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Like the upholstery on your favorite couch, your skin acts as protector of all that's underneath it. It's the largest organ in the body and deserves close daily attention. One of the duties it diligently performs is absorbing vitamin D, which is essential for good health and bone formation. If you want to be fierce and soft simultaneously, you'll take the time to hydrate and feed your skin.
You'll get your daily dose of vitamin D directly from the sun -- if you expose your skin to it. You can even get a daily dose of D from the ultraviolet rays in a tanning bed. However, the doctors at the American Academy of Dermatology say to stay out of the sun and the tanning bed and get your vitamin D through other means. The risk of skin cancer is just too great. The American Cancer Society reports that 2 million people get skin cancer every year, as of 2010. Never mind the wrinkles you'll develop from UV exposure. The carcinogens you'll soak up from UV rays turns smooth skin into alligator hides, suppresses your immune system and can even cause cataracts. Yikes!
You gotta have it. Vitamin D is essential for skin care. Without it, your body can't absorb calcium and phosphorus. Eat and drink your vitamin D in fortified products such as milk and orange juice. When you buy your next box of cereal, read the label and choose fortified brands high in vitamin D. Fish that's oily, such as tuna and salmon, are good sources of D. Check out fortified cheese and yogurt, too. Your body uses vitamin D and gets it to your bones and skin where it's needed no matter where it comes from.
Rub It On
If you don't get enough D in your system, you can develop a host of skin problems, including psoriasis. Creams and ointments loaded with vitamin D may be your best bet for clearing up those unsightly skin disasters if they do develop. According to MayoClinic.com, a cream containing synthetic vitamin D3 inhibits skin cell growth and stops the bumps and scales you get in addition to the heartbreak of psoriasis. And while they're still conducting studies, there are signs that vitamin D can nix ugly senile warts.
If you're not sure how much vitamin D you really need, talk to your doctor. She'll advise you if you need to take supplements and in what dosages. Your health really is at stake. We have the bones and skin treatments covered, but there are other benefits to getting sufficient D daily, too. Vitamin D supplements may work to prevent your skin from developing skin infections like dermatitis, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Internal use of the supplements also seem to correct an immune system balance that makes you prone to skin breakouts. Over time, you could avoid the redness and itchy skin condition that puts you out of commission all together.