Vitamin D (or the lack of in our bodies) receives a considerable amount of media play – sun protection brands have released “filtering” sunscreens selling themselves on allowing some light to penetrate the product, we are encouraged to supplement daily and we recognise that deficiency in this essential hormone can impact several critical bodily functions.
Exposure to sunlight provides our bodies with vitamin D3 (one of the two forms of this vitamin), and our skin is where vitamin D is sourced for use across our body. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to skin conditions ranging from acne to psoriasis, and should be a definite consideration when reviewing your own skin health.
Detailed in the 2015 Journal of Advanced Research article “Vitamin D and The Skin: Focus On A Complex Relationship: A Review” , vitamin D will “regulate the processing of the long chain glycosylceramides that are critical for the skin barrier formation which is crucial in defending the skin.” When compromised, whether from vitamin deficiency, overexposure or incorrect product use, the skin barrier is opened to a “greater chance of risk of infection.”
Photodamage (damage to the skin caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light) in the form of DNA damage, inflammation and cell death has shown to be reduced with a topical application of vitamin D (although “the mechanisms for such effects are not known“).
For those who experience acne, “it has been demonstrated that P. acnes is a potent inducer of Th17, and that 1,25OH2D inhibits P. acnes-induced Th17 differentiation, and thereby could be considered as an effective tool in modulating acne“, The same cannot be said for rosacea, with studies suggesting that higher serum levels of vitamin D are often found in those with rosacea.
In line with scientific research and recommendations, vitamin D supplementation should be considered if you have limited sun exposure and/or if you have tested as deficient in the form of oral supplementation to elevate levels. There are a large number of vegan vitamin D supplements available for purchase, and before beginning a supplementation course you should consult your GP.
Even with sunscreen adequately applied, some parts of skin will receive direct sun exposure, so there is no reason to forego your vegan sun protection in the process of boosting your vitamin D levels.
Have you experienced skin benefits via vitamin D supplementation? If so, what is your favourite vegan supplement?