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Skin Care Information and Advice

How to maintain your Vitamin D levels safely

Tara Smithyman - Friday, January 10, 2014

Summer is well and truly here; and so are the sleepless nights. Trying to sleep while it’s still 27◦c and you have serve sunburn is almost impossible.  Here are some simple tips and methods to avoiding getting sunburn yet still maintaining your Vitamin D levels.

We have all either heard or said it ourselves at some point ‘But having a natural Tan makes me look healthier’.  But do you know what a ‘tan’ really is?

When you go out into the sun, the Ultraviolet rays in sunlight stimulate those cells to produce melanin. When melanin is exposed to UV light it  turns darker. This darkening is your skin's way of protecting itself against too much UV light. When you are exposed to UV for a long period of time the skin will start to burn/die. It is not a normal burn as you would get from say touching a hot stove. It is a radiation burn. This radiation burn will kill and/or mutate your skins cell’s DNA and can become cancerous.

This is why it is so important to be sun smart. It is so important you understand your own skins tolerance to the sun, and how to avoid getting burnt. Long-term overexposure will cause wrinkles, freckles, age spots, dilated blood vessels, changes in the texture of the skin that make skin look older and not to mention the  risk of skin cancers. Sun protection is important because it helps to reduce these effects.

How to avoid getting burnt and protecting the skin from skin cancers

The old saying “Slip, Slop, Slap” is the best way to avoid getting burnt. The skin cancer council have also added “Seek and Slide” into the campaign over the last few years.

Slip on some clothes. Wearing a Polo neck t-shirt and Longer shorts will physically protect your skin from UV rays. The tighter the weave of the fabric the better the spf. Darker colours will also absorb UV rays keeping them clear from your skin.

Slop on sunscreen at least 30minutes prior to long term sun exposure, and re-apply every 2 hours. Australia now has 50+spf sunscreens available. Using a broad spectrum sunscreen will protect you from UVA and UVB rays.

Slap on broad-brimmed hat. A baseball cap is not effective in protecting your neck, ears and face.

Seek shade. By avoiding the sun you lower your chances of getting burnt. UV rays can still be extreme even though there may be cloud cover, or you are sitting under a tree. Avoid the sun between 10am-2pm where UV levels are at their peak.

Slide on some wraparound sunglasses that have UV protection. Not all tinted sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays. Your sunglasses should come with a certificate or have a sticker to indicate the amount of UV protection.

How to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels without causing skin damage.

Your body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight. The part of the sun’s rays that is important is ultraviolet B (UVB). This is the most natural way to get vitamin D.

You don’t need to tan or to burn your skin in order to get the vitamin D you need. The more skin your expose the more vitamin D your body will produce. For example in summer if you only have your arms exposed it may take a fair skinned person 30+min to produce adequate Vitamin D levels, yet if they are on the beach in a two piece bikini it may only take as little as 10-15min to produce adequate Vitamin D levels. People with darker skins will take a lot longer to achieve adequate Vitamin D levels as their naturally dark skins protect them from absorbing too much UV.

So enjoy the summer months. Soak up your Vitamin D. Be sure to be sun smart and you’ll have a happy and fun summer.


References:
http://brown.edu
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

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