Sun Screen & Vitamin D
My Sunscreen and Vitamin D questions revolve around the fact that I want to be healthy as I get older. If I am going to age, I sure want health.
According to research reports, using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher can reduce the body’s vitamin D-3 production by 99 percent. This is not even enough SPF to protect your skin from sunburn!
So I have been researching trying to find out how much wearing sunscreen will affect my production of the needed vitamins for better health. An earlier post about sun blocking clothing and Vitamin D production gave me more understanding of how the 2 need to work together.
I love the sun on my skin. The warm feels so good, at least till it gets hot. We now know that adults need to be in the sun for 15 to 30 minutes according to their skin tones. Lighter skin tones of course start vitamin production faster, darker tones take a bit longer.
Will you burn in 15 to 30 minutes? Before you even start producing the health benefits you need. Yes, you could if you are out in the hours between 10 AM and 4 PM. Sun Dangers
Is Vitamin D Really Important?
I don’t deny there is a need for sunscreen, even when you get older. Every time I look at the freckles that the sun left me with, or the wrinkles and areas of leathery skin on my face, I get it! Even the tops of my hands show the evidence of careless time in the sun.
However, I was younger and made vitamins efficiently. Now I have more information about taking care of myself.
Some new information is surfacing that suggests there may be a drawback in our use of sunscreen. Protecting our skin from the sun could lead to vitamin D deficiency!
This research suggests that sunscreen use will affect how your body is able to make vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is an important factor for strong bones, muscle and nerve interactions as well as the reaction of your immune system to infection.
After you get a bit older, it is only natural for our bodies to began to be less efficient in the production of vitamin D from the food we eat as well as our sun exposure.
My First Awareness of “Sunshine Vitamins”
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the things your primary care physician will be interested in. I know, you are young and this is not so important to you.
I remember my Grandmother and her gardening when I was young. There was a really big garden one summer. Unfortunately, I am not sure if it was a one year thing, or if we were around this one more. She wore a sunbonnet and a long sleeve “smock” over her clothes. Grandmother would remove the “smock” and hang it on a fence post for a few minutes mid-morning.
Getting her Vitamin D, even not knowing how important this is.
Folks, that was a long time ago! We were not aware of how to be healthy as we are now. Just a practice that she had been taught was good for her health.
Research is now backing up the claims of the importance of our bodies for having some sun exposure to increase Vitamin D. We can now figure out how to add this important nutrient to our diet and lifestyle.
How to add some healthy habits to our day to ensure we take advantage of the sun in a healthy way? What comes to mind as the healthy sun?
Were you lucky enough to have a Grandmother who had a garden?
Living in the sun as our ancestors did, allowed their bodies to stay strong and healthy. Their good health habits were more of survival than of intent as ours are today. I find that as I am trying to build better habits in my daily life that the examples were there for me all along, I just didn’t see them.
As you are trying to help your family grow better health habits and learn how to protect themselves from skin cancer you have to tell them. Talk about why you are only letting the sunshine on your arms for 20 minutes.
My Grandmother didn’t talk to me, she didn’t really know how to explain the healthy part, just the don’t get sunburn warning. Your kids will remember. They may not always practice healthy sun habits, but they will know how to take care of themselves.
Help With The “Why” Questions
Vitamin D is important for your bone health. This vitamin helps your intestines (gut) absorb calcium from the food you eat. (This is an excellent resource to remind yourself ” how and why for Vitamins“)
Vitamin D also aids muscle and nerve function. And it helps your immune system to avoid infection.
A vitamin D deficiency is generally defined as having a serum 25(OH)D concentration lower than 20 nanograms per millilitre. This low level may lead to loss of bone density in mature adults which can increase the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
For your youngsters still growing, low levels of this vitamin can cause unhealthy bones that are not strong.
Foods That Have Vitamin D
Some foods contain vitamin D
- fatty fish
- beef liver
- fortified breakfast cereal
These foods do have vitamin D, but in low amounts, making it difficult to get enough through foods alone.
Exposure to sunlight is considered one of the best sources of vitamin D. Sunlight soaks into the skin where it converts a vitamin D precursor, called 7-dehydrocholesterol, to the active form of vitamin D-3 to be able to use it.
Be aware of your risks that come with sunlight exposure. Don’t ignore sunburn and skin cancer. Sun blocking clothing and sunscreen are considered the best ways to protect against such dangers.
Don’t overdo your safe dose of bare skin to the sun! Stay aware of the total time you are exposed.
How Much Of My Vitamin D Is Blocked With Sunscreen?
The team of researchers suggest that individuals avoid sunscreen use exposed to midmorning to midday sun for up to 30 minutes twice weekly. This should be enough to increase and maintain normal vitamin D levels.
I find it difficullt to think that I would go out any later than 11 AM to start a 30 minute session in amy month but November through April here in the part of Texas that I live in. My fair skin reaches a dangerous point quickly. In order to avoid burning, I would try for more than 2 times a week.
Take these results of the length of time, and time of day for sun exposure and throw in your personal skin tones and histoty to determine a safe amount for you.
So, according to the research team, sunscreen can reduce Vitamin D-3 production by 99%!
99% Reduction In Vitamin D-3 For Sunscreen Wearers
The researchers came to this conclusion after completing their review of clinical studies investigating our vitamin D deficiency. They used this information to figure out the vitamin D deficiency worldwide.
From their review, the researchers conclude that sunscreen use and diseases involving malabsorption of vitamin D, including Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease – play a part in vitamin D deficiency worldwide.
To boost and maintain optimal vitamin D levels, the researchers recommend spending around 5 to 30 minutes in midday sun twice each week, without the protection of sunscreen.
However, remember that it takes about 15 minutes for the sun to began to produce after your get your bare skin out there. It will continue to make your vitamin for a while after the exposure time is over as well.
Food For Thought
Most of us are spending less time outside and when we do go out, more are typically wearing sunscreen. This does away with the bodies ability to produce vitamin D.
With the importance of protecting your self agnist skin cancer, we as responsible adults must find a balance of healthy sun exposure. We need that vitamin D and the health benifets to enjoy a healthy life.
To get the best of both worlds, you have to stay aware of the time you are in the sun. Sun Blocking clothing is a sure way to allow yourself to sun without worrying about too much sun.
The researchers add that vitamin D supplementation is also a good way to boost vitamin D levels. Supplementation does not pose the risks associated with sunlight exposure.
However, the authors recommend consulting a physician before taking vitamin D supplements.
After all the research and note taking, I think that for me and those I can convince to do so, be responsible. Think about how much sun your skin can handle, get some unblocked sun on your arms and legs. And maybe your back as you wll have a larger area to start producing that important Vitamne D-3. Remember the D-3 will kick start the other vitiman D essentials in your body.
For me, I will try for around 10 AM for the months of May thorough October. I will only be out 20 minutes or so unprotected. Yes, I have retied so I can do this.
I don’t have a “smock” but I do have an oversized red and white checked shirt that allows some air to flow around my body. I also have a tan long sleeve shirt for outdoors when the sun is especially direct. When I am helping with yard work it does block the sun.
Along with my sunglasses, sun blocking hat, and shirts mentioned. Add sunscreen, and lots of water to stay hyderated, working in the yard can be safe for my skin.
I can get some few minutes of direct sun, then slip on the sun blocking clothing. Add sunscreen after getting my natural vitamin D. I can learn to be aware of time in the sun, and stay safe. You can teach an older dog new tricks.