Sun Protection and Vitamin D

By now, we all are aware of the fundamental importance of sunscreen. It guards the skin not only from aging (from UVA rays) and burning (from UVB rays), but also from the development of skin cancer. We also understand that we need Vitamin D — for immunity, for bone strength, as a defense against depression, and to reduce our risk of cancer — and that our bodies synthesize it when our skin absorbs rays in the UVB light spectrum.

So, naturally, the question arises: can you shield your skin and still get adequate Vitamin D? Yes you can!

Women’s Health magazine cites a study that indicates the body can produce Vitamin D even after applying SPF 15. And even with use of a higher SPF, it’s possible for a small percentage of rays to come through. To quote Skincancer.org, “An SPF 15 sunscreen filters out 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent, and SPF 50 filters out 98 percent. This leaves anywhere from 2 to 7 percent of solar UVB reaching your skin, even with high-SPF sunscreens.”

This is not cause for alarm, however. Our current sun protection technology is still our best defense against skin cancer and UV-related aging. We can double down on the fight against skin cancer with sun-protective gear such as specially designed shirts, pants and hats.

Intentional unprotected sun exposure is not the safest way to control your body’s levels of Vitamin D. It’s best to talk with your physician about bloodwork to find out just where you stand regarding possible vitamin deficiencies. You can then discuss with her whether a supplement would be the best option for you, and the proper amount you need per day, in addition to getting a boost from foods and beverages fortified with Vitamin D.

Yes, you can achieve a healthy balance!

We based this blog post on information from the helpful sites listed below. (Always bring your health questions to your doctor, for the answers most applicable to your health profile.)

Harvard Medical School 6 Things You Should Know About Vitamin D

Women’s Health Sunscreen Doesn’t Stop Vitamin D Production

Skin Cancer Foundation Sun Protection and Vitamin D

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