Here comes the Sun!
Summer's coming and the ritual of shedding the winter wardrobe begins. Baring body parts, that have been covered up for months, to the warmth of the sun's rays is a wonderful feeling. During the excitement, our first thought may not be protecting those newly exposed areas of skin. Let's face it, deep down we all know how important it is but, we still come up with a variety of excuses why its ok. Here are just a few that I'm sure we've said or heard: a little color is ok, darker skin doesn't need protection, the sun gives me vitamin D or the most common (and my favorite), a tan looks healthy. Neglecting to apply proper protection can come with some serious health consequences. That doesn't have to mean denying ourselves the joy of being outside. Below are some myths and truths behind some of those excuses so we can get outside and feel the sand between our toes, plant a spectacular garden or take a long bike ride with friends and family, just be smart and apply the right sun protection before you head.
The sun gives me the Vitamin D that my body needs.
This myth is not all together false. The truth is that 10 minutes of sun exposure does give adults the daily requirement of 600 IU's (International Units) of Vitamin D. How many of us can stop after 10 minutes? Soaking up too much of the sun's rays can produce an overdose of Vitamin D which can cause the body to backfire and break down. Also, overexposure to unhealthy UV rays can lead to premature aging, diseases caused by inflammation and skin cancer. The good news is, Vitamin D can be found safely in supplements and food sources like salmon, trout, milk and yogurt.
It's too late to start now since most of the sun's damage occurred before the age of 18.
Daily use of sun protection can not only keep your skin healthy and younger looking in the future but, it can aid in the reversal of damage that already exits. Contained in the body are repair enzymes that are constantly working to repair the effects of past sun damage. The better you become at applying protection, these enzymes are more effective at fixing the damage. Please note that a yearly head to toe skin examination from a board certified dermatologist, 2-4 times a year if you or a family member have been treated for skin cancer, is an essential part of our health.
Between the hours of 10am - 2pm is the only time when the sun is dangerous.
On a beautiful summer day the sun's rays may not be feel so intense before 10am or after 2pm. Don't be fooled, damage can occur anytime throughout the year when unprotected skin is exposed to the sun's rays, even on cloudy and colder days. Forming a good habit of applying a broad spectrum sun block daily, more frequently for prolonged exposure, is essential for maintaining healthy skin for a lifetime. This one act will have a pronounced impact you can see and feel.
I don't need sun protection because I tan easily and never get burned.
Darker skin tones, when compared with lighter skin tones, contain higher amounts of melanin. Higher melanin content does offer some inherent level of natural protection but, unfortunately it's not enough to keep the damage from accumulating. Protecting ourselves from UVA and UVB radiation, which reaks havoc on the body externally and internally, should not be dismissed. All skin types, young and old, will benefit from regular use of sun protection products. Even Mother Nature needs a little help from time to time.