People are becoming increasingly aware of the toxic overload we subject our body, and the environment too, owing to harmful chemicals contained in so many everyday items we use – including soap, gel, shampoo and creams. There has been a reported rise in skin conditions like eczema, contact dermatitis and impetigo, which can (in part) be traced back to the use of, and exposure to lots of different lotions, potions and chemicals.

As a result, many are turning to nature to help them overcome their skin problems. Whilst ‘natural’ does not always mean safest and best – and there is no such thing as a truly chemical free product, there are often supplements that we can take to help ourselves feel and look our best.

Nature truly does have all the help we need – and we can avail of its powerful benefits through a combination of gentle soaps, laundry powders, gentle yet effective salves, and lastly, one item that comes completely free and can be obtained by ensuring we get enough sun – Vitamin D!

The Healing Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a crucial pillar of health – it is important for muscle building, mental sharpness and achieving lower levels of abdominal fat. However, new findings indicate that it is also vital for skin health. Research is increasingly finding that the ‘sun phobia’ seemingly instilled in us by the media, may not have a strong basis; in fact, Vitamin D, which is metabolised when UV rays strike the skin, reduces the risk of melanoma (the most dangerous type of skin cancer) as well as other types of cancer. Activated Vitamin D is absorbed into genes in the skin, staving off the cellular abnormalities that UV light can bring about.

Studies show that the exposure to sunlight is important for optimal health since Vitamin D is responsible for the biochemical regulation of almost all cells, including the skin and immune system. Dr. William Grant of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center in the US, notes that the important thing is to avoid the sun at peak hours and to never allow skin to burn. He says, “There are several papers indicating that occupational exposure to sunlight reduces the risk of melanoma. It is having fair skin, a high-fat, low fruit and vegetable diet, sunburning, etc., that are more linked to melanoma than total UV exposure.” Indeed, organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables (which are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients) should be an important part of our daily diet.

Vitamin D and Eczema

Studies show that many people with eczema have low Vitamin D levels; indeed, those with atopic dermatitis have an average of 2.03 nanograms per ml lower levels of Vitamin D than healthy control groups. Some studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation can have a positive effect on symptoms, while others have found that a daily supplement of probiotic foods can reduce the risk of eczema by up to 58%. Because symptoms and triggers vary greatly from person to person, it is important to approach eczema from an integrated perspective, also applying salves that reduce exposure to known irritants.

Vitamin D is an important part of biochemical regulation, crucial for keeping skin in tip top condition, and for keeping many types of cancer (including skin cancer) at bay. Make sure to enjoy just a little time in the sun every day, starting off with just a few minutes and slowly prolonging your exposure time, without overdoing it. Remember that the fairer your skin, the more likely you are to get burned. Stay out of the sun in peak hours and if in doubt, err on the side of caution.