Vitamin D And Sunbathing

Sunbathing can do a lot more than just stimulate vitamin D production. Just think of the soothing heat radiation and the bright daylight that conveys well-being. Therefore, every sunny day should be used for well-dosed sunbathing without stressing the skin with an overdose of UV radiation.

Unfortunately, sunbathing with vitamin D gains is only possible in the summer in many places. From October to March, UVB radiation often does not reach the earth’s surface because the low-lying sun’s rays travel a long way through the atmosphere and are filtered out. Only when the sun is at least 45 degrees above the horizon, i.e., when an object is larger than its shadow, is the UVB radiation intense enough to effectively stimulate the formation of vitamins.

With a bright blue sky (clear air and thus high UVB radiation intensity), the sun, which is a little lower down, is sufficient for a vitamin D-donating sunbath. Such days are to be used.

In contrast, haze and polluted air, especially in large cities, reduce UVB radiation. This extends the winter period, which is not able to form vitamins.

The UVB radiation is also dependent on the weather. When it is cloudy, vitamin D cannot be formed even in summer. Since the UVB radiation reaches its daily maximum when the sun is at its highest, midday should be used for sunbathing.

The most excellent sunny weather is useless for vitamin D production if it is impossible to sunbathe at midday due to work, school, or household chores. Even office workers in tropical countries are vitamin D deficient because they spend their entire working day in closed rooms. It is also ineffective to expose the face, hands, and forearms to the midday sun while the rest of the body is covered with clothing. The exposed skin area is too small to raise the vitamin D level. The whole body should become healthy; this is the only way to train a vitamin D yield of 10,000 to 20,000 units per day.

All sunscreens primarily block UVB radiation and prevent the formation of vitamin D. They should only be used if the skin cannot be protected from excessive UV radiation in any other way; for example, by withdrawing to the shade or covering the skin and clothing.

Another problem is that many people can no longer tolerate the sun’s intense UV radiation and therefore avoid the midday sun. This is mostly due to the lack of adaptation of the skin to the sun. The pigmentation and thickening of the cornea takes time. In the case of a vitamin D deficiency, the skin is sensitive to UV radiation, which makes therapy with the sun more difficult and requires longer periods of time to get used to it.

Before the skin is exposed to UV radiation, it is advisable to first raise the vitamin D level with a supplement. As a result, the skin tolerates UV radiation better.

Malnutrition makes the skin prone to sunburn, especially if there is a lack of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotene, and carotenoids, which are supplied through fruits and vegetables. This makes sun therapy even more difficult, especially for people with severe vitamin D deficiency who need the sun so badly.

Unfortunately, sun therapy can only be used when the weather is nice. Furthermore, even in good weather, the sun cure takes much time. With intense UVB radiation and sun exposure of the whole body, up to 20,000 units of vitamin D can be formed daily. It would take 20 such sunny days, i.e., three weeks of beautiful sunshine and summer weather, to eliminate the usual deficiency with 400,000 units.

If the weather is changeable and the atmosphere is cloudy, you may need two summer months for this, even if every sunny day is used for sunbathing the whole body. Added to this is the time it takes to get the skin used to the sun. Sometimes summer is over before a good vitamin D level can be achieved. Then it falls off again.

Those who look forward to ten sunny days with a bright blue sky (high UVB radiation intensity) and sun their whole body every day while on holiday will achieve a gain in vitamin D of around 200,000 units. If you work again from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the office or in the factory after your vacation without refueling with vitamin D, this considerable profit will be used up again after two months. Occasional sunbathing on the weekend does little. This shows how difficult it is to maintain adequate vitamin D levels on a regular eight-hour workday just from sunbathing.

So sun therapy is a tedious and unsafe affair. It is better to use supplements to ensure a rapid rise in vitamin D levels and to use in addition to this.

Correct Sunbathing With A High Vitamin D Gain

In order to achieve a high vitamin D gain when sunbathing and not to damage the skin through an overdose of UV radiation, the following principles must be observed:

-The tanning of a large area of ​​skin, preferably the whole body, from both sides.

-The solar radiation should hit the skin as vertically as possible: Maximize the UVB radiation output.

Preferred is noon, when the sun is at its highest point. The higher the sun’s position, the higher the UVB radiation intensity, and the higher the vitamin D gain. A high position of the sun of over 45 degrees promises the abundant formation of vitamin D.

