You likely already know the importance of incorporating vitamins into your skin care routine and diet. Vitamin D is one such essential vitamin that could make a difference in your life—including impacting the way your skin looks. Now, how can you get vitamin D? The relationship between the sun and vitamin D is well-known (although we’ll be digging into it more below), but not everyone can get enough vitamin D via the sun. If you find yourself asking how you can get vitamin D without putting your skin in harm’s way, we’ve got you covered. Here, we’re covering what vitamin D does in the first place, why your levels might be low, and how you can get them up. Keep reading!
WHAT DOES VITAMIN D DO?
There are a lot of essential vitamins to keep track of, from vitamin A to vitamin K, and it isn’t always easy to remember why each one is important. So, what does vitamin D do? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), vitamin D, which is also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a lipid-soluble vitamin that provides the body with calcium to maintain strong and healthy bones.
The NCBI also shares that the vitamin has two primary forms, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (calciferol), which both help to boost your immune system and provide properties that come into play for healthy-looking skin.
Another NCBI study revealed that people who suffer from acne might see improvements in their skin’s appearance by regularly taking vitamin D supplements. The NCBI has also shared that people who are tackling cystic acne are at risk of developing severe symptoms if they have low levels of vitamin D in their system.
WHAT CAUSES LOW VITAMIN D?
Once you understand its importance, you’ll want to know what causes low vitamin D. Per the NIH, low vitamin D levels are caused by the body not consuming or absorbing enough of the vitamin. This can be attributed to limited exposure to sunlight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should sit out in the sun. After all, prolonged exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can be harmful.
If you do spend a lot of time outside to soak up vitamin D, remember to always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen and take other sun protection measures, such as those recommended by the FDA, which include limiting your time in the sun—especially during the sun’s peak hours (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), wearing clothing that covers exposed skin, seeking out the shade, and accessorizing with a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
HOW TO GET VITAMIN D
Asking yourself how you can introduce more vitamin D to your life? Per the NCBI, there are three ways to get vitamin D: sunlight, diet, and supplements. Since too much exposure to sunlight can cause visible signs of aging to become more prominent, you may want to also seek out foods that are high in vitamin D and/or consider taking vitamin D supplements. Just keep in mind, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before adding new supplements to your diet.
So, what can you eat to get vitamin D? As it turns out, according to the National Institutes of Health, very few foods naturally have vitamin D. A few that do are tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Other foods like milk, breakfast cereals, orange juice, margarine, soy beverages, and yogurt are fortified with vitamin D.
CAN YOU GET VITAMIN D FROM TANNING BEDS?
Since tanning outdoors—however ill-advised it may be—exposes you to UV radiation, you may be asking yourself whether you can get vitamin D from tanning beds. And the answer is a resounding no! According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the bulbs used in tanning beds mostly emit UVA light, while the body needs UVB light to create vitamin D. They also reveal that the use of tanning beds can have adverse effects on your skin, including wrinkles, age spots, and loss of skin firmness.
The NCBI also states that there is no indication that tanning beds provide skin with adequate amounts of vitamin D. And even if they did, you have to consider that the risks of use of tanning beds have been associated with the development of certain skin cancers.
CAN YOU TAKE TOO MUCH VITAMIN D?
While you may think that loading up on vitamins is a surefire way to stay healthy, taking too much vitamin D can offset your body’s natural levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body naturally regulates the amount of vitamin D it receives from sun exposure. When you go over the recommended dosage, a buildup of calcium can occur, which leads to vitamin D toxicity and can result in various health issues. Play it safe by following your doctor’s recommendations.