There’s so much to love about this time of year. The cold fresh air, the crunch of the vibrant autumn leaves underfoot, cozying up under blankets and sipping your fav comforting drink (hot choccie with extra marshmallows for me!), oh, and we can’t forget the looming anticipation of the upcoming festivities that creep closer and closer every day! 🎄
As we head into autumn and winter though, the days are shorter and the nights come quicker, and getting enough sunlight can feel like a genuine mission!(location dependant, of course). We wake up in the dark and return home from work in the dark. Summer nights are long gone, and oh how we miss them! 🥲
The sun’s giving us the cold shoulder, the clouds are taking over, and this combination means our Vitamin D levels during these months take a swift nosedive.
Worry not though my lovely friends, this blog post will leave you with all of the tools you need to survive the dreary seasons ahead and come out with the Vitamin D levels of a thriving sunflower in Yuma, (which is according to the World Meteorological Organization, is the sunniest place on planet earth 🌞).
We’re all well aware that vitamin D (or the ‘Sunshine’ vitamin, as it is commonly referred to) plays a crucial role in keeping our bones and teeth strong, but did you know that this vitamin plays a crucial role in your skin’s health too?
It’s vital then, that during the dark and gloomy months that make up our autumns and winters we’re extra mindful that we’re getting enough.
Let’s dive into some of the magical workings of Vitamin D in our skin and how it works to keep our skin healthy and thriving!
* Vitamin D is essential in maintaining the skin barrier function
It turns out that Vitamin D is essential in regulating keratinocytes; the cells that are present in the epidermis (the outermost layer of your skin).
These cells are vital in maintaining the function of your skin barrier, and if you’re looking for the key 🗝️ to unlock thriving skin, your skin barrier is it!
If you’d like to learn more about the skin barrier, why it’s so important, and how to keep yours healthy, watch my video here (and don’t forget to subscribe 🤭).
The skin barrier is so important, as it protects the overall integrity of your skin. It keeps out icky harmful germs, bacteria, toxins and chemicals that could cause inflammation, infection and breakouts, and your skin barrier also locks in moisture to prevent your skin from dehydrating. I wasn’t exaggerating y’all, the skin barrier is essential for skin health!
* Vitamin D is essential for your skin's immunity
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for the regulation of B cells and T cells (also known as lymphocytes) these are the two primary components of your immune system! So, for a healthy immune system, and healthy skin, we must have adequate Vitamin D levels! Who knew this was going to turn into a biology class? 😅As a little added side bonus, because Vitamin D seems to be generous like that, it also helps to destroy those pesky free radicals, y’know, the ones that can cause dreaded premature aging. 🆘
Ok, Who else officially loves Vitamin D? 🙋🏿♀️
* Vitamin D has Antimicrobial effects
This wonder Vitamin also has a direct antimicrobial action in the skin. To put it simply, whenever nasty germs enter your skin from your outside environment, vitamin D activates certain receptors in your skin which kill the microorganisms and keep you protected! Come 👏🏾 on 👏🏾 Now👏🏾!!!!
* Vitamin D is essential for wound healing on the skin
When you think of wound healing, what comes to mind? Probably cuts, skin abrasions and well, wounds! But wound healing is also essential for healing acne and breakouts, sores, and any other skin conditions that cause inflammation and injury to the skin.
Vitamin D has been shown to increase the creation of the protein cathelicidin (now say that 5 times 🥴), which is an antimicrobial peptide that our immune system uses to fight off wound infections. Cathelicidin encourages cell growth and promotes the repair of damaged tissue and restoration of the skin’s barrier function. So it is a vital component in the process of healing wounds on the skin. This means then that when the skin is injured, a higher amount of vitamin D intake can enhance healing! 👏🏿
* Vitamin D has inflammatory properties (and reduces inflammatory disorders of the skin).
We’ve probably all experienced inflammation at some point in our lives. In our skin, it shows up as red, angry, itchy, uncomfortable and the goal is to have the opposite of inflammation, which is calm, clear, thriving skin!
Research suggests that inadequate vitamin D levels enhance the risk of skin diseases like psoriasis, ichthyosis, vitiligo, photo-reactivity, hair loss, and melanoma, and raising those levels can have a positive impact on the outcome of those skin conditions.
Who knew this little sunshine Vitamin could be so potent and vital for not only our skin, but overall health?
Ok so now we’ve covered how Vitamin D is basically a miracle that should not be neglected… The most important consideration comes, how do we get enough Vitamin D, especially during autumn and winter? ❄️
The most natural way to increase your vitamin D levels is by spending time in the sunlight (just don’t forget your SPF 50+) y’all know how I feel about that! 😂
Just in case you’re worried that your dedication to sunscreen will inhibit the sunlight letting Vitamin D work its magic… studies have never found that everyday sunscreen use leads to vitamin D insufficiency. Phew! 😅
As I mentioned earlier, as we’re approaching the dark and gloomy months of winter, getting enough sunlight isn’t always very easy; especially when you’re wrapped from head to toe in your winter layers to avoid a mild case of frostbite.
During this time, supplementation is your best bet to ensure you have all bases covered. It’s inexpensive to supplement, and can be found in your local drugstore. 💊
Incorporating fatty fish and seafood into your diet can also add to your Vitamin D stores, and if you’re Vegan or Vegetarian, a lot of the foods we eat nowadays are also fortified with Vitamin D (cereals and nut milks for example).
So now you know just how important this little sunshine vitamin is for both your skin and overall health, and taking the steps above will help keep your stores plentiful for the chilly, dark winter days ahead!