Drab and dull skin after the dark winter months is not unusual. The cold air outside and indoor heating have not been very kind to your skin. But more importantly- you’ve been missing out on some vitamin D due to decreased sun exposure!
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium, making it crucial for bone health and it is also a vital element in helping the skin cells turnover, repair and fight free radicals that cause premature aging. Your skin depends on vitamin D to be healthy and radiant, and what’s amazing is that your skin is also responsible for creating the D you need!
So how does your skin actually create Vitamin D?
A chemical called 7-dehydrocholesterol that is present in our skin absorbs UVB rays from sunlight and begins a biochemical reaction that generates previtamin D3, which is then carried to the liver and kidneys to be converted into Vitamin D! It’s like you have a Vitamin D supplement factory inside of your body and sunshine is the raw material! This 7-dehydrocholesterol is abundant in all parts of our skin, so it doesn’t matter which part of your body you expose to sunlight in order to successfully synthesize vitamin D.
How much sunshine do you need for adequate supply of vitamin D?
The Harvard Medical School recommends spending 10-15 minutes out in the sun a few times per week to get the sun exposure you need to synthesize Vitamin D.
However, it is still important to respect the power of the sun and protect your skin from sunburns. We’re big fans of sun protective clothing and accessories. Wearing a hat or a visor helps shield your face. Sunglasses help shield the skin around your eyes from the sun. This is important because the skin around your eyes is more delicate than the skin on the rest of your body. Baseball hats do a good job protecting your face, while wide-brimmed hats may shield your shoulders in addition to your face.
Even your clothing choices can protect your skin from too much sun exposure. Some athletic clothing is rated with UPF ratings, which means “Ultraviolet Protection Factor.” The rating of the fabric informs you how well it blocks out sunlight. Clothing that is worn close to your body also blocks out radiation more than loose clothing does. Of course, another option is to seek shade while you’re spending time outdoors in order to protect your skin. Saying out of the sun during peak times of the day when the sun is highest in the sky (usually between 10 am and 4 pm) also minimizes the intensity of sunlight.
Receiving the sunlight needed to create Vitamin D is essential for your health and for your skin! Sunshine is also rejuvenating for the mind and spirit. Safe sun practices can help you strike a balance between getting the rays that you need for good health and radiant skin, all while protecting your skin at the same time.
Enjoy the sunshine!!