependent on exposure to UVB rays.

As we age, our body’s ability to produce vitamin D decreases substantially. That’s why osteoporosis, or the deterioration of bone density, sets in with age — vitamin D contributes to the way our body creates calcium and, therefore, bone health.

What makes vitamin D such a powerful skincare ingredient? Who benefits from it?

Although it’s primarily associated with internal benefits, vitamin D also plays a role in skin health. According to recent research, vitamin D helps stimulate collagen production in the skin and boost skin’s elasticity. It’s also proven to increase brightness and minimize acne. In other words, most people can benefit for the addition of vitamin D to their skincare regimen.

Vitamin D3 is the form that works internally, whereas vitamin D2 is what you might find in a skincare serum, moisturizer, or even SPF. Therefore, slathering on a vitamin D serum won’t boost your skin’s ability to create its own vitamin D supply.

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