It has been so beautiful these last couple of weeks, with lots of clear skies and sun throughout the day. It is very easy to get Vitamin D, with a fair-skinned person needing only 5 minutes of arms, face and hands exposure to reach 1000 IU of Vitamin D. A dark-skinned person needs 20 minutes to reach 1000 IU of Vitamin D per day. Just 5-20 minutes in the summer sun per day, and you could have enough vitamin D to maintain strong bones. If you get outside at all everyday, chances are you are getting enough vitamin D in the summertime.
The greater concern, especially in a heat wave, is overexposure to the sun. As you may have heard, sun exposure causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkling and can lead to a variety of skin cancers. It is important to protect yourself. There are a lot of options for protection from the sun, most of which are chemical sunscreens. Each one has a variable protection to the sun’s radiation. Usually they need to be used in combination in order to provide full spectrum protection. For those with sensitive skin, it may be difficult to find a sunscreen that works for you. Instead of chemical sunscreens you can try barrier sunscreens. These protect your body by deflecting the sun’s rays away. The barrier sunscreens use two metals: zinc and titanium. Titanium provides protection from burns (caused by UVB) but only partial protection from skin cancer (caused by UVA and UVB). Zinc oxide based sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection against most of UVA and UVB. They are my first choice for a sunscreen. Zinc oxide is relatively hypoallergenic, and it is an excellent choice for someone with sensitive skin.
In health and gratitude,
Dr. Brewster Scott, ND
Victory Health & Wellness