Welcome to BCRX’s first pop quiz. We hoped you studied up, because you only get one chance to get it right. This one is a little tricky-
The question proposed is this: Which vitamin is better for your skin, Vitamin C or Vitamin D?
We’re all familiar with Vitamin C and all it’s immune boosting, free radical fighting properties. So, you might be tempted to say it’s vitamin C for the shoe-in, of course, right? Errrrrrrrr.
*Insert extra loud buzzer sound, because we’re extra.*
The answer is: both are good for your skin. Shocker, right? We all thought vitamin D was for bone health – not your glowing complexion. And while it’s true you may not be getting any brighter from Vitamin D, you may just age a little bit slower. Maybe that explains why cosmetic surgery is so popular stateside, because basically all of us are low in Vitamin D. In fact, around 77% of Americans, are deficient in it.
Vitamin D, isn’t just good for combating premature aging. It’s also really great for those of us who have skin conditions. Like the dreaded dry-skin-ritual that happens every season change, or psoriasis, or eczema (I have this one, it’s far from fun.)
So here’s the thing— we’ve been lied too. Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin. It’s (here’s a mouthful), a fat-soluble prohormone steroid. Sounds scary right, so we’ll break it down. Vitamin D, basically controls the amount of calcium in our bloodstream. Calcium, effects everything.
Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat. – National Osteoporosis Foundation
Then…. throw this into the mix:
The mineral calcium is well-known for its key role in bone health, teeth and bodily organs, including the skin, where it regulates skin's many functions. ... Aging is associated with thinning of the epidermis, elastosis, loss of melanocytes associated with an increased paleness of the skin and a decreased barrier function. – Lorealparisusa.com
So, let’s say we are eating enough calcium-rich foods (almonds, sprouted broccoli, curly kale, amaranth, yogurt, chia seeds), we also need to be eating enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is going to be the best crosswalk officer you’ve ever seen in action.
Working together with Calcium or of its own functions, the take-away is this: Vitamin D is important for your skin.
There’s three ways to get Vitamin D into your diet: supplements, whole foods, and sunshine. As we always, we’re going to encourage a well-rounded diet. So, we’ve compiled a list of Vitamin D rich foods for you.
- Egg whites
(from chickens who are allowed to roam in the sun you’ll get 3-4x more Vitamin D content.)
- Wild Grown Mushrooms
(They have the ability to filter the sunlight and Vitamin D, you’re not really going to get any Vitamin D, from lab grown mushrooms.)
- Cheese: Fontina, Monterey, or Cheddar
(Really, small amounts of vitamin D here, around .2mcg - .6mcg or 8-24 IU. Other types have less.)
- Fatty Fish: Salmon, Tuna, and Mackerel
- Beef Liver
(Sounds gross, but I’m a sucker for a good pâté on a baguette with Brie cheese- toasted of course. Don’t forget to pair it with hot lentil soup with a dash of olive oil.)
- Fortified Milks: Cow’s milk, Plant-based: hemp, oat, almond, soy, and rice.
(Roughly, 2.5mcg or 100 IU per serving)
- Fortified Tofu
(Check the label not all tofu’s are fortified with vitamin D. If it is fortified though, you’re looking at around 2.5mcg to 100 IU.)
Your goal is around 15-20mcg or 600-800 IU.
Over a period of time, your skin accumulates damage from oxidation and other things. This damage then causes aging and structural changes to your skin. Vitamin C, is a proactive way to combat all of that unnecessary aging and damage.
Vitamin C, is able to play the supporting role and stabilize collagen mRNA. Vitamin C serums of 5% to 30% are recommended for topical application. The serum boosted collagen is then able to make easy work of repairing damaged skin.
Vitamin C, also contains antioxidant properties that fight free radicals seeking to wreak havoc on your lovely skin. We encounter free radicals every day, as our skin is constantly under attack from our environments.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage the cells in your body. They form when atoms or molecules gain or lose electrons. ... For example, when your body uses oxygen, it creates free radicals as a by-product and the damage caused by those free radicals is called "oxidative stress. – Veryfitwell.com
Question time: Are all vitamin C forms going to affect your skin the same way?
The short answer is no. There’s three recommended ways to get your daily dose: diet, and supplements, and topical.
Topical Serums are great for troubleshooting uneven skin, acne, dullness, and fine lines. (They’re even preferential over creams or lotions.) You’re putting it right on the problem area- in return you’re kind of able to direct the vitamin C to the exact job you want done. Like brightening unexpected dark skin pigmentation from uneven skin tone or damage.
Tip: when purchasing a serum make sure it comes in a dark bottle. Vitamin C breaks down in the light and air.
When it comes to diet the journal: Nutrients (2017 August edition) has this to say:
Additionally, many of the components of our antioxidant defenses such as vitamins C and E and selenium are obtained from the diet, and these are likely to be important for protection against UV-induced damage… – The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health, Nutrients Journal
So, a tropical serum might be best utilized for cosmetic reasons on your epidermis (top layer of skin). Fortifying your body through diet and supplement is going to help with for example: UV (free-radical) damage within your dermis. Your dermis is the thicker layer of skin under your epidermis. The reality is topical applications of Vitamin C, would face challenges reaching all the way down to your dermis- its unable to make much of a difference.
So, we recommend hitting up all the possible ways of getting your daily dose of Vitamin C. Making sure you get enough through food or drink, and also using a great reputable serum to tackle surface damage.
ProTip: For sensitive skin start with a 5% Vitamin C serum and test on a patch of skin to check for an allergic reaction.
~Here’s a cheers to happier, healthier, and radiant skin.
---BCRX Content Writer, Klarrisa Arafa