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Vitamin-D-Good for Acne and an All-In-One Benefit Package

Acne is affecting 50 million Americans and the cost of the treatment plus work loss estimate to 3 billion dollars (2016-2026).

The fact that Vitamin-D is good for acne is supported by research with compelling scientific pieces of evidence.

The blog will be about:

  1. A synopsis on Vitamin-D and Acne
  2. Effect of Vitamin-D Deficiency -Cause of Acne
  3. Vitamin-D for Acne- The Benefits
  4. Tips to Increase Your Vitamin-D level

a) Sun exposure, b) Vitamin-D supplements, c) Vitamin-D rich food, d) Topical application of Vitamin-D

5. Take Away

Vitamin-D from sun exposure

A synopsis on Vitamin-D and Acne

Vitamin-D is produced on skin by sun exposure and fondly known as “sunshine” Vitamin. It is a prohormone and converted to hormone inside the body. Vit-D in its hormone form performs and controls multiple operations in the body. Vitamin-D deficiency is associated with several skins and other diseases, many of them are life-threatening.

Acne is a skin disfiguring disorder characterized by different types of bumps on the skin surface. These are clogged pores with oil, a massive number of dead skin cells and may contain parasitic bacteria. They can be painful depending on the severity.

Let’s find out how Vitamin-D benefits acne and the cause in this important and disturbing skin disorder.

Effect of Vitamin-D Deficiency- Cause of Acne

Hormones work together. Vitamin-D deficiency is a hormonal deficiency that affects other hormones creating an imbalance. It is connected with poor health of the endocrine system that results in skin disorder.

From observational studies, Vitamin-D deficiency has been suggested to increase acne causing androgen, testosterone level and POC (March 2018). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854850/

Increased level of androgen stimulates the sebaceous gland to force release excess oil. This situation leads to hyperproliferation of cells and massive shedding of cells leading to the clogging of the pore.

To make this situation worse, the hormone imbalance results in a disturbance in the health of microbial equilibrium where P. acne is an inhabitant. The acne microbes get into the acne site creating inflammation.

Overall it is a cascade effect.

Deficiency of Vitamin-D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Multiple studies in adults and children have demonstrated that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk and greater severity of an infection.

Researchers have found <15 ng/ mL vitamin-D (Vitamin-D deficiency) have found a high level of inflammatory response

Vitamin-D for Acne and Clear Skin- The Benefits

First off, adequate Vitamin-D serum level keeps the hormones in harmony and help to hinder the onset of acne

Here is some attribute of Vitamin-D that is essential for being anti-acne.

  1. It is a controller of the hormone system
  2. It is involved in cell growth, proliferation and orderly renewal of skin
  3. It regulates sebum production
  4. The modulator of the Immune System.

It influences the production of important endogenous antimicrobial peptides such as cathelicidin, and regulate the inflammatory cascade.

5. Vitamin-D deficiency is associated with Inflammation. At Vit-D serum level of 50 ng/ mL, the highest level of inflammatory inhibition was found.

6. It has a strong anti-microbial action

7. It helps regulate microbial balance, where P. Acne is an inhabitant.

In a 2016 study with 160 subjects (80 having acne and 80 having number acne), 22.5% of number-acne and 48.8% were found to be vitamin-D deficient. The severity of the disease in the study arm was found to be related to the amount of Vit-D. The less the D-amount, the worse was the severity. Treating the subjects with Vit-D with 1000 IU/ day for of Vit-D improved the severity and inflammation of 39% of the subjects.

Consolidation all the above points tend toward an adequate level of Vitamin-D can influence and help acne offering you clearer skin inside out.

Tips to Increase Your Vitamin-D level

Sun exposure: This is the major source of Vitamin-D. With all these major compelling evidence and testimonials mounting about the association of vitamin-D deficiency with acne, wise sun exposure provides one of the most effective treatment options for acne. Repeated and frequent sun exposure within a period can provide you maximum benefit with minimum exposure

Vitamin-D3 supplement and Vitamin-D rich food can help supplement the D-level when sun exposure is not an option.

Topical Vitamin-D for Acne

In a trial to evaluating the feasibility of transdermal delivery of Vitamin-D consisting of 48 women, it is demonstrated that the topical application of vitamin-D could increase the Vitamin-D level.

Topical Application of Vitamin-D Enhances the Vitamin-D Level

Topical Application of Vitamin-D Enhances the Vitamin-D Level
Control Arm Study Arm
No of subjects* 24 24
Starting Vit-D level in ng/ mL 10.4  ± 3.97** 12.85± 6.54 **
Treatment regimen Aloe vera gel Vitamin-D3 + Aloe vera gel
Amount of Aloe vera gel 1 g 1 gm ( + 5000 IU of Vit-D3)
Duration 3 months 3 months
Ending Vit-D level in ng/ mL 9.58 ± 3.03** 37.95 ± 6.43**
* Two subjects were excluded having a vitamin-D3 level of >30 ng/mL. The subjects were unaware of the group they belong to. They kept their lifestyle and diet unchanged throughout the 3 months. ** All these levels were statistically significant <5% deviation

Although this study used a small number of subject, it provides an option for patients to increase the D-level beyond sun exposure and supplement.

Takeaway

Vitamin-D brings in an all-in-one benefit package to treat acne. Along with a master controlling hormonal action, powerful microbial action, immunity modulation and ability to fight off the inflammation, dismantling the colonization of hair follicles by providing a healthy bacterial assembly that subdued the action of acne bacteria, i.e. Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

Sensible exposure to small doses of Vitamin-D producing sunlight, you may get a completely natural treatment option for curing acne. Do not worry if you are not having sunlight as much as you like. Replenish your body with D-supplement and vitamin-D rich diet or consult your dermatologist for a topical treatment.

