For many women, healthy skin means having a warm glow from the sun. Lying on the warm Southern Hemisphere, a large amount of our time is spent outdoors – on the beach, around the braai, dining outside and even driving in the hot sun. You may have heard about UV rays and their potential to cause skin cancer and other signs of aging, and you more than likely make sunscreen a daily habit. For most South Africans, avoiding the sun is something we have been warned to do from a very early age, especially during the notorious ‘danger zone’ at midday. This makes sense, right? After all, isn’t sun protection about avoiding those harsh UVB rays?
While traditional studies may still believe that we need to avoid the sun to be protected, these studies may not actually be correct. Many new studies have been done over the past few years that indicate that getting the right amount of sun at the right time may actually help avoid the damage caused by UV rays, which could in fact help to foster healthy skin with a reduced rate of skin cancer.
Why Vitamin D is Essential for Healthy Skin
According to research done by CANSA and other global cancer institutes, South Africa has the highest level of skin cancer in the world after Australia. Despite all the warnings to avoid the sun at noon and to use the highest SPF sunscreen possible, these rates do not seem to be changing much at all. Could it be that the older research has missed a few important facts to consider – facts that may actually promote healthy skin through natural vitamin D intake?
In a video on Natural News TV, Dr Len Saputo shared some startling facts about vitamin D deficiency and the lack of UVB rays from sunlight that is required to produce the vitamin naturally in our bodies. There are many health issues that result as a lack of vitamin D, from osteoporosis to type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart attacks and even strokes. This vitamin is also a vital nutrient for healthy skin, reducing the effects of aging along with risk of skin cancer. While we can get a certain amount of this vitamin from food and supplements, sunlight is still the only source that generates enough vitamin D to ward off disease. You can learn more by watching the Vitamin D deficiency risks video.
How the Sun Helps Nurture Healthy Skin
Now that you have seen just how important vitamin D is for healthy skin and bodies, how can you get the benefits of natural intake without risking sunburn or skin damage? Many experts believe that it is the time of day and the duration of exposure that holds the key to this question.
A vitamin D intake of 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU per day has shown to reduce skin cancer risk by 50%. As sunlight is the best source for this vitamin, we need to be exposed to sunlight at its highest peak in order to get the most benefit. For Caucasian skin, this equates to about 20 minutes. For darker skin, a longer duration is needed. The surprisingly thing is that according to a report conducted by the U.S. News & World Report, the best time to get this sunlight is in the very same ‘danger zone’ that traditional researchers claimed was the time to avoid the sun.
Robyn Lucas, an epidemiologist at Australian National University stated the following in this report: “I believe we all need a little unprotected time in the sun during the middle hours of the day when the sun is at its highest and UV-B rays can penetrate the atmosphere.”
What Does This Mean for Your Skin?
Just like anything else in life, the secret to using the sun for healthy skin is to adhere to the moderation rule. Getting unprotected sunshine for 20 to 30 minutes a day will help your body produce that vital vitamin D it needs to ward off cancer and other ailments. Spending the entire day in the sun and getting badly sunburned however will result in a far greater risk of skin damage.
Skin supplements that offer natural protection against UV rays are also far more effective than topical creams that only penetrate the top layers of your skin. As UVA rays attack the deeper cells, a supplement will give you the protection where you need it most.
For more information on the sun and healthy skin, take a look at the post we did last year on sunlight, vitamin D and cancer.
Do you have sun protection advice that was passed down from your mom, via her mom and other generations? Share your thoughts on what sun protection and healthy skin means to you in our comments section!