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Sun Protection: Don't Get Burned

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While you need to be sun smart, you still need to get some exposure to sunshine every day to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. This is especially true, since the many studies about the anti-cancer benefits of Vitamin D have come out, particularly with breast cancer.

Dr. JJ also has a number of patients that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
In the winter time, they suffer from the lack of sunshine, and get very depressed. You do need some exposure to the sun, but of course, in moderation.

Here's an overview of Vitamin D.

What is a good guideline for sun exposure?
It depends on your skin tone. If you are fair skinned, you should be careful and wear sunscreen, a hat, protective clothing and once you see some reddening of your skin, you should go inside or stay in the shade. If you are olive skin or have a darker complexion, you can stay in the sun longer.
By the time you are about a teenager, you start to know your body and how much sun exposure you can take.

What is a sunburn?
A sunburn is when you get damage to the epithelium, the outer layer of your skin. UV radiation causes the damage. The damage can be severe. You can get up to a 3rd degree burn from the sun. That is why sunscreens say that they have a "UV protection of 15, 30 etc. Sunscreens are designed so the UV rays do not penetrate the skin, they bounce off instead.

What should we look for in sun protection?
Naturally, you can take Beta Carotene, Vitamin C and B Vitamins to help decrease your risk of sunburn. Taking a daily multivitamin would be a good way to protect yourself.

Topically, you can apply sunscreen. There are a number of natural products available. Jennifer shows two options, one that is a zinc based (you can tell because it is white) spray on sunscreen. Dr. JJ agrees that a spray on product is convenient for apply the sunscreen on children. You should also look for a product that is water proof, and remember to reapply it when you come out of the water.
The second sunscreen was made locally and has a shea butter base . Shea butter has a natural SPF due to its fatty acid content. The shea butter also offers moisturizing properties for you skin.

What are some natural options for treating sun burns?
Aloe, is very good. In studies, aloe has been found to decrease sunburns and treat a variety of burns. It helps heal the skin after it has been burned.

Calendula cream is also very good to apply topically to burns.You can also look for Vitamin E based products, or simply take a vitamin E capsule, bite it open and apply the oil directly to the skin.

Vitamin of the day: Vitamin C
Studies have shown that those who are deficient in Vitamin C are more likely to get a sunburn.
Vitamin C has many good properties, including anti-cancer and improving your immune system functionality

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.