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Vitamin D may soothe sunburn

July 12, 2017

The sunshine vitamin may also help when you’re overdone by the sun.

High doses of vitamin D taken one hour after sunburn significantly reduce skin redness, swelling, and inflammation, a small but timely new study reports.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center followed 20 “sunburned” subjects.

Participants were given either a placebo pill or 50,000, 100,000, or 200,000 IU of vitamin D one hour after getting small UV lamp burn on their inner arm. Investigators followed subjects at various intervals over a week. At the end of the seven days, skin biopsies were collected for analysis.


Participants who consumed the highest doses of vitamin D reaped the biggest benefits, including less skin inflammation 48 hours after the burn. Participants with the highest blood levels of vitamin D also had less skin redness and the greatest boost in skin barrier repair.

While synonymous with being a bone-builder, vitamin D isn’t associated with being an anti-inflammatory, researchers said.

“We hypothesize that vitamin D helps promote protective barriers in the skin by rapidly reducing inflammation,” said lead author Kurt Lu, M.D. “What we did not expect was that at a certain dose, vitamin D not only was capable of suppressing inflammation, it was also activating skin repair genes.”

Lu added that the amount of vitamin D in the trial far exceed the daily allowance of 400 IU. “But,” he said, “the results are promising and worthy of further study.”


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