Let The Sun Shine…Do I Or Don’t I?

I’ll admit it….even I’m confused as to whether the sun is good for you or not.  We all agree that when the sun shines, our mood definitely changes, and we don’t even have to be out in it.  However, in most areas of the US, most people rarely are exposed to the sun.  You are working during the week and the time you spend outside for lunch, I’m sure you are covered up with clothing.  Every cell and tissue needs vitamin D.  Vitamin D regulates over 2,000 genes in your body.  No, there are no physical signs of vitamin D deficiency, however it can support heart, skin, eye, reproductive, respiratory vascular system, immune and pancreatic health.  It can also aid in hearing, sleep patterns, cell formation, muscles, proper digestion and food absorption, moods, and it can encourage calcium absorption.  So for all of that, I guess we should look into what “they” are saying about sun exposure.

Vitamin D can be obtained through natural sun exposure and the body will regulate what you receive.  There are a few foods where vitamin D can be found.  Oily fish and eggs are a couple.  Another way is through taking vitamin D3.  What I’ve read about this is, you would need to have your levels tested because you can overdose on this.  You should check with your doctor if you choose this path.  You should also check with your primary care physician if you have had any melanoma or history of skin disorders in your family.  Another way to get your vitamin D is through a tanning bed that uses UV-B rays.  Me?  I’m not a fan of those beds.  I am of the belief that just like anything else, sun exposure is ok in moderation.  I wear sun screen on my face always.  Getting older and my Italian skin is prone to aging these days.

It doesn’t take long in the sun to get your daily requirement. Most sites are saying 15 minutes.  Any time after that amount, consider yourself unprotected and at risk of eye damage, cancer, immune system problems, especially children.  They are out in the sun for long periods of time.  Check the expiration date on your sunscreen.  What about a base tan?  A base tan may cause you to stay in the sun longer, thinking you won’t burn.  I’m going back to moderate exposure.

I’m always surprised how the sun goes through clothing!  UV rays will go through cotton.  So don’t just put a t-shirt on your child.  Get them in the shade.  Here’s something I just found out…..SPF factor (sun protection factor) describes how long a product will protect your skin, not how much more UV radiation it will block.  Read the directions and reapply as directed.  Fair skin people will begin to burn in 15 minutes.  My daughter is VERY fair skinned and she has burned a couple of times.  Tanning and burning injures the skin.  The UV damage to the deep layers will build up from every tan and burn.

In closing, if you have had any skin cancer, please follow your doctor’s advice.  Even if you are in your car during the peak hours, apply sun screen.  Everything in moderation.

It’s SUMMER!  Be safe and have fun.

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