Sun, tanning beds not the best place to get Vitamin D, experts say

Good Day Dakota

Winter is finally becoming a distant memory, meaning we are spending more time outdoors, soaking up the sun and enjoying the warming temperatures. This is another reminder to take care of your skin.

KX spoke with a Sanford Health Dermatologist who says even in the winter she still sees patients that have been overexposed.

She says most of her patients she sees in North Dakota are farmers, ranchers, the elderly, and is even seeing an increase in younger people.

Sun exposure and tanning beds both damage the skin equally. And she adds that getting the appropriate vitamin D in your life doesn’t have to come from the sun.

Dr. Richelle Knudson says, “There have been studies of surfers in Hawaii who are outside for 12 or 15 hours a day and when you check their Vitamin D levels they are below normal. And that just tells us that sun exposure is not a reliable way to get vitamin D and we should get it through foods and supplements.”

Knudson says milk, salmon, or vitamin D supplements are some of the best ways to get the proper vitamin D you need. She adds to always reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours.

But what is the safest way to get that tan that everyone wants? 

“So no tan is healthy. What we do recommend is spray tans,” says Dr. Knudson. “Those are a ‘healthy tan’. There are some concerns about aerosolization from spray tans so you have to make sure you have the proper airway protection from spray tans. But that is the only type of tan that is considered to be safe.”

The FDA has required tanning beds to have a black box warning to tell users it is a carcinogen and you should not use one under the age of 18.

There has been a big push in the government to have stricter laws for young adults when it comes to tanning beds.

Another new concern with sun safety is the type of sunscreen you use. 

It only takes a day for sunscreen to enter into your bloodstream, and a new study found 4 chemicals in sunscreen exceeded FDA limits.

However, there is not enough research to say whether or not it can cause health problems.

Experts are saying not to stop using sunscreen, but to be aware of these chemicals. They are steering more people in wearing the appropriate clothing to block out UV Rays.

They also say to try and avoid the sun between 10 am through 4 pm when the sun is most intense.

Dr. Knudson adds that an SPF of 50 is adequate and that you really don’t need to spend that extra money on higher SPF sunscreens.

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