Bring On the Sunshine!

A few days this week in Colorado, we’ve gotten a glimpse of Summer and it has been wonderful! The sun has come out and it’s gotten a bit warmer.  As the days are starting to get longer and temperatures are beginning to climb, I’m starting to get a little overzealous and have forgotten my long sleeve shirt and jacket a few times.  The best part, though: I can almost feel the desperate need to moisturize dry, chapped winter skin slipping away to be replaced by fresh spring skin! Almost. More than likely, however, your heart is in summer mode while your skin may be displaying the symptoms of lingering winter/Spring blues.

Most of us can relate to the feeling of a tight, cold, and cracked winter face as we walk to and from our cars in the bitter cold.  Some people live in places where winter is 50 degrees.  No matter what means winter for you, as temperatures drop, we tend to layer up and wear clothes that don’t put our skin on display.  We tend not to moisturize as often and neglect our dry knees, elbows, and cuticles.  Your skin looks and feels better in the spring and summer, not only because the warm weather forces us to take better care of our skin, but because the sun itself also cares for it.

Skin health is just one benefit of vitamin D among healthy bones, teeth, immune system, and aiding the absorption of other essential vitamins.  Signs that you could be deficient might be lack of energy (staying inside too long during wintertime, anyone?), trouble sleeping, or anxiety.  Vitamin D acts as a powerful antioxidant to reduce premature aging and damage.  Having sufficient vitamin D specifically helps your skin minimize acne, boost elasticity, stimulate collagen production, enhance radiance, and lessen lines and the appearance of dark spots.  Overall, it is key to having beautiful looking skin. A word of cation though, don't go overboard with sun exposure. Don't allow yourself to burn, if you are planning to be out in the sun for longer periods of time, cover up or wear sunscreen. Sun burn increases your risk of skin cancer substantially.

Getting enough vitamin D can be easy or difficult.  The easy way is direct exposure to sunlight.  As much as I wish, we can’t get vitamin D or a tan through a car window.  The sun’s ultraviolet rays allow skin to manufacture vitamin D.  Simply five to ten minutes a day of exposure on even just your face or hands provides the required amount of vitamin D.  Diet also plays a role in getting vitamin D, but it is harder this way to get the required amount.  Milk, salmon, tuna, and eggs are some examples of foods that are good sources.  Unfortunately, over time, the skin’s ability to create vitamin D decreases about 75% by the time we are around 70 years old.  As we age, supplements are a great way to make sure we get enough.  As with everything, a healthy combination - good foods, an appropriate amount of sun exposure, and incorporating supplements as necessary - is the most efficient way to get the most benefits from vitamin D.