Most of us figure that after we get sunburned, there’s not much we can do to ease the suffering.
Aloe gel or a cold bath might help a bit. But for the most part, we are doomed to suffer… At least for a day or two.
Now, a new study finds there is an effective, natural remedy. Researchers have discovered that taking a single high dose of vitamin D within an hour of being sunburned eases the sting. It also reduces inflammation, redness, and speeds skin repair.1
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine scientists gathered 20 subjects. They exposed their inner arms to a UV lamp, causing a small area of sunburn.
An hour later, they randomly gave the participants either a placebo or high doses of vitamin D. The researchers examined the participants’ sunburns as time passed. And they collected skin biopsies for laboratory testing.
They found that the people who consumed at least 100,000 IUs of vitamin D had less skin inflammation and redness than those who did not take the supplement or took a smaller amount.2
Dr. Kurt Lu is an assistant professor of dermatology at Case Western. He is senior author of the study.
“We hypothesize that vitamin D helps promote protective barriers in the skin by rapidly reducing inflammation,” Dr. Lu said.
“Vitamin D not only was capable of suppressing inflammation, it was also activating skin repair genes.”
How Vitamin D Repairs Sun-Damaged Skin
Researchers theorize that vitamin D increases levels of an anti-inflammatory enzyme called arginase-1. It enhances tissue repair.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.3
The dose used in the study, 100,000 IUs, is extremely high. But researchers said that because patients took it only once, it did not cause blood levels of vitamin D to go too high. The one-time dose was found to be safe and non-toxic.
Take the Right Kind of Vitamin D
When you take vitamin D—whether it’s for sunburn or for general health—we recommend the D3 form over D2. Both are common in supplements.
Sometimes supplement labels list D2 as “ergocalciferol” and D3 as “cholecalciferol.” D3 is the kind of vitamin D your body makes when sun hits your skin. It’s also less toxic and more easily absorbed than D2.4
So the next time you find that you’ve stayed out in the sun too long, take one megadose of vitamin D…but make it D3.