Summer – friend or foe?

We love the Summer and those sunny days, but sunshine and heat is a double-edged sword. We need it because vitamin D is important to us, but too much of it and we risk skin cancer. 

So, what are the facts?

Vitamin D is created when your skin is exposed to the Sun’s ultraviolet B rays. It is best known for keeping your bones healthy by increasing the absorption of calcium. 

However low levels of vitamin D may lead to the bone thinning disease called osteoporosis. Research also indicates that insufficient vitamin D may play a role in other diseases including Multiple Sclerosis and certain cancers.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common and it is estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. 

Why does this happen?

Today’s modern world where many people work longer hours in an office based or factory environment deprive many people of the sunshine that they need. Couple this with a decline in outdoor activities, the rise and popularity of video gaming and it is not difficult to see that as a society we are no longer the Sun lovers that we used to be.

How much sunshine do we need?

The answer is surprisingly little.

Some research indicates that a even just a few minutes of sunshine in the mid-morning or the mid-afternoon can be enough. This should not be beyond the majority of us but we are warned not to spend too much time in a hot midday sun.

It’s more difficult when winter arrives however because we tend to dress for the cold weather and very little skin is exposed even to a winter sun, so dependent upon where you live, the winter some may be too weak to make sufficient vitamin D.

Vitamin D all year round.

In the summer you should be checking your UV levels to ensure that you don’t get too much sun exposure but in the winter UV levels can often be too low to make much vitamin D especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

In winter it is good to expose your arms or lower legs for between seven and 40 minutes and the darker your skin, or the further away from the equator that you live from the equator, the more exposure you will need during the winter months in order to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

If you feel you are not getting sufficient vitamin D then certain foods can help. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines can help, as well as red meat and eggs. A further source of vitamin D can be found in dietary supplement supplements which are available from most chemists.

We hope this information has been helpful, and now that the summer is here please take care and don’t forget the sunscreen regardless of your skin type. 

Remember, Mayfair we care.