Pro-Vitamin D3

We all know about vitamin D - the sun vitamin, the vitamin that many of us lack due to our lifestyles and geographical locations. Naturally present in our skin, our vitamin D levels decrease as we age. So, how can we help combat this? In comes pro-vitamin D3…

What is vitamin D and what does it do for our skin?

Vitamin D is an antioxidant naturally synthesised by the skin through exposure to sunlight. So, you can imagine that in certain parts of the world, vitamin D levels within the skin may be lacking. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy skin and levels decrease naturally as we age. 

So, what is pro-vitamin D3?

7-dehydrocholesterol, also known as pro-vitamin D3, is a precursor to vitamin D. When applied topically, it will help replenish the skin’s natural reserves and thus promote increased conversion to vitamin D. So, by applying pro-vitamin D3 to your skin, you are mimicking the natural processes the skin follows to synthesise vitamin D.

When skincare products contain ‘vitamin D’, what they actually mean is that they contain pro-vitamin D3, since vitamin D itself cannot be added to skincare products. 7-dehydrocholesterol is what you’ll find on the INCI list of vitamin D-containing products.

Pro-vitamin D3 also triggers the production of cholesterol, which is also naturally present within the skin. Cholesterol helps to condition and nourish the skin and is important for supporting the barrier function and maintaining the skin’s moisture balance. If the skin’s cholesterol levels are low, this can cause the barrier to become compromised, leading to dehydration, dryness and flaking.

Why do we need pro-vitamin D3?

Pro-vitamin D3 will cause your skin to produce vitamin D, which helps to prevent premature ageing and skin damage through its antioxidant action. It also helps to calm and soothe the skin by improving cell growth, repair and metabolism, altogether strengthening and supporting the skin barrier. Additionally, pro-vitamin D3 triggers the production of cholesterol, which is also important for your skin barrier. Overall, pro-vitamin D3 is a powerhouse ingredient which benefits the skin’s natural processes to promote healthy skin.

Natural levels of vitamin D in our skin decrease as we age. This, paired with the fact that people in many parts of the world have vitamin D deficiencies means that it is essential to add vitamin D back to our skin, and this is done through skincare products in the form of pro-vitamin D3.

Want to learn more about antioxidants? Head to the Skin Rocks App. 

Where can pro-vitamin D3 be found in skincare?

You can find pro-vitamin D3 in a range of skincare products, from moisturisers to mists to serums and oils. Generally, this ingredient will be in barrier-strengthening and soothing products.

Pro-vitamin D3-containing products we love:



Words by Ceyda Faik-Yildirim MSci (Chemistry) - Team Skin Rocks

All Think Science™ content published by Skin Rocks is researched, written, and peer-reviewed by our in-house, qualified scientists.

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