How much sunshine do we need? Familydentalcare
• Amalgam free dentistry • Safe removal of amalgam • White & Porcelain Fillings • Tooth Whitening • Crowns & Veneers • Cosmetic Dentistry
The amount of sunshine each individual should be exposed to depends on the colour of a person’s skin, the region someone lives in, the time of year, and the amount of time the person spends outdoors. In general, people with fair skin should be exposed in the sun for 3-15 minutes, while people with darker skin tones should be exposed for 15-30 minutes.
This does not include walking out on your lunch break for a few minutes in your work attire as at least 40% of your skin needs to be exposed, especially fatty areas (thighs and stomach), and when the sun in highest in the sky at midday. Colder periods of the year may require supplementation with vitamin D, depending on individual levels.
The truth about sunscreens
Topically applied, sunscreens protect us by absorbing or reflecting radiation at the surface of our skin. In addition to blocking UV radiation, sunscreens also inhibit the endogenous production of vitamin D.
As Alanis Morissete would otherwise sing it; isn’t it ironic that melanoma rates have risen in recent decades after the introduction of sunscreens? As vitamin D suppress the growth of melanoma cells, vitamin D deficiency in the skin may play a role in the development of melanoma. Interestingly, regular, healthy time in the sun produces natural sunblock through the body’s ability to produce melanin. More time spent in the sun, therefore, helps the skin regulate more naturally, becoming less likely to burn and reduces the need for sunscreens with an SPF of 15+. Individuals with very sensitive skin, however, may still need more protection.
Several commercial sunscreens available on the market contain chemicals that are not only problematic to human health, but also to the environment. Sunscreens can be categorised by chemical or physical UV blockers. Chemical sunscreens are usually ‘invisible’ and therefore appealing to consumers (no one wants to leave the house looking like a vampire). However UV absorption may activate their causing unwanted skin reactions.
Many of the synthetic chemicals including benzophenone-3 have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, mimicking natural hormones in the body. Ironically, conventional sunscreens that are marketed to protect us from skin cancer and melanomas contain chemicals have been linked to various forms of cancer. Padimate O, a chemical filler in conventional sunscreen, has been found to produce free radicals when exposed to sunlight and causes contact dermatitis and photosensitivity.
Commonly found ingredients to avoid: • benzophenone-3 (Bp-3) / Oxybenzone • homosalate (HMS)
Safe sunscreen choices
Physical sunscreens reflect both UVA and UVB rays away from the skin. Physical sunscreens are chemical-free, and are natural sunscreens use mineral blocks, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Natural sunscreens contain many plant-based ingredients that are soothing and nourishing to the skin, are nontoxic, low in skin irritants, and free of perfumes or petroleum-based polymers.
Eat your sunscreen
While sunscreens have been useful to assist in reducing sun damage, their protection alone is not adequate to prevent UV effects. Because of this, new skin protecting methods are needed to promote healthy skin and offer the highest available sun protection without skin reactions. The study of ingredients found in many of the foods we eat, used both topically (on the surface of the skin) and systemically (internally ingested) has gained considerable attention in recent years. Ingesting and applying certain vegetables, fruits, and herbs, have both been found to be the best way to protect our skin from the sun’s rays.