Vitamin D can be a confusing topic, it is required for optimal skin and body function, yet it is produced through sun exposure which we are usually encouraged to avoid, especially in our climate. Australia has one of the highest rates of Vitamin D deficiency in the world and also the highest rate of skin cancer - both very concerning factors.
Naturally found in the human body, Vitamin D is produced when the sun’s UVB rays interact with 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) which is found in our skin. Simply put, the human body needs vitamin D, which means the human body needs sun exposure. But it must be safe sun exposure.
Why We Need It
Most commonly we know that Vitamin D is needed to stop the deterioration of bone tissue in adults and to allow for maximum penetration and absorption of iron and calcium. So we know that Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. A less known factor is that Vitamin D is also essential for skin health as it plays a primary role in ensuring skin immunity. This means our skin needs Vitamin D to be healthy.
Best Ways To Get It
A general rule of thumb is to spend approximately 30 minutes in the direct sunshine per day. It's recommended that fair skinned people go out before 10am or after 3pm for safe sun exposure. Darker skins find it harder to make Vitamin D because of their higher melanin levels protecting their skin, so should go out in the middle of the day to have enough sun exposure to produce Vitamin D. High SPF sunscreen should still be applied to the face only during exposure, the rest of the body should be sunscreen free during sun safe times only.
Alternatively, you can take a Vitamin D supplement, however you should have been diagnosed as having low Vitamin D by your health practitioner. Never self diagnose or take Vitamin D without having tested your levels first. We can do this for you!
What About Pigment?
Unfortunately avoiding the sun, and therefore potentially being at risk of low Vitamin D, isn’t the answer to your pigmentation problems. Remember your skin needs Vitamin D for optimum skin function. If you know you are prone to pigmentation then it is best that you continue to use your high sun protection on your face during exposure, as well as using a tyronisaise inhibitor skincare range such as Medik8’s White Balance Oxy-R and White Balance Duo.
If you’re unsure of what your vitamin D levels are, and whether you need to have a little more safe sun time or supplementation, the Nurse Practitioner at Mi:skn Clinic can easily test your levels and you’ll receive a Medicare rebate too.