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Vitamin D: Why It's Important in Your Skin Care Business

By: Celeste Hilling
Posted: February 28, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D.

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However, despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent that clients limit exposure of skin to sunlight in order to lower the risk for skin cancer. Always coach clients to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

How much?

Just like everything else in life, you have to have balance when it comes to vitamin D. It’s a hormone and regulates everything else in the body. Because hormonal imbalances cause skin conditions, if your clients are able to balance their vitamin D levels, many skin conditions will improve, such as rosacea and heavy wrinkling, and this balance needs to take place through diet and topical products.

A rule of thumb: the U.S. Department of Agriculture daily requirement of vitamin D is 600 IU per day. Many physicians are recommending a higher level of about 1,200 IU per day. The daily requirements for vitamin D were recently raised from 400 to 600 IU as a standard. However, various medical boards recommend up to 1,200 IU at a minimum. As people age, they produce less vitamin D, so it is important to educate clients each and every year on the importance of vitamin D just as you do on skin care, healthy eating, exercise and sun protection. Engage your clients in being vitamin Dsufficient, and make it simple for them to do so by making the information and take-home products needed to do so available in your facility.

Clients who are interested in incorporating vitamin Dinto their skin care routine should ask their physician for a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, also called a 25(OH) Dtest. According to Holick: “25(OH) is the circulating form of vitamin D that the liver generates and then becomes activated by the kidneys. While it’s intuitive to think you’d want to test for the body’s ‘active form’ rather than just a precursor, testing for the activated vitamin D (1,25-vitamin D) does not give an accurate portrayal of your vitamin D status.”

Holick adds that many physicians order the wrong test, and when the results come back showing a normal level of activated vitamin D, they think everything is fine. However, the client could be suffering from a serious deficiency, even though the activated levels appear normal or even elevated.

Safe sunshine