There is a key ingredient to healthy skin that is one of the most dynamic substances the human body produces. This vital substance has the power to activate over 2000 genes. It controls everything from normal bone growth and immune system response to healthy eyesight and neuromuscular function. It is absolutely essential to the long-lasting health and beauty of the skin through its crucial involvement in skin cell metabolism, growth, repair and protection. This amazing and largely overlooked nutrient is none other than vitamin D.
Every skin cell begins its life deep in the base layer of the epidermis. As these immature cells detach and migrate upward on their 2 week journey to the surface, they go through a series of complex changes in both form and function. The rate at which these cells divide, the nature and timing of their changes, as well as their transit time to the surface, are all controlled by growth factors and other molecules that are triggered by the presence of vitamin D.
The skin loses and must replace about 40,000 cells every minute. If enough vitamin D is not available to fuel this process, replacement cells won’t be manufactured quickly enough. Inevitably, the outer layer of skin becomes thinner and more fragile. It begins to sag from lack of adequate support. Dryness and wrinkles eventually set in as moisture is lost to the outside.
A Leading Destroyer of Age-Causing Free Radicals
The skin is extremely susceptible to free radical damage because of its high metabolism and fatty acid content. Free-radicals deteriorate the skin’s structural support and decrease its elasticity, resilience, and suppleness. The skin protects itself from this oxidative destruction through the presence of natural antioxidants. One of the most powerful of these is vitamin D. In fact, Vitamin D has been shown to be more effective than vitamin E in reducing lipid peroxidation.
Facing a Modern Epidemic of Staggering Proportions
The skin can synthesize approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D after just 20–30 minutes of summer sun exposure. Unfortunately, between the ages of 20 and 70, about 75% of this ability to produce vitamin D is lost. In addition, today’s predominantly indoor lifestyle and widespread use of UV-blocking sunscreens have severely decreased the amount of vitamin D the average person produces.
Other limiting factors play a part as well. Darker skinned people need 5-10 times more exposure to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D as lighter skinned people. Those who live in latitudes beyond 37 degrees north or south of the equator are also at greater risk of lacking vitamin D. It is now estimated that roughly 75% of all teens and adults in the United States are vitamin D deficient. To make matters worse, most of the active vitamin D the body is able to produce is used to help build and maintain strong bones and not to nurture the skin.
Fulfilling a Growing Need in Skin Care
Skin care products containing vitamin D are the most effective means of addressing this growing problem. Topical creams and lotions featuring highly bioavailable forms of vitamin D can specifically target the skin, effectively replenishing this vital nutrient directly at the source. Boosting levels of Vitamin D promotes healthy skin by stimulating cell growth, repair and metabolism, enhancing your skin’s immune system, and quenching free radicals that cause premature aging.
Certain natural antioxidants can also offer further protection from damaging inflammation and oxidative stress when combined with vitamin D. Red tea, in particular, contains a number of potent antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and beta-carotene as well as polyphenols and flavonoids that help heal and rejuvenate skin. When applied topically, a formula containing vitamin D and a concentrated tea extract provides a unique solution to help maximize and maintain the skin’s overall health.
About the Author:
Gary Goldfaden, MD. is a practicing dermatologist, lifetime member of The American Academy of Dermatology and the creator of GOLDFADEN MD products. As a member of The Life Extension Foundation Medical Advisory board, Dr. Goldfaden has published hundreds of articles on innovative ingredients, fueled by his experience creating the eponymous skincare line. In 2012, Dr. Goldfaden released the much anticipated book, ‘Your Guide to Healthy Skin The Natural Way’ in which he writes about his belief in the synergy between living healthy inside and out and encompassing effective ways to deal with skin issues.