Our bodies thrive off of vitamin D. Ingesting it keeps our bones strong, our hearts healthy, and our moods regulated. And according to Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, applying it topically can make a major difference in your skin. This is especially true during the winter, when all of our complexions tend to be drier, itchier, and more irritated than usual.
"Vitamin D can be anti-inflammatory, which is why it can be used as a skin-care ingredient," says Dr. Garshick. "In fact, there are prescriptions that are vitamin D analogs commonly used for skin conditions such as psoriasis. It is also thought to have antioxidant benefits which can help to neutralize free-radical damage."
A 2020 study confirmed vitamin D's anti-inflammatory benefits, which make it ideal for the dryness and itching that run rampant this time of year. "Skin is likely to be more inflamed in general during the winter months given that the skin barrier can become impaired due to less humidity in the air," Caren Campbell, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in California, previously told Well+Good. What's more, the same study noted that the ingredient exerts "a variety of anti-aging and (photo) protective effects on the skin" when applied topically.
There aren't many vitamin D skin-care products out there, but if you're looking to experience the ingredient's skin-soothing and protective benefits, we've rounded up a few below. Just keep in mind that rubbing vitamin D on your skin is not the same as taking a supplement. "Using vitamin D topically does not replace taking an oral supplement if one is recommended due to vitamin D deficiency," says Dr. Garshick. So make sure you continue any supplements that you're taking.
5 vitamin D skin-care products
“Containing several key vitamins including vitamins A through F, this serum helps to brighten and hydrate the skin and can be used by all skin types,” says Dr. Garshick. “It can help to improve signs of skin aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and improving skin tone.”
“While not exactly vitamin D, this serum contains chronocyclin which is a type of chronopeptide that mimics the antioxidant benefits of vitamin D, while also helping to support a healthy skin barrier and leaving the skin glowing,” says Dr. Garshick. It also includes bronze pigment to give your skin an instant glow.
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