All natural 12 August, 2017 Isabel Vallejo
The best way to produce vitamin D is through sun exposure. It is important to understand the factors that influence this process, however, in order to find a balanced way to protect your skin.
According to the Harvard Medical School webpage, vitamin D deficiency is a condition that is becoming more common due to different physical and behavioral factors that reduce people’s exposure to the sun. Considering that this vitamin is essential to us absorbing calcium and phosphate, which affects the growth of our bones, this deficiency can have long-term consequences on our health.
Foods such as oily fish (salmon or tuna), dairy products and grains are good sources of vitamin D. Pharmaceutical supplements are also an option, which are recommended for people with high vitamin D deficiencies. The easiest and most effective way to get vitamin D, however, is to expose the skin to the sun, as this is the organ that absorbs the ultraviolet rays needed to produce it.
This does not mean that we should overexpose ourselves to the sun. Keep the following factors in mind to calculate how much sun is a healthy amount:
- Where you live: The closer you are to the equator, the more ultraviolet rays enter the atmosphere and the less need there is for sun exposure.
- Sunscreen: While it is true that sunscreen reduces the impact of UVB rays on the skin, most people do not use large amounts of it nor use it daily. It therefore does not have a large impact on the skins ability to take in the sun and it remains a very necessary part of preventing skin diseases.
- Skin color: Melanin in darker skin reduces the impact of the sun’s rays. In order to obtain the same amount of vitamin D, people with lighter skin therefore require less sun exposure than people with darker skin (Related article: Test for identifying your skin phototype).
- Weight: Studies have shown that people with higher body masses have lower levels of vitamin D.
- Age: Young skin processes UVB rays more easily than older skin.