Summer Sun, Vitamin D, and Sunscreen

Jun 8, 2020 | Healthy Body

Suddenly it’s summer! It feels like the whole world closed down in winter and reopened to 80 degree temperatures, and heat brings with it sun and sun exposure.

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Got your Vitamin D?

Of course, being in the sun a bit everyday is good for you. Our bodies need some exposure to the sun for vitamin D production (you should aim for 20 minutes a day). In fact, vitamin D deficiency is common, especially in areas of the country where it is quite cold part of the year, necessitating that we stay inside. In addition, many of us work inside all day, limiting our exposure to the sun. 

Your doctor can test your level and recommend supplements if you are low in this vital nutrient.

Stay sun-safe

Sun safety is always in season, and it’s important to protect your skin from sun damage throughout the year, no matter the weather. But, let’s talk about sun exposure for longer periods of time. 

Many people wear sunscreen or other body products with a sunscreen included (such as makeup). Many of these sunscreens contain chemicals that are harmful, such as oxybenzone (a known hormone disruptor that is not recommended for use on children and has been banned in many locations world-wide), octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone.

Some of these ingredients also are detrimental to coral reefs, but that is a whole other article. To get the whole scoop on the danger of certain sunscreens we recommend reading the Environmental Working Group’s article entitled “The Trouble with Ingredients in Sunscreen.” 

Choosing the right sunscreen

As fun as these upcoming months can be, it’s important that you take a little extra time to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But what type of sunscreen should you use?

Rather than using chemical sunscreens, we advocate the use of mineral sunscreens.  What’s the difference? 

Chemical sunscreen ingredients penetrate the top layers of the skin to absorb UV rays. These filters absorb damaging UV rays before they can damage the skin.  

Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use two natural minerals—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—as active ingredients. These minerals simply sit on top of your skin and protect it by reflecting away UV rays. 

Some mineral sunscreen brands we like are Badger (we have used this brand for years), Ethical Zinc, and Blue Lizard.

Don’t forget these often overlooked areas 

Choosing the right sunscreen is important, but so is where you apply it. Some areas are obvious – our face, arms, legs, shoulders, stomach, and back. But there are also areas you might forget about, such as:

  • The tops and backs of your ears
  • Your feet and hands
  • Your scalp (if you don’t want lotion in your hair, wear a hat!)
  • Behind your knees

We all feel better when the sun is shining—just be sure to protect yourself while getting your dose of vitamin D!