Every sunny day at noon, use the sun, even if it is only a few minutes.

-Ideal are the sunny days with a bright blue sky because UVB radiation is most intense in clear air.

-Only sunbathe in the apartment with the window open. Window glass does not let UVB radiation through. Sunburn from UV radiation is still possible.

Avoid any excess. The first few minutes of sunbathing are the most valuable. With every further minute, a little less vitamin D is formed because the UV radiation destroys part of the vitamin D again. After a while, a state of equilibrium is reached, and no more vitamin D can be formed. Long sunbathing is, therefore, pointless and only damages the skin. Even with tanned skin, under good radiation conditions, a high vitamin D gain can be achieved in half an hour, 15 minutes each in the prone and supine positions.

In the case of intense UV radiation, it is advisable to follow the rule of the dial, especially if the skin is not yet adapted to the sun’s rays:

Skin type 1: 5 minutes each in the prone and supine positions.

Skin type 2: 10 minutes each.

Skin type 3: 15 minutes each.

Skin type 4: 20 minutes each, etc.

-The skin gradually adjusts to the sun. This should not be exposed to more than half the sunburn time. This is the time after which the skin begins to redden. The skin’s sun protection factor can be increased up to 40 through pigmentation and thickening of the cornea (applies to skin types 3 and 4).

-If you eat many fruits and vegetables, your skin can better tolerate UV radiation (especially from carotene, carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and other antioxidants). Good natural sun protection can be achieved through healthy eating and adaptation to the sun so that no sunscreen is required for well-dosed sunbathing and everyday life.

-A sufficiently high vitamin D concentration in the skin should be ensured, if necessary, with the help of supplements. Many sun allergies could be ended in this way.

-Do not use sunscreen at the beginning of the exposure. These block UVB radiation and almost completely prevent the formation of vitamin D.

-If you cannot avoid the sun, protect your skin with clothing. Only the uncovered areas such as the face and hands should be creamed if necessary. Cream with mineral UV protection is preferable.

Depending on the lifetime dose, damage by the sun is mainly caused by the depth of the UVA radiation penetrating the skin. Therefore, the optimum irradiation consists of exposing the skin of the whole body uniformly to the required UVB radiation dose while keeping the UVA radiation dose within acceptable limits. The tanning should therefore be spread over as many days with midday sun as possible.

A high UVB-UVA ratio is achieved through:

-High position of the sun (over 45 °).

Clear air (clear blue sky), atmospheric cloudiness (haze), dust, and air pollutants.

No sunscreen (reduction of UVB radiation to a few percent, depending on the sun protection factor, the amount used, and repeated application).

-Do not sunbathe behind window glass. Glass completely filters out the UVB radiation.

-It is best to lie down when sunbathing. The standing person is exposed to increased UV radiation through reflection. The UVB radiation is hardly reflected but largely absorbed. The radiation conditions in snow and ice in the high mountains (on glacier and ski tours), on the water (when sailing and paddling), and in light-colored sand and concrete are critical. That is why the beach, balcony, and terrace are less recommended for sunbathing. On the beach, the reflected UVA radiation is minimized by lying flat on the sand. On the other hand, the green nature is ideal because the leaves’ chlorophyll absorbs the UVA radiation (only the green visible light is reflected). When sunbathing in the garden, you are only exposed to direct UV radiation with a high UVB component, which is ideal for the skin.

Sunbeds with intense UVA radiation and minimal UVB radiation should not be used. Only certified devices with a proportion of UVB radiation that corresponds to that of the high midday sun or the tropical sun are acceptable.

If you follow these principles, you will gain a lot of vitamin D through UVB radiation and reduce the stress on your skin from UVA radiation, which keeps UV-induced skin aging within limits.

The face should be covered when sunbathing, especially since it is exposed to most of the UV radiation. Facial skin that has aged prematurely due to too much UVA radiation cannot be concealed. It is advisable to sunbathe more on your back and turn your face away from the sun or wear a hat to protect it from excessive radiation.

In this way, if every sunny day is used for sunbathing at noon, an optimal vitamin D level can be maintained almost everywhere from spring to autumn. Furthermore, when the cold and dark season begins, vitamin D supplements benefit from its protective effect all year round.

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