Even when it is cool or cloudy, you are still at risk from UV light. It is never too late to start protecting yourself, since skin damage is cumulative over time. You don’t have to be sunburnt to have skin damage from the sun. You need to be particularly careful if involved in water or snow activities, since water and snow reflect large amounts of UV light.
Basic protective steps include:
- Avoid or minimize time outdoors between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Wear UV protective clothing (wide brimmed hat, long sleeve shirt with collar, long pants and wrap around sunglasses).
- Seek shade if outdoors.
- If in water, wear wet suits and water-proof sunscreen.
The use of sunscreen should be in addition to basic protective steps
- Proper use of sunscreen, SPF 30+ Broad spectrum.
- Apply generously and be careful not to miss any areas.
- Sunscreens should ideally be applied a minimum of 15 minutes before going outdoors.
- When outdoors, reapply at least every 2 hours and after swimming, as sunscreen can be wiped off by toweling off, water, sand and clothing.
These steps will allow you to enjoy the beautiful outdoors in a healthy manner, but also reduce the risks of overexposure to sunlight.
Position Statement on Vitamin D
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that an adequate amount of vitamin D should be obtained from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, foods/beverages fortified with vitamin D, and/or vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D should not be obtained from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
- Unprotected UV exposure to the sun or indoor tanning devices is a known risk factor for the development of skin cancer.
- Studies have shown that UV radiation from both the sun and tanning devices can cause oncogenic mutations in skin cells. Use of sunbeds has also been associated with increased risk of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
- There is no scientifically validated, safe threshold level of UV exposure from the sun or indoor tanning devices that allows for maximal vitamin D synthesis without increasing skin cancer risk.
- To protect against skin cancer, a comprehensive photoprotective regimen, including the regular use and proper use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, is recommended.
- Many epidemiological studies have shown an association between low serum vitamin D levels and poor bone health. Emerging scientific evidence also suggests vitamin D status may influence certain types of cancers, neurologic disease, infectious disease, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease.
- It should be emphasized that a recent review of this topic by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that the evidence for associating vitamin D status with outcomes not related to bone health was inconsistent, inconclusive as to causality, and insufficient to inform nutritional requirement.
- A blood test to measure serum vitamin D level, expressed as the 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], is widely available.
- The IOM has concluded that a level of 20 ng/ml (=50 nmol/liter) should be considered adequate(18); the long term safety of 25(OH)D levels above 50 ng/ml (=125 nmol/liter) is unknown.
- Based on currently available scientific evidence that supports a key role of calcium and vitamin D in skeletal health.
- It should be noted that the RDA was derived based on minimal or no sun exposure due to inconsistent contributions of sunlight to Vitamin D in the population and the risk of cancer associated with sun exposure.
If you would like to learn more about sun protection, contact the Total Skin Center today.