Today Show: Soak Up the Sun?
During the summer, we’re often reminded to protect our skin before we head outside in the sun. But now at least one expert is putting out conflicting information. What should you do to protect yourself? Today Show’s Kate Snow reported about questions surrounding Sun Exposure and SPF.
Dr Michael Holick wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post, in which he said that health authorities are blaming the sun for high cancer rates, without considering the health benefits that come from sun exposure.
Today Show: Vitamin D from Sun Exposure
“To avoid all direct sunlight actually increases risk for Vitamin D deficiency,” Dr Holick said. He said this can put you at a higher risk for some chronic illnesses. His suggestion is to take it easy with Sunscreen.
However, the American Cancer Society disagrees with his position. Each year, more than 5 million people are treated for Skin Cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. “We know that five sunburns in a lifetime will result in an 86% increase in the risk of skin cancer,” said Dr Arnold Baskies, CSO of the American Cancer Society.
Dr Baskies also advised using a supplement to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D in your diet.
Today Show: How Much Sun Do We Need?
Dr Natalie Azar spoke with Today Show’s Matt Lauer about the signs of Vitamin D deficiency. She said in most cases, patients will not notice any symptoms. Sometimes it can be associated with other conditions, such as Osteoporosis.
What about the confusion? According to Dr Azar, this is a layered and ongoing debate. She said that doctors disagree even about how much Vitamin D a person needs. The current daily recommendations for Vitamin D supplements vary by age:
- Birth to 12 Months – 400 IU
- Ages 1 to 70 Years – 600 IU
- Ages 71+ – 800 IU
Today Show: Supplements Vs Sunshine
What if you want to skip the supplements and get your Vitamin D from the sun? How much sun exposure you would need depends on your skin tone and other factors. Your proximity to the equator, how long you spend in the sun, and where it is in the sky can all have an effect. But Dr Azar said people should not stop using sunscreen.
Do you get your Vitamin D from a supplement or from the warm sunshine?