Don’t Go Naked This Winter: Take Vitamin D Supplements
Americans mistakenly believe that the coming of winter lowers requirements for sunscreen. In fact, only about 2 percent of Americans use a sunscreen product in the wintertime. What people may not realize is that winter snow reflects the sun's rays as readily as water and pavement in the summer. However, because it has been determined that over half of all Americans are deficient in vitamin D, many are wary of using sunscreen at all.
Individuals can avoid damage but still gain valuable vitamin D with 20 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun. However, it is important after this period to apply sunscreen. Many commercial sunscreen products are loaded with alcohols, chemical fragrances, parabens, petroleum oils and toxic solvents. Fortunately, there are natural sunscreens on the market that can protect skin from ultraviolet rays in the summer and winter. It’s also beneficial to take Vitamin D supplements
. Natural Vitamin D supplements can aid in the absorption of calcium which is an important nutrient for bone health.
According to Prevention magazine, there are a number of things to look for when choosing an effective, natural sunscreen. Products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are more natural than those that contain synthetic chemicals ending in -ene, -one or -ate. Also, while the ingredient retinyl palmitate is said to be safe for human use, it has been linked to skin cancer when applied to certain populations of mice.
Individuals may want to use caution when purchasing products that contain man-made fragrances. Sometimes listed as parfums, these fragrances can affect the eyes and cause allergic reactions.
In order to be effective, natural sunscreen products should carry an SPF of 30 or higher according to recommendations by the American Academy of Dermatology. In addition, products should be broad-spectrum, which means they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Throughout the year, the sun emits UV rays that are potentially damaging to the skin. The two types include UVA and UVB rays. Because they are more deeply absorbed through the skin, UVA rays are the most harmful, but UVB rays can still cause damage.
Winter sports enthusiasts like skiers and snowboarders are at a greater risk because higher altitudes boost the
intensity of UV rays. In fact, intensity increases by about 5 percent for every 1000 feet in altitude.
Here are some tips for winter sports aficionados:
- Expose skin for 15 to 20 minutes for a healthy dose of vitamin D, but then lather up with sunscreen, particularly the face.
- Because winter activities can cause perspiration, reapply every two hours.
- Use lip balm with added natural sunscreen
- Wear UV-resistant sunglasses or goggles for added eye protection.
- It is important for people to know that even on cloudy days UV rays from the sun can damage the skin if exposed for long periods without protection. This is especially true for those who venture into the mountains. To ensure healthy skin, utilize an effective, natural sunscreen in the summer and winter.