Calcium is a common element in the human body. It is vital to the health of your bones, teeth and bodily organs, including the skin. Calcium plays a role in regulating the skin's many functions. Most calcium in the skin is found in the epidermis, or the outermost layer of skin. Too little calcium in the diet can impair your skin's health and prevent you from realizing the skin benefits of calcium.
Skin Growth and Regeneration
Calcium in the epidermis helps the body regulate how fast it generates new skin cells to replace old ones and how quickly it sheds old skin cells. Skin that does not have enough calcium stored in the epidermis may appear fragile, thin and dry. The appearance is caused by the lack of calcium to spur new skin growth or to let go of dead skin cells.
Calcium in the skin may also help prevent skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). Calcium in the epidermis helps regulate the skin's pigment cells, allowing it to tan in sunlight to protect itself from harmful UV rays. A recent NCRI study also showed that patients with low amounts of calcium were more likely to develop skin cancer, which may be because calcium in the skin stimulates the creation of antioxidants to fight precancerous cells.
Calcium works with the epidermis to produce sebum, a natural skin-coating substance that helps the skin retain moisture. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, people with low calcium amounts in the skin frequently do not produce enough sebum, which leaves them with dry skin. Patients who have chronic dry skin in winter or suffer from a skin disease involving high irritation, such as eczema, may benefit from adding a calcium supplement to their diets. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation recommends ingesting up to 1,000 mg of calcium per day for adults under 50 years of age and 1,200 mg for adults age 50 and older.