Anusuya Choudhury

12 Comments

  1. sun is medicine that is always available in most part of the world if not wall but most people regards sun’s as asource of problems than solutions that is why you find people are always running away from no mater how harmless it’s .this blog give us the opportunity to realize that it comes with more good than harm and it should be given maximum time everyone.especially morning hours when it’s not too hot

    • Hi Charles,

      Thank you for your time reading this article. You are absolutely right, about how important is the sun to our life. The current culture is an indoor and sunscreen culture. You see indoor stadiums. People are scared to get sunbath because they may get skin cancer. But you can adopt a sensible sun exposure.

      I will just point out, research has established you get maximum Vitamin-D during solar noon, not in the morning or afternoon. It is really hot but just a few minutes can get you enough Vitamin-D.

      Take care,

      Anusuya

  2. I found this post very informative.  I hadn’t realized that not getting enough sun was one of the reasons I have acne prone skin.  Now that I know, I will be working towards getting more sun and also starting a Vit-D regimen.

    I knew that being in the sunshine always lifted my mood but I didn’t realize that not getting enough could have adverse effects.

    Thank you for sharing.

    How much sun exposure would you recommend?

    • Hi Margarette,

      I am glad that you found my post informative. First off if you plan a Vit-D regime, I recommend you talk to your doctor.

      For sun exposure: If you are planning to take a sunbath for 10-15 min, here is one thing you may try out for your acne prone skin.

      you do not need to spend a lot of time under the sun. To make your 10-15 minutes even better, you can go 4-5 minutes under the sun or maybe even less and then go to a shady area for a few minutes to cool a bit (Vitamin-D is still forming in a shady area per research because you are still warm), then come back once more. You can do this repeated exposure. It gives you maximum benefit with minimum exposure. 

      I have benefited from it. But every person is different and so also the skin. I am not sure how well it will work for you. But the science behind this principle is strong and in principle, it should work.

      Take care.

      Anusuya

  3. I have to give a vitamin D supplement to my baby because we don’t get as much sun as we should. I asked her doctor how long she should take it for and her response was for forever. She said nobody gets as much sunlight as they should (personally, I would exclude farmers and others who have outside jobs) and should be taking vitamin d.

    It’s interesting that a lack of vitamin d can increase acne. Do you have links for the research you mentioned about it?

    Since it deals with hormones, I wonder if it has any effect on the female cycle. I know foods that are high in estrogen can.

    • Hi Nicole,

      Thank you for taking the time to read the article. Yes, ~94% of the world is D-deficient as per stats. I have a reference regarding the Vit-D and acne connection. Basically, all my write-ups are research-based and I have referenced the external sites.

      To answer your question about the female cycle- hormones in the body are in equilibrium.  Yes, Vitamin-D impacts the menstrual cycle. Please read the verbiage from Vitamin-D council below

      ” Insufficient vitamin D levels (20-30 ng/ml; 50-75 nmol/l) were associated with nearly a two times increased odds of longer menstrual cycles compared to those with levels above 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/l)”.

  4. Hello Anusuya.

    I had no idea Vitamin D was an important factor in controlling acne. Thank you for this enlightening article. It does make sense though because Vitamin D is important for so many health related issues. I agree that you don’t have to spend a long time in the sun – in fact, I understand that only a few minutes a day (10-15) is an adequate amount of time. You can also get Vitamin D from foods and supplements. Do you recommend a good Vitamin D supplement to take?

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      Thank you for taking the time to read the post. I am glad that it helped you.  Yes, you are right, you do not need to spend a lot of time under the sun. To make your 10-15 minutes even better, you can go 4-5 minutes under the sun and then go to a shady area for a few minutes to cool a bit (Vitamin-D is still forming in a shady area per research because you are still warm), then come back once more. You can do this repeated exposure. It gives you maximum benefit with minimum exposure). 

      Depending on your Vitamin-D deficiency level, your physician will guide you for either a prescription based Vit-D or OT the Vit-D or both.

      I myself use Kirkland extra strength Vitamin-D3 2000 IU. This seems to have a great rating on a product review site.

      I hope this answer helps.

      Anusuya

  5. I have a female family member who has suffered from acne for many years now. She had some tests and had some hormone imbalances.  One possible cause that was stated was a pituitary tumor – which was unconfirmed.  I’m thinking that she should up her vitamin D and then get re-checked.  Also I have a question:  I have been told that vitamin K helps the body to absorb and use vitamin D.  Can you confirm if this is actually true?  

    • Hi KPampquist,

      I appreciate you taking the time to read the post.

      Based on my research, Vitamin-D is a vital nutrient of the body. The deficiency of Vitamin-D is associated with many life-threatening diseases. Optimal Vitamin-D levels are necessary for optimal health. Because she is low in Vitamin-D regardless of anything, I assume the doctor may have already recommended upping up the D-level. If not, please consult your physician and follow the recommendations.

      Regarding the Vit-K and D question-the jury is out. These two work synergistically. The functions are: Vitamin-D helps absorb calcium. In other words, if there is no Vitamin-D, there is calcium absorption in the body. Vitamin-K helps direct calcium to desirable places (bone) and get calcium away from undesired places like arteries.

      I hope my answer helps.

      Thank you.

  6. One of the best piece of article I’ve come across on Vitamin D. Can Vitamin-D be helpful for eyesight correction?

    • Hi Ivy,

      Thank you for your time reading this article. I am glad that you liked it.
      To answer your question about eyesight correction with optimal Vitamin-D- I just add my own experience. I got a perfect 20/20 from a negative small no, I can not just recall now.
      But I can not speak for others.
      Anusuya

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