The sunshine vitamin, also known as vitamin D, is an essential nutrient that our bodies need. When defining vitamin D, experts explain it as a hormone rather than an actual vitamin. Note that we create this vitamin when our skin is exposed to sunlight, specifically the UVB rays. Vitamin D synthesis occurs when these rays interact with cholesterol in the body.
Read on, we will examine why our bodies need this sunshine vitamin and why you should protect yourself from vitamin D deficiency.
Do You Need Vitamin D?
Yes, we all need this vitamin. As it boosts immunity, it helps the body to fight against common infections and illnesses. It is also needed for brain development and muscle function. Now, we’ve talked about vitamin D synthesis. However, note that the process isn’t that simple. The vitamin is first converted into 25 (OH)D and then calcitriol, which helps our body to remain healthy and strong.
What Happens If I Do not Get Enough Vitamin D?
Several factors can prevent you from getting enough of vitamin. These include living in a polluted area or that with tall buildings that block sunlight. Also, spending a lot of your time indoors will not allow you to get the right dosage of this vitamin.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause several health conditions like fatigue, pains, stress fractures, muscle aches, and feeling sick.
Does SPF Affect Vitamin D Levels?
Well, sunscreen is designed to protect us from the sun by blocking its UV rays from reaching our skin. Now, if we go with this theory, then SPF can hinder vitamin D production. But several studies like Young and Neale have proved that sunscreen doesn’t cause vitamin D deficiency. Plus, many sources, such as the Skin Cancer Foundation say that exposing your skin to the sun puts you at a greater risk of skin cancer, which is worse than vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, protecting your skin should come first before you worry about getting enough vitamin D. So, always ensure that you’ve applied your sunblock product every day.
How Else Can You Acquire Vitamin D Then?
Well, apart from UV exposure, there are several other ways to get enough vitamin D. Food sources like tuna, salmon, mushrooms, egg yolks, cheese, and fortified tofu are excellent vitamin D sources. Also, other common foods like orange juice and milk are fortified with vitamin D.
If you can still drink cod liver, you can get double the daily recommend a dosage of vitamin D. However, if this isn’t your cup of tea, and you want to try other alternative ways of getting vitamin D other than from food sources, take vitamin D supplements. Although note that people are always advised to get it from food and use supplements as reinforcements. It’s also important that you speak to your doctor first before taking any supplement.
Vitamin D Benefits and Deficiency Risks
We need calcium to develop strong bones. Since vitamin D helps control calcium levels, it’ll help better our bone health. It’s why muscle aches, weakness, and bone pain are common symptoms for those with vitamin D deficiency. Plus, when vitamin D levels are too low, it reduces calcium absorption, which causes slower growth, weakened bone structure, and bone softening. These put one at risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and skeletal deformities.
There’s no evidence proving that using sunscreen every day leads to vitamin D deficiency. Most people using SPF have enough levels of this vitamin. And recently, there have been other studies suggesting other benefits of vitamin D. Some research says that it can help lower heart disease, prevent type 1 diabetes, and reduce cancer deaths. Therefore, according to these studies, those with enough vitamin D levels have lower chances of dying of these diseases. However, note that these are observational studies. Therefore, we can’t use them for medical recommendations.
Why Protect Yourself from the Sun?
Sunscreen protection carries several benefits. Using SPF 15, 30, and 50 is said to reduce a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 50%, squamous cell carcinoma by 40%, and skin aging prematurely by 24%.
On the molecular level, the UV rays from the sun have been proven to damage our skin’s cellular DNA. This leads to mutations, which puts us a risk of developing skin cancer. UV from the sun is said to cause 90% of nonmelanoma cancer of the skin and 86% melanomas. As if it is not enough, these rays can also harm our eyes, causing cataracts, eyelids, and ocular skin cancers such as melanomas.
The World Health Organization advises everyone to protect themselves from sun exposure. Doing this reduces your risks to several conditions that could severely damage your skin and worse, kill you. So make sure that you are always wearing sunscreen and take other preventive measures to protect yourself from the sun.
