Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is important for many biological systems, including the immune system. Vitamin D is not naturally present in many foods, but it is commonly added to certain types of food (eg. Milk, Breakfast Cereal). In humans, Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or UV tanning beds.
Vitamin D and Acne
Vitamin D is rarely used as a direct treatment for active acne or acne scars, but it is often incorporated into the dietary component of comprehensive acne treatment plans. Due to the beneficial effects vitamin D has on the immune system, people with acne will benefit from an adequate supply of vitamin D in their diet. Vitamin D may also have some anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the symptoms associated with acne.
However, Vitamin D supplementation is unlikely to dramatically improve acne symptoms for most individuals. There is little clinical research on the effectiveness of Vitamin D supplements as treatments for acne. However, a handful of research studies from the early 20th century found that Vitamin D supplements were helpful at reducing the number of acne lesions. Overall, more research is needed to understand the relationship between Vitamin D and the development of acne symptoms.
How Does Vitamin D Work?
Vitamin D is very important for maintaining serum calcium and phosphate levels, which are needed for normal bone mineralization. There are numerous other functions that vitamin D regulates, such as cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and the reduction of inflammation.
There is limited evidence that Vitamin D supplementation is beneficial for otherwise healthy people that are do not have a Vitamin D deficiency. Most people obtain significant Vitamin D in their diet, but people living in areas with low levels of sunlight in the winter may benefit from Vitamin D supplements.
Dietary sources of Vitamin D include Fish, Mushrooms and Liver. Cod Liver and Fish Oil supplements also contain significant concentrations of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Doktorsky, et al. 1933.
Propionibacterium acnes induces an IL-17 response in acne vulgaris that is regulated by vitamin A and vitamin D. Kim, et al. 2014.
High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. Adebamowo, et al. 2005.
Vitamin D and the skin: an ancient friend, revisited. Reichrath. 2007.
Benefits and requirements of vitamin D for optimal health: a review. Grant, et al. 2005.
Vitamin D, disease and therapeutic opportunities. Plum, et al. 2010.
Vitamin D in Acne: a comparison with X-ray treatment. Maynard. 1938.
A review of the critical role of vitamin D in the functioning of the immune system and the clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency. Schwalfenberg. 2011.
Serum levels of vitamin D metabolites in isotretinoin-treated acne patients. Rodland, et al. 1991.
Characterization of the vitamin D endocrine system in human sebocytes in vitro. Kramer, et al. 2009.
Vitamin D and innate immunity. Miller, et al. 2010.
Sunlight, tanning booths, and vitamin D. Lim, et al. 2005.