Laurel Health Centers
Penn Oak Realty
Bank On It
By The Door
Back to Basics
Live From The Hive
FNP-C Shares Best Ways To Stay Safe in the Sun
Being outdoors and basking in the sun can promote relaxation and reduce stress. June’s Movin’ Together tool encourages us to protect the skin, our largest organ, while outside! Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner Tina Doud-Kearns, FNP-C, joins me to share essential facts about safely stepping into the sun to have some fun.
Presently skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. More skin cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. yearly than all other cancers combined. The number of skin cancer cases has increased over the past few decades. In the U.S., more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer daily.
If you’ll be in the sun, the American Cancer Society also recommends the Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap! Their method of prevention. Slip on a shirt, slop on 30 SPF (or higher) broad-spectrum sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses before going out in the sun.
When the sun’s rays hit the skin, tissue processes start making vitamin D.
People do not need to get a tan or burn to get vitamin D from the sun. The body will make all the vitamin D it needs for a day in about half the time it takes the skin to burn.
Many factors affect how much vitamin D a person gets from the sun, such as:
– Time of Day: The skin produces more vitamin D when in the sun during the middle of the day, the time it is at its highest point in the sky. When spending prolonged time in the hot sun, wear Sunscreen, and stay hydrated.
– Amount of Time Exposed: The more skin a person exposes, the more vitamin D the body will make. Exposing the back, for instance, allows the body to produce more vitamin D than just the hands and face.
Some studies show that when you sit in the shade, your skin is exposed to scattered UVB rays. These rays aren’t as intense as in direct sunlight, but they still allow the body to produce some vitamin D over time. Sitting in the shade is a good option if you need to spend extended periods outside or have a skin condition that makes you more vulnerable to sun damage.
Clinical studies have never found that everyday sunscreen use leads to vitamin D insufficiency. The general studies show that people who use sunscreen daily can maintain their vitamin D levels.
Special note from Tina Doud – Kearns:
Vitamin D is essential in maintaining strong and healthy bones and has many other health benefits, such as strengthening the immune system, mental health, and neurological health. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 40% of American adults have a Vitamin D deficiency. One of the best ways to get Vitamin D is through the sun. However, too much sunlight comes with its own risk. Be sure to choose an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 that states it has UVA and UVB, or “broad spectrum” protection. With lotions, use about a teaspoon per body part or area that’s not covered up with clothing: 1 teaspoon for your face, head, and neck; 1 for each arm; 1 for each leg; 1 for your chest and abdomen; and 1 for your back and the back of your neck. If you’re in a bathing suit, you’ll need about an ounce of lotion to cover your body. That’s about the amount that fills a shot glass. Be sure to reapply every 2 hours and wait at least 30 minutes before entering the water.
Physical sunscreens are often called natural sunscreens because they don’t contain chemical sun protection filters. Natural sunscreens are typically free of parabens and ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.
Instead, natural sunscreen formulas use active ingredients from plants, like aloe vera and zinc oxide, to coat the skin and reflect ultraviolet (UV) rays off the dermal layers.
An effective sunscreen will have a high SPF level. It will also be broad-spectrum, which blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
SPF measures how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin (i.e., in the presence of Sunscreen) relative to the amount of solar power needed to make sunburn on unprotected skin. As the SPF value increases, sunburn protection increases.
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and it’s used to rate apparel; they block both UVB and UVA rays, which can penetrate the lower levels of the skin.