The Truth about Vitamin D
Currently, there is an epidemic deficiency in the United States of Vitamin D. Some shocking statics are that up to 85% of Americans, and up to 95% of senior citizens in American are said to be Vitamin D deficient. Cases where people are of African, Middle Eastern, or Southern Asia descent have a higher incidence of lacking Vitamin D. Also, this deficiency is exacerbated by those who use liberal amounts of sunscreen, and by those who spend more time indoors than outdoors.
How Can I Get Vitamin D From Sunlight And Not Expose Myself To Skin Cancer?
It is recommended that the main source of your D comes from the sun. If it can be obtained thru sunlight, it may last at least twice as long in the blood as compared with ingested D supplementation. Whats interesting is that, the sun emits two types of wavelengths at differing times of day, UVB and UVA. Obtaining healthy Vitamin D levels from sunlight requires that you expose yourself to UVB wavelengths which are from 10am to 2pm, the midday sun. The body requires UVB for the production of Vitamin D. The UVA rays are throughout the day. Exposure to just UVA increases your risks of skin cancers and aging. . Once the body gets a sufficient amount of Vitamin D via the sunlight, it will automatically stop producing it, because of the body's self regulating mechanisms. This is a nice perk to avoid going overboard on Vitamin D supplementation.
The amount of Vitamin D production varies with skin pigmentation, age, sunscreen application, and geographical location. Those who are fair skinned can actually max out their Vitamin D production in just 10-20 minutes with UBV rays, while darker skinned individuals should remain in the sun longer. Older adults skin cannot synthesize Vitamin D as efficiently and they are more likely to be indoors. In parts of the country where 4 seasons are prevalent, vitamin D production in the body will not register in temperatures less than 50 degrees F, due to UBV scarcity.
It is important to note that once UVB rays encounter your skin, it takes 48 hours before the Vitamin D will actually enter your bloodstream, as it converts a cholesterol derivative into the actual D3 vitamin. During this time of processing, it is reported that showering could potentially reduce the D3 formation on the skin, and thereby reduce the benefits of the UVB rays.
What Does Sensible Sun Exposure Look Like?
The sun truly has gotten a bad rap, as its reputation in now all about how it can cause skin cancer and how to avoid it at all costs. The idea here is not to go to extremes. The sun can be extremely protective against melanoma/cancers within the right parameters. Clinical studies over and over show people with high blood levels of Vitamins D have less cancer risk, and an overall better survival prognosis than those with low levels of D. Current research is now showing that optimizing D in the body decreases the risk of dying from any cause.
Excessive Exposure to UVA ray sunlight, penetrates more deeply in the skin and has a greater role in aging the skin, and this can be associated with inflammation in the body. So be mindful the time of day and the length of time you are exposed to the direct sun. Protection is recommended around the eyes, sunglasses that guard against UV rays or broad rimmed hats, as the skin around the eyes is not a contributor to D levels
Natural Sunscreens are recommended with an SPF of between 15 and 50, higher SPFs are said to give consumers a false sense of security and currently the EWG.org recommends avoiding those products that have an SPF over 50. Those over 50 can add a higher chemical content to the product with little benefit.
Its best to use creams and lotions and to avoid sprays. Sunscreen needs to be applied and reapplied generously and sprays can often miss areas on the skin, and the fumes can enter the lungs. These fumes are not recommended to be inhaled.
Avoid These Sunscreen Ingredients: Vitamin A, as per governmental testing noted by the EWG.org site, can be carcinogenic which can accelerate the skin tumors and lesion growths in the presence of sunlight. So this would include; retinal palmitate, retinal acetate, retinal linoleate, and retinol in the ingredients of your sunscreen. Oxybenzone is a known hormone disrupter and when applied to our skin, our largest organ, can be a potentially toxic to our bodies. Avobenzone, ecamsule, and octocrylene, parabens; phthalates, petrochemicals, PABA, 1,4 dioxane, UV chemical absorbers, artificial colors, and synthetic fragrances are active chemicals that are toxic in our bloodstream.
Safe Ingredients In Mineral Sunscreens Include: zinc oxide (the white or colored zin); titanium dioxide, . These options reflect UV rays without penetrating into skin deeply. They fall in the category of barrier sunscreens that block vs. absorb
Sun protective clothing is a great option as well. UV light can penetrate through micro holes in the weaves of regular clothing, however with sun protective clothing, the block is much greater from the sun. So although it can't cover all areas, often people find using a mixture of natural sunscreen and SPF protective clothing helps tremendously.
Also, now that so many of us are working from home, its interesting to be aware that although most windows block out UVB rays, UVA rays can actually penetrate through glass. So if you are always near a window, it would be a good idea to protect your skin.
Be safe with essential oils. Some essential oils can increase photosensitivity, and greatly increase your bodies ability to absorb harmful UV rays. Some of these include: Lemon, Lime, grapefruit, orange, bergamot, tangerine, cumin. There are also EO's that have a protective SPF. Some of these include: red raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, peppermint oil, macadamia nut oil. Including the protective oils with a shea butter, zinc oxide will provide another layer of protection. Always check the labels to see what cautions are a associated with the oil that you're using.
1. Badger:Broad Spectrum SPF 25, Zinc Oxide Sunscreen lotion/or they have 35 SPF Sport Sunscreen. They have great lip protection products as well
2. Youngs Living Essential Oil Mineral Sunscreen SPF broad spectrum 50 works as a barrier sunscreen
Written by Elizabeth Sutter Certified Health Coach
Elizabeth Sutter is not a doctor. Consult your doctor regarding any medical decisions.