Vitamin D is essential to the human body for healthy bones, teeth, gums, skin and the heart according to Marina Peredo, M.D., dermatologist at Skinfluence NYC, who spoke with Skin Inc. exclusively about the importance of the vitamin.
Specifically referring to skin, Peredo explained, “Vitamin D plays a role in skin cell growth, repair and metabolism. Healthy skin relies on vitamin D within the process of regeneration”. Studies have shown oral supplements of vitamin D have potential in preventing skin diseases.
Vitamin D is vital to everyone, and children and adults ages 1-70 should have a daily intake of 600 international units (IU), with adults 70 and older needing 800 IU, according to Peredo.
The sun plays a significant role in vitamin D intake, and as little as five to 10 minutes in the sun can deliver vitamin D to the skin. Sunscreen should be applied when spending time outdoors. Peredo noted that although skin will be protected from UVA and UVB damage, there are areas of skin not protected with sunscreen, which allows for vitamin D sufficiency.
While the body can create its own vitamin D, foods naturally rich in vitamin D such as fish, eggs, fortified milk and cod liver oil are another way to obtain the supplement.
A deficiency in vitamin D is normally diagnosed by a doctor and can lead to osteoporosis, muscle weakness, bone pain or loss and rickets disease, explained Peredo.
“[Lack of vitamin D] has found to be associated with the advancement of cancers, for example: breast, colon, ovarian and prostate,” added Peredo. “Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depressed feelings and are found in patients who have been diagnosed with depression.”
While it is important to recommend vitamin D supplements to clients for healthy skin, it is equally as important to let them know that they still need adequate sun protection.