by Celeste Hilling, healthy skin care expert and CEO, Skin Authority
Does everyone around you to have the holiday spirit, yet you would rather hide under the covers feeling “SAD?” The cause may be seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Also known as winter depression or the winter blues, SAD affects up to 20% of people. The condition is four times more common in women than in men and is more prevalent the farther north you go. (Source: American Academy of Family Physicians)
Low levels of vitamin D contribute to SAD as well. It’s estimated that one billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient; a number that goes up in winter. Vitamin D is only made in one place – the skin – and as a healthy skin care expert, I have spent considerable time researching the importance of D to mind and body. In part two of my series on cold weather and skin, we’ll explore why vitamin D is critical for inside-out beauty, health, and wellbeing.
Vitamin D is the only vitamin which the body makes (all others come from food). It is made in the skin and gets converted to a hormone. In addition to leveling out your mood, unbalanced vitamin D hormone levels contribute to skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and heavy wrinkling.
As we age, the skin’s ability to produce D declines. Even if we get enough vitamin D internally (which is nearly impossible), less than 1 percent of what we ingest makes its way to the skin. To test your levels of D, ask your doctor to perform a simple 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, also called a 25(OH) D test, or you can order a home test online at the Vitamin D Council website.
- A rule of thumb: USDA daily requirement is 600 IU per day. Many physicians recommend a higher level of about 1,200 IU per day. I consume 3000 IU per day as I need more replenishment to maintain my active lifestyle.
- Salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef liver, cheese, and mushrooms are rich vitamin D sources. New sources can boost food intake; for example, I participated in the development of the first whole food powder to sprinkle a supercharged vitamin D addition to your food.
- Despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit exposure of skin to sunlight in order to lower the risk for skin cancer. Always apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, yes, even in the winter. Apply a topical vitamin D serum daily under sunscreen to give the skin a daily dose of D.
About the author: With two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is the Founder, CEO and Product Formulator for Skin Authority. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes or animal testing. More on www.skinauthority.com, Facebook at Skin Authority, Twitter @SkinAuthority and @MissSkin.