More Tanning Means Less Vitamin D
April 12, 2016
“I need my vitamin D!” is one of the most common rationalizations women give for tanning. And yes, the sun is a good source of the vitamin, but only up to a point. The tanner you are, the less your skin absorbs vitamin D from sunlight, according to a new study.
Making sure you get enough vitamin D is one of the best things you can do for your health, as it has been touted as a miracle mineral in recent years thanks to a ton of studies that show that it strengthens your immune system, protects your bones, boosts athletic performance, reduces depression, and even helps you lose weight.
But according to researchers from Brazil, the vitamin D-tanning connection is complicated. Here’s how it works: When you go outside without sunscreen, UVB rays from the sun cause a reaction in your skin allowing your skin cells to manufacture vitamin D. Light-skinned people need just 10 minutes a day to get their daily quota, while those with darker skin need 15-30 minutes per day, according to the Vitamin D Council.
And therein lies the problem. Darker skin naturally absorbs fewer UVB rays, which leads to less vitamin D. And the longer you’re in the sun, the darker your skin gets. So, the more tan you are, the less your skin absorbs vitamin D.
The natural solution might seem to get more sun then. Unfortunately, as time unprotected in the sun increases, so does your risk of skin cancer – the number one cancer than all other cancers combined.
The answer is in moderation. Get enough sun to get your daily amount, but always cover up with sunscreen and wear sun protective clothing.
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Article originally posted on Shape.com