With the increased awareness of the importance of Vitamin D, many men and women feel that sun exposure is necessary for good health. From my perspective as a dermatologist, I can safely say that this is patently untrue. Read on to learn the reasons why the sun is much more damaging than helpful for healthy skin and how to get your nutritional boost without UV Rays!
1 – The Sun Causes Tanning & Pigmentation
For all those of you frustrated with your pigmentation and tanning, the sun is the culprit. Those UVB rays are causing all that tanning on your face, while the UVA rays are known to cause nearly every type of pigmentation disease existing. Why put yourself through the gauranteed risk of tanning and pigmentation?
2 – The Sun Causes Aging
The studies are out – the sun causes 78% of all signs of aging. Those wrinkles, those open pores, that sagging – those UV rays are mostly the culprit! They damage the collagen, allowing skin to weaken and age, while also causing those dreaded freckles and age spots.
3 – Sun Allergies
Interestingly, you can also be allergic to the sun. Yes, even though in India we have the strongest sun worldwide due to a combination of our geography (being near the equator) and having the worst pollution in the world (lack of ozone and pollution can worsen the effect of UV rays exponentially!), men and women can suffer from sun rashes. We may have more melanin to protect us slightly more than caucasian skin, but this does not mean we are immune to its harmful effects!
4 – Skin Cancer
The sun is not only cosmetically damaging, it can be dangerous too. Melanomas, basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas are all associated with sun exposure. And just because we are darker, that does not mean that Indian people can’t get skin cancer. The melanin in our skin may protect us somewhat, but skin cancer still exists in India, and must be prevented by proper sun protection.
5– No One Knows the Right Amount of Sun Exposure for Vitamin D Supplementation
If lots of sun exposure was required to get your amount of needed Vitamin D, then no one in India would have Vitamin D deficiency. It is still not known how much sun exposure should be taken and when in order to actually get enough of this elusive nutrient. And, why in India, where the sun is so strong, do we still have a Vitamin D deficiency epidemic?
Overall, instead of risking all the harmful effects of UV rays, the verdict is it is better to simply supplement your diet with almond milk or even vitamin D tablets, then try the nearly impossible task of getting your nutrition through increasing the amount of time you spend in the sun.
By: New York Dermatologist and Medical Director of Lumiere Dermatology, New Delhi – Dr. Kiran Lohia