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Enjoying the Sunshine in Winter Without the Sun Damage

Enjoying the Sunshine in Winter Without the Sun Damage

Enjoying the sunshine can be fun, but it’s no secret that it’s very damaging to our skin. In winter time there’s no denying that it feels amazing to have the warm rays shining down on you, but you still have to be sun smart. Also, the sun is a wonderful source of vitamin D and as we get older, often we struggle with getting enough vitamin D.

elderly man outside with hat

Why do we need vitamin D?

We need vitamin D primarily to keep our muscles and bones healthy. Although some foods contain vitamin D, the sun is definitely out best source. By protecting our skin from the sun with sunscreen, we can still absorb vitamin D.

Who’s at risk of vitamin D deficiency?

 People who are naturally dark skinned don’t absorb vitamin D as readily as their pigmented skin impedes the UV (where the vitamin D comes from) from entering the skin as easily.

Some people cover their entire bodies for religious and cultural reasons, in which case UV light can’t penetrate the skin. Also, people who completely avoid sun exposure due to medications they’re taking, or due to already having skin cancers, are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

In regards to elderly people who are frail and might have chronic illnesses, they’re at risk of vitamin D deficiency due to staying indoors all the time. People living in aged care facilities, who rarely venture outside are as well.

When do you need sun protection?

In Australia the UV index is often extreme. When you spend any length of time in the sun, you should be protecting your skin. By incorporating sunscreen into your daily routine, you’ll start the day with protection against the sun.

 

The Cancer council recommends that you wear long sleeves, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen when you venture outdoors. By doing this you give your skin the best protection possible while still being able to enjoy the winter sun.

Hat sunglasses sunscrean

The time of day that you’re outside also matters. Early mornings and late afternoons are better times of day to be outdoors when the UV index is lower. To see what the UV index is you can go to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Can you still enjoy the sunshine?

You can still enjoy the sunshine. Just remember to check the UV index, and choose your times of day when the UV rating is lower. Don’ forget to cover you skin with sunscreen, clothing, a hat and sunscreen when you go outside, and start your day with an application of sunscreen. Keep your time outdoors short too, and seek shade where possible. If you feel like you don’t get outside enough, and/ or that your vitamin D levels could be low, make an appointment with your G.P. and get your levels checked.

Remember that over-exposure to UV rays is never advisable. For further information about sun safety, visit the Cancer Council.


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