Do I need sun on my body to stay healthy?
Why sunlight is good for your skin is the question. Do I need sun on my body to stay healthy? Most people seem to think that the fall sunshine is not dangerous. That is because it is not as hot as the summertime sun.
Lack of heat does not mean the sun is not able to do damage to your skin.
When we get sun on our bare skin, our bodies will begin to manufacture Vitamin D. At least if our skin and body are healthy, they will. If they aren’t, healthy, they will have trouble making the Vitamin D we need.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps us keep our bones strong. It also helps build and maintain strong well-functioning muscles. Then there is our need for a strong immune system.
Vitamin D is added to foods like cereal and milk. So we do get some supplements in our foods.
How Long Do I Need To Stay In The Sun?
Guidelines vary from the government. They also vary with what the medical system suggests.
People’s skin varies in how dark or light it is. The darker your skin, the more direct sun on your skin is required to produce the Vitamin D you need.
This difference in how dark your skin is will play a big part in determining how long it is safe for you to be in the sun before you will develop sunburn.
For this reason, we need to stay alert in the cooler times of the year as well for too much sun on our skin.
If you are fair-skinned as I am, there is not much natural melanoma in your skin to filter out the sun. I can be safe from sunburn with about 15 minutes in the direct sun during the time of year when the sun is more directly overhead like in the summertime.
However in the fall, the earth does not get so much direct sun, and I can usually be safe with 25 or 30 minutes in the sun. For me, I can work in the yard safely for 25 or 30 minutes in the morning sun, before 11:00 AM, and get enough sun for my body to make the Vitamin D I need.
You may be able to stay out longer, or less with your skin tones. Do you know what your risk for sunburn is? The answer to getting enough sun on your skin to give you the Vitamin D you need is careful monitoring of the time you are in the direct sun.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
As mentioned earlier, 25 or so minutes 3 to 4 days a week will keep me healthy during the fall.
These few minutes of getting sun on my bare arms and face will make the Vitamin D I need.
According to The Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amount of vitamin D is:
400 international units (IU) for infants up to age 12 months.
600 IU for people from ages 1 to 70 years old.
800 IU for people over 70 years.
However, as I get older, and less inclined to spend time in the sun, I am grateful for the ability to protect myself with Vitamin D supplements. When we get older our body becomes less efficient in manufacturing this important nutrient and supplementing is a good choice for me.
I am rapidly losing interest in growing the garden as we have had so much dought time.
With water restrictions, trying to grow vegetables in our garden seems a thankless chore. This is a change in our environment that affects how well we eat in the summer. We also canned vegetables and put beans and okra in the freezer. A bit of squash. A healthy diet is important for Vitamin D as well.
These are subtle changes but need to be taken into consideration when choosing to use supplements or not.
Are You A Victim Of Solar Fear?
After finding out that I have skin cancer, I have become a victim of hyper-awareness of the sun. Realizing that I will be dealing with skin cancer for the rest of my life is frustrating. Skin cancer can be prevented. Wearing long sleeve shirts, sunglasses, and sun hats is not that hard.
Solar fear and confusion are still a part of my life as I try to get my lifestyle changed to a healthier one. I think all is well and I find myself driving somewhere without my sunhat, and sun blocking shirt. Forgetting to apply more sunscreen to the backs of my hands that are holding the steering wheel in the full blast of the sun!
Contributing to this confusion is the marketing of sunscreen and UPF clothing with ads that encourage these fears of too much sun. Then there is the marketing of sunscreen products. We all want to know the latest and what we should be doing.
So when you use your sunscreen is important:
- When using a chemical sunscreen, it should be applied before moisturizer so your skin has time to absorb it.
- If you use a mineral sunscreen, it goes on after your moisturizer, as this kind of sunscreen needs to sit on top of your skin to shield it.
- For your facial sunscreen, choose one with SPF 30 or higher.
Some Sun On Bare Skin Is Good?
Early morning sun on bare skin is good for you and will help your body make Vitamin D. This is a good thing. The thing is if you decide to get sun on your bare skin, be sure and keep your eye on the clock. Stay aware of the time you have been in the sun.
The Solar Radiation Research Group located at the Polytechnic University Of Valencia in Spain shared these results:
A study was done on people with Skin Type III. This is the most common among Spaniards, and very common across North America. This also describes skin that will tan easily, but also sunburns. For good vitamin production in your body, you only need 20 minutes in the summer months.
Staying in the sun any longer only allows you to get to the sunburn time.
During the fall time of the year, about 30 minutes will be plenty.
During the winter months, however, when less likely to be getting out in the sun as it cools down, you may need to be in the sun for 150 minutes.
“The problem can appear in winter due to low levels of UV radiation. Also because people cover most of their bodies,” said lead study author María Antonia Serrano, Ph.D.
Serrano also cautions that the minute amounts would change for those who are lighter or darker in complexion.
It is also important to bear in mind that we have considered the usual percentage of the body exposed for the season. If more skin that is exposed to the sun, less time is needed.
What is the healthy soluting to getting enough sun? To help keep your body healthy is important to make time to get outside. The study also recommends using a good sunscreen. Sunscreen can slow skin aging by as much as 24% if you use it every day.