The link between Vitamin D deficiency and acne is staggering, yet many people are unaware of this fact. Those who have spent the summer soaking up the sun’s rays will attest to an improvement in their acne and their overall health. This is not only because of the effects of sunlight on your skin, but also Vitamin D’s ability to nourish and support the endocrine system. This is good because a nourished endocrine system = balanced hormones = clearer skin! So, is Vitamin D deficiency causing your acne? Let’s find out!
What are the Benefits Vitamin D?
There’s a lot of buzz about Vitamin D for its immune enhancing properties, especially when it comes to cold and flu prevention and treatment, but what does Vitamin D actually do for our bodies? How does deficiency cause acne? And how can we get more of it?
You may already be familiar with how to get the “sunshine vitamin” from, you guessed it, sun exposure. You may also already know that most people are deficient, even though they’ve been eating hyped up, “Vitamin D fortified” products like milk (both plant and animal derived), orange juice, and processed cereals. Even slight deficiencies make it harder for us to stay healthy and let’s not even talk about the major health issues that can develop when severe Vitamin D deficiency is involved.
So What Makes Vitamin D so Beneficial?
• Supports Strong Bones and Teeth
Vitamin D is known to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which helps to maintain the mineralization of bone which prevents them from becoming thin, brittle, or deformed.
• Supports the Immune System
Vitamin D is crucial to activating our body’s immune defenses. Without adequate levels, T-cells are more sluggish and are not able to react to and fight off infection. This is why the flu runs rampant during the winter months. As our bodies get less and less sunlight as the days get shorter, it’s easier to catch colds and flu as our stores of Vitamin D diminish.
Vitamin D is also known to prevent certain degenerative diseases and support body systems against heart disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, thyroid issues, blood clots, depression, lung infections, poor circulation, and brain fog.
Vitamin D is also known to:
• Regulate blood pressure
• Reduce stress and tension
• Relieve aches and pains
• Reduce muscle spasms
• Improves overall skin health
• Strengthens and protects blood vessels
• Helps prevent fractures
• Improves asthma
• Reduces PMS
• Treats and reduces tooth and gum disease
• Helps improve skin issues like vitiligo, scleroderma, acne, psoriasis, and lupus vulgarus
Is Vitamin D Deficiency Causing Your Acne?
Vitamin D is unique compared to other vitamins in the sense that it isn’t actually a vitamin at all, but a hormone called “Calcitriol”. It is created through the skin from steady exposure to sunlight, though you can source small amounts of it from certain foods like cod liver oil (I get mine here) and liver. The best kind of cod liver to get is fermented cod liver oil.
If you are suffering from acne, it’s important to know that since Vitamin D is essentially a hormone, it has the ability to affect other hormones too. This is because all hormones work together, so when your Vitamin D levels are deficient, it creates an imbalance among other hormones in the body that can disrupt the way your skin produces oil. This imbalance often results in acne.
• The Immune System
Vitamin D is also considered to be one of the most active compounds for turning on “healing genes”, so it’s important to keep your levels topped up so that the blemishes can heal completely and without further infection.
Vitamin D is known to produce chemicals that counteract inflammation and infection in the skin which is precisely what acne is!
Since Vitamin D stimulates T-cells to fight off infection, it is incredibly helpful in killing the ever annoying P. acnes bacteria. Taking 2,000 IU per day will be just as effective at clearing skin as a medicated acne wash. (I get my Vitamin D supplement here)
• Reduces Oil Production
Vitamin D suppresses sebaceous gland activity and helps regulate the skin’s sebum production. It also decreases overactive cell turnover which will keep your pores from getting clogged with dead skin cells, always a good thing when treating breakouts!
Skin with be smoother, softer, and protected from free radicals and oxidation that cause fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin D is vital for optimal emotional health and has a huge impact when it comes to redusing stress and balancing hormones. Getting enough Vitamin D will reduce stress, depression, and will improve mood.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D
Most dietary sources of Vitamin D are sadly lacking, so here’s a few ways to top up your levels:
One of the easiest and most effective ways to top up your levels of Vitamin D is to get outside in the sun, though this may be challenging for some people. If you are able to get some sunshine, here’s what you should do:
• Try to expose at least 40% of your body when soaking up your Vitamin D
• For people with lighter skin tones, try to sun bathe for 10-20 minutes a day, while people with darker skin tones should shoot for at least 1 hour.
The rule of thumb is, divide the amount of time it takes for you to get sunburn by 4 to know how long you need to expose yourself. If you burn in 60 minutes, your time in the sun would be 15 minutes per day.
• After exposure, be sure not to wipe the skin roughly or wash with harsh soap as this will remove the Vitamin D you just produced! Instead, if you need to bathe afterwards, just rinse with plain water and only use soap where absolutely necessary.
• Do not use sunscreen while sun bathing….duh!
• Take D3 supplements during the winter months when sun exposure is difficult to achieve
2. Food and Supplements
The next best way to top up your levels of Vitamin D other than sunshine is to eat foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D, or to take supplements.
• Eat liver a few times per week or take cod liver oil daily. Other foods that contain Vitamin D include:
- High quality eggs
• Take a high quality sublingual Vitamin D Supplement (usually 2,000 IU for adults is ideal)
The best way to know how much Vitamin D your body needs is to get your blood tested for deficiency. It IS possible to take too much Vitamin D so just be sure to find out how much you need. Typically, taking 2,000 IU per day for adults is LIKELY SAFE, but it is much better to get your Sunshine Vitamin from the source…the SUN!
For the best Vitamin D supplements, check out these strengths:
For more on Vitamin D, check out these articles:
Sunshine Doesn’t Always Give You Vitamin D – Our Heritage of Health
What’s all the Fuss about Vitamin D?
The Kitchen Rag Vitamin D Love
Low vitamin D levels
Vitamin D | Loula Natural
Vitamin D | Allison Nichols | Frisky Lemon Nutrition
For more on acne, check out the articles below:disclosure and disclaimer.