Your skin loves Vitamin D. Or, perhaps it is your brain that enjoys the warmth of the sunshine on your skin. Either way, we all need Vitamin D, yet your skin’s safety should be the utmost important factor when escaping to the beach this winter. Why? Sun can damage the skin and have lasting effects on its overall health. We took a deeper look into ultraviolet (UV-B) rays as they relate to your skin and here is what we found.
Dermatologists across the nation actually don’t agree on how much UV-B light is good for the skin, however they do agree on one thing – suntans are not healthy. Sunburns of any type cause damage to the skin and can lead to the development of skin cancer. In fact, skin cancer is the number one form of cancer in the United States.
Suntans are actually considered an injury response from sun exposure. When your skin cells are threatened by UV rays, they kick into a defense mechanism, pushing melanocytes (darker pigment cells) to the surface. As the pigment piles up, your skin’s color appearance deepens, creating that “tan” look. The longer you are in the sun, the darker you get, which translates to your skin becoming more threatened.
What SPF should you be using?
The general recommendation by dermatologists is to cover up and use sunscreen, using at least SPF 30 to protect from sun damage. The intensity of UV-B in sunlight is highly variable, depending on things such as time of day, clouds, time of year, and location. Paired with many different skin types and pigment variations, it is impossible for a one-size-fits-all sunlight recommendation.
What you need to know – protection for your skin is the best option. And if you are planning to hit the beach this winter, you are most likely traveling to a destination with intense sunlight. (Sunlight is more intense in the tropics – aka, those perfect Caribbean destinations).
So, don’t forget your cover up and apply sunscreen liberally this winter when you are traveling. Be smart with amounts of vitamin D you are soaking up, and remember, even a base tan only provides the equivalent of SPF 3 for your skin according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).