Vitamin D: Friend or Foe?

It’s summertime and everyone is fighting an internal battle. As we add yet another bottle of SPF 50 sunscreen to our shopping lists, we’re secretly longing for our skin to have that perfect, sun-kissed glow. So, what do we do? Load up on sunscreen, while wearing our sunhats, out of fear of the almighty sun, or frolic happily and care-free in the sunshine without protection? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t all that easy.

As you probably already know, our skin produces vitamin D in response to sun exposure. This is vital, because if you want to maintain an optimal level of health, having a sufficient amount of vitamin D in your body is necessary. Just a few of vitamin D’s many important functions are strengthening bones, regulating calcium absorption, and preventing depression.

Surprisingly, vitamin D deficiency is a problem that is becoming increasingly prevalent. This problem of insufficient amounts of vitamin D can be detrimental to our health. Some vitamin D deficiency symptoms include fatigue, bone and/or muscle pain, and bone and/or muscle weakness. If said symptoms are not acknowledged, your bones could become fragile or soft.  

All of this information about vitamin D complicates things. If vitamin D is beneficial to our health, and we can get it naturally from enjoying the sunshine, why are we forced to believe that we should avoid sun exposure at all costs? It’s because the sun is a beautiful, yet dangerous, thing.

We can and we should enjoy our time in the sunshine, but only if we act responsibly by taking the necessary precautions. Too much sun and not enough sunscreen can eventually lead to skin cancer. In order to avoid such a terrible, scary thing, go ahead and apply (and reapply) sunscreen when you’re planning an entire day of fun in the sun. Otherwise, feel free to step outside without worrying about applying sunscreen beforehand. We have to remember that sunlight and vitamin D production go hand-in-hand.

Don’t feel guilty about wanting picturesque sun-kissed skin. This glow can be achieved more easily by only applying sunscreen when you’re going to be outside for longer than 30 minutes. Protecting your skin is extremely important, but you no longer have to panic about leaving your sunscreen behind for a short stay in the sun. Be smart; assess each sunny situation on a case-by-case basis. 

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