Smart Sun Exposure and Vitamin D

sunflowerWe all know that we should limit our sun exposure these days. Harmful UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. Protecting your skin, your scalp and your eyes is important, and most of the time, you should slather on the sunscreen on a daily basis, even in the winter. With our increasing awareness of the harm that the sun can do to our bodies comes another problem: lowering Vitamin D levels. Our bodies normally make Vitamin D from sun exposure on our skin. With less exposure comes less natural Vitamin D. Vitamin D builds bone and helps protect against high blood pressure, among other benefits.

To make up for this lack of Vitamin D, we can take supplements and eat enriched food, such as Vitamin D added milk. Unfortunately, some experts say, our bodies don’t process supplements the same way, and that the Vitamin D that our bodies make serves us better than any that we take orally.

The solution is to strike a balance between protecting ourselves from sun exposure and getting enough to supply the much needed Vitamin D. The guidelines say that we should get about 20 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen two to three times a week. Most of us already can get this just in our normal every day activities, for example, when we are driving in our cars, but we need to be smart about it.

Protecting delicate facial and neck skin with sunscreen is always a good idea. Try soaking up with sun on exposed arms and legs, instead. The time of day is important, as well. I know that for many of us 20 minutes in the sun during the peak times between 10am and 2pm in summer can lead to bad sunburns, and that is not what you want.

Be smart about your sun exposure, and you can get all of the benefits of Vitamin D without the negative consequences of too much sun exposure.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com

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