What Is a Healthy Vitamin D Level?
You can test your vitamin D in a medical lab where your doctor will draw your blood. Check for these levels to know whether you have enough of this vitamin;
- Below 30- deficient, ask your doctor to recommend the supplements you can use.
- 30-50- not enough for bone and overall health
- 50 and above- sufficient but more is not exactly better.
- 125 and above- too high and can cause adverse effects.
Does Sunscreen Lead to Vitamin D Deficiency?
Products with high SPF levels can filter most of the sun’s UVB rays. And that is important since UVB can cause sunburns and skin cancers. But note that UVB wavelengths are required for vitamin D production in the skin to occur
Thankfully, there is no evidence proving that using a sunscreen every day leads to vitamin D deficiency. And many studies present say that most people using a sunscreen every day maintain their vitamin D levels.
No matter how much sunscreen you apply on your skin, even those with high SPF, the sun’s UV rays can still reach it, although not too much. A sunscreen product with SPF 15, 30, and 50, blocks sunscreen by 93%, 97%, and 98%, respectively. That means that 2-7% of the UVB rays can reach your skin.
But we should mention that there are different sunscreen products in the market, all of which have different formulations. This means that getting the right product for your skin will require some trial and error. Note that a product can work for someone else but fail to do so on you.
However, you can easily choose your sunscreen product if you shop smart. And that is why you need to understand the difference between physical and chemical sunscreen.
What Is Physical Sunscreen?
Also called mineral sunscreen, it’s a shield that deflects UVB rays. It sits on the surface of your skin to prevent sunburns. This product is made with mineral-based ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that help reflect the sun’s harmful rays. Check the ingredients in your products. If they are only titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, that’s a physical sunscreen.
Physical sunscreen sits on top of the skin and isn’t absorbed. Therefore, experts say that it’s a safe option for children and pregnant women. It’s also suitable for those who want to quickly apply their sunscreen and leave since it starts to work right away. Also, if you have sensitive skin, this type may be perfect for you.
However, the ingredients used often leave a white cast on the skin. Plus, while they are generally a safe option, they are mostly thick, which makes it hard to apply them. Not to mention the ghost-like cast they leave on the skin. Thankfully, sunscreen wearers no longer have to rely on the Casper aesthetic option as there are tinted formulas with new ingredients.
What Is Chemical Sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens work by a chemical reaction. As such, it partially gets absorbed into the skin to prevent sun damage. Ingredients in this product include oxybenzone, octinoxate, dioybenzone, homosalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene among other chemicals, which absorb into the skin to block UV rays. If your product has any other ingredient apart from titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, it’s a chemical sunscreen.
However, some hybrid products can contain the ingredients of physical and chemical sunscreen.
The good thing about chemical sunscreen is that it doesn’t leave behind any residue on the surface of your skin. Plus, chemical formulations are considered light hence best for oily skin.
However, while they are said to be safe and better than going outside with SPF, the chemicals are partially absorbed into one’s bloodstream. Researchers are still studying the effects of this. But reef safety has always been a concern for many people.
Chemical Sunscreen VS Physical Sunscreen
Chemical ones absorb the sun’s UVB rays. However, physical ones reflect them away. Note that physical sunscreens sit on the surface of your skin and reflect the UV rays away. But chemical ones absorb these rays into the skin, convert into heat and dissipate them. They act like a sponge that absorbs the rays before they can damage your skin.
A physical sunscreen can last longer than a chemical one. Although they both shield a person from the dangerous effect of UVA and UVB rays, they differ in how long each can protect someone. Chemical blockers degrade faster when you expose yourself to UV compared to physical reflectors. But many products have an ingredient that helps them last longer.
When choosing between a chemical and a physical sunscreen, also think about the time it takes for each to work. Physical sunscreens have active mineral formulations, which means they provide instant protection. But for the chemical ones, you must give them at least 15 minutes to absorb in the skin before sun exposure.
However, the length of time it takes for a product to work is not as important as the SPF level. Individuals are always advised to purchase a product with at least SPF 30. Note that products with a high level offer better protection than their counterparts.
