We all know that vitamin D or the ‘Sunshine’ vitamin, as it is better known, plays a crucial role in keeping our bones strong. But do you know that this vitamin plays a crucial role in your skin’s health as well?
Vitamin D has amazing benefits for your skin. In this article, we tell you why vitamin D is important for your skin and how you can get optimal amounts of vitamin D to keep it healthy.
Is Vitamin D Good For Skin?
Did you know that your skin is the primary organ supplying vitamin D to your body? It is therefore no wonder that vitamin D plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of your skin. 
Some important functions of vitamin D in skin are listed below:
1. Skin barrier function
Vitamin D regulates the generation of keratinocytes, the cells present in epidermis which is the outermost layer of your skin. These cells are critical for maintaining the function of your skin barrier. The skin barrier does not only keep out harmful germs and chemicals from your skin, but also helps lock in the moisture to prevent dehydration of the skin.
2. Boosting skin immunity
Skin is the largest protective organ and is one of the key components of the first line of defense of your body. Vitamin D is indispensable for the activation of the immune cells such as the macrophages and monocytes. These cells of the innate immune system play a crucial role in identifying and fighting any foreign substance that enters through your skin.
Vitamin D is also required for the regulation of B cells and T cells, the two primary components of the adaptive immune system. Overactivation of these cells can lead to autoimmune disorders.
3. Antimicrobial effects
Apart from promoting the barrier function and regulating the components of the immune system, vitamin D has a direct antimicrobial effect in the skin. Whenever germs enter your skin, vitamin D activates certain receptors which kill the microorganisms.
4. Regulation of sebaceous glands
Scientific studies have shown that vitamin D is important for growth regulation and optimum functioning of the cells of the sebaceous glands present in the skin. The sebaceous glands secrete sebum, which are natural oils that form a protective layer on the skin surface.
5. Photoprotective effects
Topical application of vitamin D3 has been shown to render protection against damage caused to the skin by UV light. Vitamin D reduces cell death, promotes cell survival and reduces redness due to photodamage of skin caused by UV radiation, to some extent.
6. Healing wounds
Vitamin D has been shown to increase the expression of the protein cathelicidin. This antimicrobial protein promotes repair of damaged tissue and restoration of the skin’s barrier mechanism. So it is important for the process of healing wounds on the skin.
How To Get Optimum Amounts Of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is rather an odd one out among the vitamins, as you cannot really get much vitamin D from the dietary sources. It is produced in your skin upon exposure to the UV B radiation present in the sunlight. 
Exposure to sunlight activates the precursor of vitamin D present in the epidermis which then enters the blood circulation. This form of vitamin D then undergoes further transformation in the liver and kidney respectively, to form the active form of vitamin D3, which is essential for different metabolic processes in the body.
However, you need only a moderate amount of sunlight exposure to obtain the required amount of vitamin D. Overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer, especially in people with lighter complexions.
Certain oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, red meat, eggs, etc. are good sources of vitamin D. Cod liver oil is another good source of vitamin D. Mushrooms are probably the only vegetarian source of vitamin D. Both dairy and non-dairy milk and certain breakfast cereals may be fortified with vitamin D. 
If you cannot get enough vitamin D from sunlight or dietary sources, then you can opt for vitamin D supplements. It is best to consult your doctor and get your vitamin D levels checked before starting on a vitamin D supplement.
Which Vitamin D Is Best For Skin?
Vitamin D3 also known as cholecalciferol, is a form of vitamin D that is produced naturally in your body upon exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D3 in its activated form does all the wonders on your skin regeneration and other metabolic functions in the skin.
Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol is a form of vitamin D from plant sources like mushrooms. Vitamin D2 has also been shown to work in a similar mechanism in the body as vitamin D3. However, both vitamin D2 and D3 needs to be activated by your body to transform into their active, functional forms. 
Can Lack Of Vitamin D Cause Skin Problems?
Since vitamin D plays such an important role in the development and normal functioning of the skin, it is evident that lack of vitamin D will cause various skin problems. Deficiency of vitamin D can increase the risk of the following diseases and disorders.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that plays multiple roles in maintaining your skin’s health. Moderate exposure to sunlight and consuming foods rich in vitamins can make sure that you get sufficient amounts of vitamin D. However, make sure to consult with your doctor before starting on a vitamin D supplement. Excess consumption of vitamin D supplements can cause adverse effects.
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