Assessing the relationship between vitamin D3 and stratum corneum hydration for the treatment of xerotic skin

Nutrients. 2012 Sep;4(9):1213-8. doi: 10.3390/nu4091213. Epub 2012 Sep 4.


Vitamin D(3) has been called the "sunshine" vitamin since the formation of vitamin D is mediated by exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D(3) is linked to many health benefits, however serum levels of vitamin D(3) have been decreasing over the last few decades and the lower levels of vitamin D(3) may have consequences on normal physiology. We investigated the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and stratum corneum conductance as well as the effect of topical application of cholecalciferol (vitamin D(3)) on dry skin. Eighty three subjects were recruited and blood serum levels and skin conductance measurements were taken after a one week washout. A correlation was observed between vitamin D levels and skin moisture content, individuals with lower levels of vitamin D had lower average skin moisture. Subsequently, a 3-week split leg, randomized, vehicle controlled clinical study was conducted on a subset of 61 of the above individuals who were identified with non-sufficient vitamin D serum levels. Topical supplementation with cholecalciferol significantly increased measurements of skin moisturization and resulted in improvements in subjective clinical grading of dry skin. Taken together our finding suggest a relationship between serum vitamin D(3) (25(OH)D) levels and hydration of the stratum corneum and further demonstrate the skin moisture benefit from topical application of vitamin D(3).

Keywords: cholecalciferol; skin moisturization; vitamin D; wintertime dry skin.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Cholecalciferol / blood*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Epidermis / drug effects*
  • Epidermis / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / physiopathology*
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • White People
  • Young Adult


  • Cholecalciferol