To tan or not to tan, that is the question? For years now we have been educated on the dangers of sun exposure and we have heeded this warning by taking the slip, slop, slap mantra to every aspect of our sun exposed life.
But too little sun exposure can play the opposite card and cause all sorts of problems within our bodies and many have been prescribed drugs as they are lacking in vitamin D! So why do we need vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps calcium and phosphorus in our diet to be absorbed from the gut, both essential for the structure and strength of bones. As such vitamin D is crucial to good bone health and muscle development. Without an adequate supply bones can become brittle, thin or misshapen.
People in northern European countries are at risk of vitamin D deficiency because of the lack of sunlight during their winter but in a sunburnt country like ours I hear year say. “How can anyone here in Australia suffer from such an affliction?” The sad news is yes; with all the worry of sun protection some people have sheltered themselves to the point of deficiency!
Now I am not endorsing we become the sun bronzed beach babes that the previous generations enjoyed, I think it is important to know the correct doses needed and at what times of the day is safe to expose.
According to the Australian Cancer Council, these are their top recommendation for safe sun exposure:
- Always protect yourself from the sun during peak UV periods (when the UV Index is 3 and above)
- Short bursts of sun (outside peak UV periods) are better for making vitamin D than long periods, as the body can only absorb a set amount at a time.
- Your body can rely on its stores of Vitamin D for 30 to 60 days.
- Exposing your skin to the sun when the UV Index level is three or above increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
* Seek shade – avoid sun exposure during the middle of the day (10am-2pm or 11am-3pm daylight saving time)
* Wear protective clothing that covers your skin, including your arms and legs during peak times.
* Wear a broad-brimmed style hat & sunglasses
* Apply SPF 30+ broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours
By following these simple yet safe guidelines we can still get the right amount of exposure needed for good health and still enjoy a typical Australian summer at the beach as everyone before us has, yet now we have the knowledge to protect our skin and still give it what it needs.
Have a fantastic Spring and Summer J