Christian Living

Healthy Living

Sun Exposure: Good or Bad?

Is the sun bad for you? Yes and no! We get one of the healthiest vitamins of all, vitamin D, from sun exposure (without sunscreen). This is especially important because research shows most Americans are vitamin D deficient. But too much sun can lead to deadly skin cancer.

So how much is too much? Usually anything over 15 minutes or so. A more accurate way to gauge how much sun you should get is to look at your skin. If the sun caused your skin to TURN PINK, you got too much. Skin cancer is caused by sunBURNS (and tanning booths, a.k.a. death traps).

Sometimes we wear sunscreen and are mystified by the fact that we still turned pink, or worse, still got a sun burn. How does this happen? It's probably because we used the wrong sunscreen, didn't apply it correctly, or both.

Many of us have sunscreen left over from summers in the past. In an attempt to be frugal, we keep using that same old bottle until it's gone....just like we do with make-up, am I right ladies?

In both cases, however, it's healthiest to throw away old sunscreen and old make-up, even though it hurts to waste.

So get yourself a brand new bottle of sunscreen, paying close attention to the label. Looks for a "BROAD SPECTRUM" sunscreen, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher for protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.

Make sure you apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE GOING OUTSIDE and then reapply it every two hours. This is where most people mess-up.

Better yet, read the label on your sunscreen because different ones have different lengths of effectiveness, especially the water resistant ones. Avoid another major mistake by applying sunscreen after you've been swimming or sweating a lot.

Some people are concerned about the aging effects sun has on the skin...with good reason. That's why when you get your sun, just get it on parts OTHER than your face. Sunscreen on the face is always a good idea. A hat is even better!

Even if you are getting some vitamin D from the sun, it's still a good idea to take a Vitamin D supplement to make sure you're getting enough. As with all vitamins, make sure you take it in powder or gel form. The compressed vitamin pills often do not absorb properly.