Winter skin care: The link between vitamin D and dry skin

Vitamin D And Dry Skin

In winter it is essential to give our skin extra attention. In this blog we dive into the relationship between vitamin D and dry skin, and how you can keep your skin healthy, even during the cold seasons. The winter months often bring cold temperatures and lower humidity, which can lead to skin dryness.

To maintain healthy skin during the winter, it is important to understand how this vitamin, also known as the “sun” vitamin, plays a crucial role. During winter, there is less exposure to sunlight, which can affect your vitamin D levels. Discover ways to maintain these levels and consider specific skin care practices to keep your skin hydrated and radiant during the cold months.

Also in this blog we will talk about how your body produces vitamin D and which foods contain this important vitamin.

The formation of this vitamin begins with the skin’s exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. When these sun rays hit the skin, a complex process starts in which a precursor molecule called 7-dehydrocholesterol is converted into vitamin D.

The adventure of this vitamin does not stop here. After formation in the skin, the vitamin undergoes a series of metabolic transformations in the liver and kidneys. In the liver it is converted into calcidiol, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Then, in the kidneys, it is further metabolized into calcitriol, the active vitamin form that regulates various biological functions.

Cholecalciferol, calcidiol and calcitriol are three forms of vitamin D involved in the complex metabolism of this vitamin in the body. Here’s a quick overview of the differences between these three forms:

1. Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3):

  • Source: Cholecalciferol is the inactive vitamin form and is primarily synthesized in the skin when exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight.
  • Conversion: Cholecalciferol is converted in the liver to calcidiol by the enzyme 25-hydroxylase.
  • Role: It is synthesized in the skin or ingested through diet or supplements.

2. Calcidiol (25-Hydroxyvitamin D):

  • Source: Calcidiol is the intermediate vitamin form and is produced in the liver by the hydroxylation of cholecalciferol.
  • Conversion: Calcidiol is further converted into calcitriol in the kidneys by the enzyme 1-alpha-hydroxylase.
  • Role: This form is most often measured in blood tests to determine the general status of the body.

3. Calcitriol (1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D):

  • Source: Calcitriol is the active vitamin form and is produced in the kidneys by the conversion of calcidiol.
  • Role: Calcitriol regulates calcium and phosphate homeostasis in the body and is crucial for the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the intestines and kidneys.

Basically, cholecalciferol is the form that is synthesized in the skin or ingested through diet, calcidiol is the intermediate form measured in blood tests, and calcitriol is the active form that is essential for the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body .

The consequences of low vitamin D levels are varied and can affect different aspects of health. It plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy bones and regulating the immune system. A deficiency can lead to weakened bones, reduced immunity and an increased risk of certain diseases.

Normal values ​​for this vitamin are often measured in terms of 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in the blood. Accepted normal ranges vary, but in general a blood level above 50 nmol/L, and aiming for 80 nmol/L (eighty is wonderful) is considered sufficient for most people. Values ​​below this level can be considered a deficiency.

A study with 83 participants (white and dark skin) investigated how the level of vitamin D in the blood is related to the conductivity of the upper layer of the skin. They also looked at what happens when you apply cholecalciferol (vitamin D(3)) directly to dry skin. After a week without special skin care, they measured both the vitamin D level in the blood and the conductivity of the skin.

Skin conductivity is the skin’s ability to transmit electrical signals. Measuring it can tell us more about how healthy the skin is and how it responds to vitamin D. In this study, they wanted to understand whether higher vitamin D levels in the blood are associated with better skin conductivity. They also wanted to know whether applying vitamin D directly to the skin has a positive effect, especially on dry skin.

A correlation was observed between vitamin D levels and skin moisture. Individuals with lower vitamin D levels showed lower skin moisture on average. Subsequently, a clinical study was conducted on 61 individuals with insufficient vitamin D levels in the blood. Topical supplementation, i.e. applying cholecalciferol, resulted in significant improvements in skin moisturization and subjective assessments of dry skin.

The findings link serum vitamin D(3) (25(OH)D) levels and hydration of the upper layer of the skin, demonstrating that topical application of vitamin D(3) provides significant benefits for skin hydration .

Vitamin D

A healthy vitamin D level is usually considered to be between 50-120 nmol/L for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Toxicity may begin to appear at blood levels above 250 nmol/L

High blood levels, also known as vitamin D toxicity or hypervitaminosis D, can occur with prolonged intake of extremely high doses of supplements.

Here are some physical symptoms that can occur with vitamin D toxicity:

  1. Hypercalcemia: One of the most noticeable effects is an increased level of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). This can lead to symptoms such as:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • stomach ache
  • Constipation
  • Lost of appetite
  • Weight lost
  • Confusion and disorientation
  1. Kidney problems: Excessive calcium in the blood can cause kidney damage and lead to kidney stones.
  2. Calcification of tissues: Too much can lead to unwanted calcification of soft tissues in the body, such as blood vessels and kidneys.
  3. Joint and muscle pain: Some people experience pain in joints and muscles.
  4. Fatigue

It is important to note that vitamin D toxicity is rare and usually occurs in people who take extremely high doses of supplements over an extended period of time. The recommended daily allowance varies, but it is essential to follow the recommendations of health professionals and not take excessive amounts of supplements without consulting a doctor. The body cannot easily break down excessive amounts of the fat-soluble vitamin, which can lead to the symptoms mentioned.

It is not found in large amounts in many foods, but there are some natural sources and foods that contain vitamin D. Here is an overview of foods:

Vitamin D And Nutrition

Fatty fish:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Hering
  • Sardines

Cod liver oil:

  • Cod liver oil is a rich source of this vitamin, but it is not widely consumed due to its strong taste.


  • Egg yolk contains small amounts.

Dairy products:

  • Halverine, Margerine (enriched)
  • Cheese (some types are enriched)


  • Some mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, contain vitamin D2. Exposure to UV light can increase levels in mushrooms.

Fortified foods:

  • Many foods, such as breakfast cereals, orange juice, baking and frying products, are also fortified with this vitamin.

It’s important to know that most people obtain their vitamin D levels primarily through exposure to sunlight.

In addition to promoting optimal sun vitamins, Iconic Elements can further improve your skin care. Experience an extra dose of hydration by adding the Iconic Elements Natural Moisturizer Cream to your routine.

Specifically designed for dry skin, this cream provides deep hydration, leaving your skin supple and well hydrated. Pamper your skin with the beneficial natural ingredients and enjoy a radiant complexion.

Dry Skin, Eczema, Vitamin D

The sensation of flaky, dry skin that itches intensely often raises questions about the possible causes. Is it eczema, or is this simply caused by extremely dry skin? Distinguishing between these two skin conditions can be confusing, but there are subtle clues that can help provide clarity.

Discover the differences between eczema and dry skin and gain insight into the characteristics of each, so you can focus on the right care for your specific situation. Would you like to know more about effective treatment options and preventive measures? Discover it on our special blog.

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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