Do you need Sun Exposure for Vitamin D?
We’re all aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure: brown and red spots on the skin as we age, premature skin thickening and wrinkling and, of course, the risk of skin cancer. Overexposure to UV rays is the number one cause of skin cancer worldwide.
What you may not be aware of is that some sun exposure is essential.
Your body needs vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that’s found in the UV rays of the sun and in some foods. Vitamin D modulates cell growth, positively affects neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation. It’s well known that inflammation is a precursor to many diseases, including cardiovascular disease as well as stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression and many more serious health problems. In fact, there is a blood test, called the CRP test, that measures the body’s inflammation levels. High levels are indicative of body inflammation that studies show correlates to higher cardiovascular risk.
It’s unfortunate that many of the foods that contain Vitamin D are foods that lots of people dislike, such as fish. And of course, fish contains the risk of mercury exposure! So, where are you to go for Vitamin D? From the sun! According to the research, if you get no sun exposure you need to supplement with 5,000 IU each day to counterweigh the lack of time in the sun. For this whopping number, you’re looking at choking down around ten pills a day! There is a better way. Let me tell you how much sun exposure is enough so you can balance the risks with the benefits.
It’s recommended that you get 20-30 minutes of moderate mid-day sun exposure every single day. If you have darker skin, you need a little more, but most people can actually benefit with as little as 15 minutes a day to reap the benefits of Vitamin D. You don’t need to lie outside by the pool for an hour (not that it’s warm enough yet!). You should still exercise care with the sun, but try to get a little bit every day to avoid other health issues.
Our New Jersey plastic surgery practice has sunscreen products that will help your body avoid sun damage while getting your UV’s. Check our sunscreen product page to learn what’s available, and meet with our aesthetician, who can guide you to those products best suited for your skin type and needs.
To your health & beauty,
Dr. Paul LoVerme