In Blog, News & Vitamin D

Little Sunshine Mistakes that Can Give You Cancer Instead of Vitamin D

By Dr. Mercola
Unfortunately, due to decades of professional and media misinformation, the typical American believes they should avoid the midday sun and need to use sunscreen before, and several times during, sun exposure.

Unfortunately, this is a prescription for minimizing vitamin D levels and all its widely appreciated benefits.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with some practical guidelines on how to use natural sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D benefits.

Your Initial Sun Exposure

The first few days, you should limit your exposure to the sun to allow your body’s melanocyte cells to rev up the ability to produce protective pigmentation that not only gives you a tan, but also serves to help protect you against overexposure to the sun.

If you are a fairly light skinned individual that tends to burn, you will want to limit your initial exposure to a few minutes, especially if it is in the middle of summer.

The more tanned your skin will get, and/or the more tanned you want to become, the longer you can stay in the sun. If it is early or late in the season and/or you are a dark skinned individual, you could likely safely have 30 minutes on your initial exposure. If you are deeply pigmented and your immediate ancestors are from Africa, India or the Middle East, it is possible you may not even have to worry about the timing of your exposure.

Always err on the side of caution however, and let it be your primary goal to never get sun burned.

You can use a moisturizing, safe, NON-SPF cream to moisturize your skin, or use something as simple as organic coconut oil to moisturize your skin as this will also benefit you metabolically. Remember if the moisturizer you use has an SPF value, it will block UVB rays and will not allow your body to produce any vitamin D. The rest of the day, you can spend in the shade, wear clothes, and, if you still want to be in the open sun, use a non-toxic lotion with SPF15 for uncovered skin. Just be sure to be on the safe side of burning!

 

Protect Your Face and Eyes

The skin around your eyes and your face is typically much thinner than other areas on your body and is a relatively small surface area so will not contribute much to vitamin D production. It is strongly recommended to protect this fragile area of your body as is at a much higher risk for cosmetic photo damage and premature wrinkling. You can use a safe sun block in this area or wear a cap that always keeps your eyes in the shade like I do when I am outside seeking to increase my vitamin D levels.

What to Do if You Get Sunburned

If you  ever develop a sunburn it is important to realize that aloe vera is one of the best remedies to help repair your skin as it is loaded with powerful glyconutrients that accelerate healing.  Ideally, it is best to use the gel from a fresh plant, but there are commercial products available that have active aloe in them. Ideally you would never need it because you are using these safe tanning guidelines, but accidents do happen and it is important to have contingency plans for them.

Avoid Tanning through a Window as it Will Increase Your Skin Cancer Risk

Because the UVA has a longer wavelength, it penetrates materials more easily, such as the earth’s atmosphere and window glass which will effectively filter out the majority of UVB radiation, but only minimally filters out UVAs. What’s the significance of that, you ask?

It’s important to remember that vitamin D3 is formed from exposure to UVB rays, whereas UVA radiation actually destroysvitamin D. This helps keep your body in balance; it’s one of the protective mechanisms your body has to avoid overdosing on vitamin D when you’re outside. However, when you’re exposed to sunlight through windows — in your office, your home or your car — you get the UVA but virtually none of the beneficial UVB.

This can lead to significant health problems, because in addition to destroying vitamin D3, UVA’s also increase oxidative stress. UVA is one of the primary culprits behind skin cancer, and it increases photo aging of your skin. It’s also what causes you to tan. You can actually get vitamin D without significantly darkening your skin, because the UVB wavelength does not stimulate the melanin pigment to produce a tan.

Normally, of course, when you get tanned from outdoor sun exposure you’re getting both UVA and UVB at the same time, so it’s not a problem. But when you are indoors and expose yourself to sunlight filtered through window glass, you are increasing your risk of a variety of conditions, primarily skin cancer, because the UVA’s are effectively destroying your vitamin D3 levels while you’re getting none of the benefits from UVB, and this can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer. This is one of the reasons why many that drive long hours in their cars develop skin cancer on the arm next to the car window.

 

When NOT to Tan

From a health perspective it doesn’t make much sense to expose your skin to the sun when it is lower than 50 degrees above the horizon because you will not receive any valuable UVB rays, but you will expose yourself to the more dangerous and potentially deadly UVA rays. UVA’s have a longer wavelength than UVB and can more easily penetrate the ozone layer and other obstacles (like clouds and pollution) on their way from the sun to the earth. UVA is what radically increases your risk of skin cancer and photoaging of your skin. So while it will give you a tan, unless the companion UVB rays are available you’re likely doing more harm than good and should probably stay out of the sun to protect your skin.

During the times of the year when UVB rays are not present where you live you essentially have two options: You can use a safe tanning bed or you can swallow oral vitamin D3.

 

Tan Safe and Prepare Your Skin for the Sun at Veranda 

Before you travel, prepare your skin by having tanning sessions (1-2 times per week). This will also protect you against vitamin D deficit between your vacations and now in the winter when UVB is harder to obtain from the sun. Visit our Tanning Superstore in Boulder, Colorado,and get all the Vitamin D. Our tanning professionals at Veranda Sun know how to help you control the right amount of tanning your skin needs. Learn more about How Tanning Works and Tips and Safety for Tanning in Boulder, CO.

At Veranda Sun Tanning Salon in Boulder, we continue to bring you useful information on health and beauty. Find more interesting topics every week by visiting our Blog, we’ll continue to post on Healing and Preventive Qualities of the Sun. You can follow us on Facebook, so you’ll be sure not to miss any of our tanning specials, membership prices, Veranda Sun helps you discover new ways to stay healthy and beautiful!

At Veranda Sun in Boulder, we care about your health. Contact us to learn more about other great ways to help your body feel great and stay beautiful. Have questions?  Ask us. Or visit us and lets talk!

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