Additionally, consider your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, it is best to use physical sunscreens. These have fewer ingredients, which means you are less likely to suffer from irritation. Also, if you have heat-sensitive skin conditions like melasma, it is best to use a physical sunscreen as it blocks sun absorption, which reduces heat production.
If you are planning to do a physical activity like swimming or playing volleyball, you can consider a chemical sunscreen as it absorbs in the skin, so it won’t get washed off by sweat or water.
But although these products have their differences, you can use them together for more protection. It’s why most products nowadays include ingredients of both these two types. As such, you can apply fewer amounts and still get enough protection.
Also note that apart from sunscreen, there are other ways you can protect yourself from the harsh UV rays of the sun. For instance, avoid walking in the sun during 10 am-2 pm as these are peak hours. Again, invest in sun protective clothing and hats and sit under a shade always. So, while sunscreen shouldn’t be ignored, please think about these other prevention measures when going outside too.
Here are Top Picks for Products that Can Help with Protect Your Skin from the Effects of Too Much Sun.
If you use vitamin C serum in your skincare routine, consider this product. It helps reduce hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. Plus, it repairs sun damage and boosts the production of collagen. With regular use, you’ll achieve a bright, smooth, and even skin tone.
Many sunscreen products usually have 10 of zinc oxide. However, this product doubles that number to offer superb protection. It includes anti-aging peptides and enzymes, which help regenerate your skin while still protecting it. Also included is hyaluronic acid that hydrates your skin, clay minerals and malachite that heal and purify your skin, and soothing oils. This product was made with sensitive skin in mind, meaning it won’t irritate it. Other ingredients include vitamin c, aloe, and jojoba oil.
We love this product as it does not include toxic chemicals and complicated ingredients. It contains 18% zinc oxide and offers excellent protection from UVA and UVB sun rays. Plus, you can use it on the go.
This powerful stick will not compromise your health and will still protect you from epidermal damage. You can use it on sensitive skin without causing irritations.
Additionally, it contains ingredients that have high amounts of antioxidants and fatty acids. Thus, the product will lock moisture in and repair your skin while still offering protection from the sun. Prevent sunspots and other adverse effects of sun exposure by using this easy-to-apply sun protection stick.
Other inactive ingredients include aloe vera extract, canola oil, and sunflower seed oil among others.
The product will protect you from the sun without subjecting you to other toxic chemicals. It comes with anti-aging peptides, 15% Homosalate, Avobenzone, Octyl Salicylate, Octocylene in 3%, 5%, and 10%, respectively. Therefore, apart from sun protection, this formula also helps in aging prevention.
Some of the ingredients used include aloe, ionic minerals from pure calcium montmorillonite clay, and peptides.
Stay Healthy Inside and Out and Have Better Skin with the Use of Products from Zion Health
To ensure essential skin health, you need to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. However, you also need your fair share of vitamin D to avoid a nutritional deficiency. You can have both, but you must be smart in the choices you make.
The five products mentioned above from Zion Health can keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays, but also keep your skin healthy and looking amazing all summer long.
All Zion Health products are vegan, organic, contain no parabens, are made with all-natural ingredients and are cruelty-free.
Sun exposure will give you enough vitamin D. However, because too much is dangerous, always ensure that you have protected yourself first. And do not forget to eat the foods we’ve mentioned above as they are rich in vitamin D.
Stay Up to Date with The Latest in News Your Body and Skin Can Use.
Check out some of our other blog posts for helpful information regarding the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle, mind.
Summer is upon us, and now we know sun exposure offers us enough vitamin D, but we also have to protect our skin from damage that occurs from over-exposure. It’s also important to have a proper skincare routine in place to ensure your skin is at its ultimate best. Read more about it in our blog, “Glowing Your Skin Using Cleansers & Toners”
Make sure to also check out our latest blog, “Fight the Body Odor. Deodorant vs. Antiperspirants,” and learn more about our line of deodorants that will make you sweat less this summer keeping you, cool, calm and collected.