What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for the proper function of our hair and skin. In fact, vitamin D promotes proper calcium absorption in your gut. This means the vitamin keep your bones from becoming thin and brittle, and — along with calcium — fights against osteoporosis. The nutrient is even involved in cell turnover, which ultimately improves the appearance of skin.
How Does Vitamin D Affect My Hair and Skin?
In addition to brittle bones and muscle weakness, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to changes in your mood, exhaustion, chronic pain, and unexplained infertility. But it also affects the skin and hair.
From a basic science perspective, studies show vitamin D plays a role in the normal maturation of the skin barrier, the skin's immune system, wound healing, and the hair growth cycle. Clinically, decreased vitamin D levels have been associated with dry skin, delayed wound healing, psoriasis, and hair loss.
A lack of vitamin D to stress-related thinning hair (telogen effluvium), and even alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that results in hair loss after the immune system attacks hair follicles. It can alsolead to certain skin conditions, including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
What's the Best Source of Vitamin D?
Sunlight plays a major role in helping your body to generate vitamin D, but not in the way you might think. In fact, doctors are quick to assure patients that obtaining vitamin D from sunlight does not mean laying out in the sun or using a tanning bed.
There are several food sources that are rich in the nutrient you can consume as an alternative. Egg yolk, certain fishes (salmon, sardines, tuna), and foods enriched with vitamin D are dietary sources. Since unprotected sunlight exposure comes with the risk of skin cancer, and the number of foods naturally rich in vitamin D are limited, most dermatologists recommend supplementation to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
Can Your Skin Tone Affect How Much Vitamin D You Absorb from the Sun?
Believe it or not, yes. But regardless of your skin tone, it's important to note that everyone has to wear sunscreen daily.
In the spring and summer, it takes approximately 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure for a lighter skin person to produce the recommended daily amount of vitamin . It is more difficult to produce the recommended amount of vitamin D in the fall and winter. The exact amount of time required is not known. It is difficult for darker skin to create enough vitamin D year round, and vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon in this population. Vitamin D is readily absorbed in the gut, so supplementation is an easy alternative.
What Is Vitamin D?