Vitamin D offers a variety of health benefits, and vitamins D2 and D3 are the most beneficial forms of vitamin D for skin health. Vitamin D cream or supplements can be an effective treatment for skin disorders such as psoriasis. Vitamin D treatments also might help repair skin damage, prevent infections within skin injuries and rejuvenate the skin.
One of the most well-known uses of vitamin D for skin health is in the treatment of psoriasis. Psoriasis symptoms include itchy and flaky skin, which can be healed and prevented by the topical application of prescription vitamin D cream or by taking prescription vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D3 is desirable for treating skin ailments because it lacks the side effects of other treatments, such as steroids.
Vitamin D3 contains particularly strong anti-inflammatory properties, which makes creams and lotions containing vitamin D for skin effective treatments for burns, skin injuries and skin damage such as stretch marks. The antioxidant effects of vitamin D might prevent skin damage and premature aging of the skin when taken via supplements or diet. Some sufferers of skin disorders have also found symptom relief through careful, balanced sun exposure.
Some scientists claim that vitamin D absorbed through limited sun exposure might prevent skin damage and sunburn by strengthening the skin, making it less likely to burn. Opponents of this theory refer to research showing that excess sun exposure is likely the main cause of most skin cancers. This issue causes major disagreement in the scientific community, and most medical professionals advise anyone at risk for skin cancer to limit sun exposure and take vitamin D supplements to prevent vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be a contributing cause of autoimmune disease, bone disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. In addition to the benefits of vitamin D for skin, research shows that vitamin D supplements might help prevent breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. Nutrition experts recommend 200 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day for adults younger than 50 and 400 IU per day for those 50 to 70 years old. Anyone 71 or older should increase his or her intake of vitamin D to 600 IU per day.
There are few natural sources of vitamin D for skin, and the most common food source is fortified milk. Foods containing vitamin D include beef liver, cheese, cod liver oil, egg yolks and fish. The best source of vitamin D is the sun, but unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can raise the risk of skin cancer.