With summertime in full swing most everyone wants to soak up at least a few rays. Granted it may have been a little hot this past week, but it will cool down, and back outside we will go. Most of the medical community believes this isn’t such a bright idea since the UV light in sunshine has been linked to all kinds of skin cancers, wrinkles, cataracts and macular degeneration.


But what of the good side of the light and the sun’s rays? Sun light has been shown to improve one’s mood by building endorphins and more importantly provides us with much needed vitamin D important for healthy bones and teeth. Dubbed the sunshine vitamin it is known to help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, muscle pain and weakness.


So what do the expert’s say? Michael Holick, MD author of The UV Advantage recommends getting some regular moderate sun exposure. His definition of moderate exposure: baring your face, arms and legs to the sun’s rays for five to ten minutes a day a few days a week without the use of sunscreen or allowing the skin to burn to produce vitamin D.


Most experts agree that the food chain is littered with too much vitamin D, fortified milk, cheeses, breads, orange juice the list is quite lengthy. This is not the body’s natural way of absorbing vitamin D which may lead to too much vitamin D since it is one of the oil based fat stored vitamins or just the opposite not enough absorption. In fact many studies show that seniors, invalids and those with darker skin are more likely to be vitamin D deficient despite the use of vitamin D supplements. Bottom line, the body still needs some sun light.


Yes, UV light does cause various forms of skin cancer, but your risk of severe illness or death from the most common kinds of skin cancer is extremely low. The more deadly form of skin cancer melanoma is caused most frequently by extreme sunburn. Moderate ten-minute exposures will not cause a burn.


Some Precautions-

After your 5-10 minute exposure apply sunscreen and repeat it every two hours of if in the water or put on protective clothing.


Wear a large brim hat to protect your face and eyes from damaging glare and to reduce facial skin lines.


Wear dark glasses with Polaroid or other UV filtering lenses.


Avoid being in the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm when the UV rays are the most harmful.


Vacationing on an island closer to the equator? Two-five minutes of expose is plenty. The sun’s rays are much stronger and you may end up with a burn if not careful.


Just using a common sense approach to sun exposure will help keep bones and teeth healthy and improve mood without the risk of cancer. Use vitamin D supplements cautiously. Till next time, Rebecca