get your vitamin D from the sun…but be careful

It’s that time of the year, beautiful sunny days – get outside and get some sun. Nature’s source of vitamin D.

But be careful, too much sun on unprotected skin can be harmful.

Due to the changing angle of our sun and the absorption of solar radiation by the atmosphere, the intensity of ultraviolet radiation hitting the surface of the earth is twice as strong at noon as it is in the early morning and late afternoon.

Ensure that you wear a hat and sunscreen. I recommend natural sunscreens such as Soleo, Green Beaver or Badger brands, they’re available at health food stores and they’re made with natural ingredients. If you find them to be too thick when applying, try wetting your skin. Goes on a lot easier and smoother!

Why go for a natural sunscreen? Our skin, which is our largest organ, absorbs what you put on it. What it absorbs goes directly into your bloodstream. The skin is permeable to all chemicals. Think about it – this makes sense. People who wear a skin patch on their arm, like a nicotine patch – those substances in that patch don’t just sit there superficially, they are meant to go into the bloodstream. Medical research shows that significant amounts of cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogenic substances, penetrate the skin and end up in our bloodstream. Many chemicals in cosmetics don’t cause obvious signs of toxicity on the skin, but imagine the build up of toxins over time. Give some thought to what you are putting on your skin and the skin of your children.

Next, I wanted to talk a bit about melanoma, also known as skin cancer. Did you know:

– it is slightly more common in women than in men

– risk factors include: excessive exposure to sunlight, tendency to freckle in the sun, hormonal factors such as pregnancy, a family history, red hair, fair skin, blues eyes and susceptibility to sunburn

Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma:

A – Asymmetrical lesions

B – Border irregularity of lesions or moles

C – Colour of lesion varies with shades of tan, brown or black and possibly red, blue and white

D – Diameter is greater than 6mm

E – Elevated or enlarging lesion (shape and size is changing)

Also look for changes to pre-existing skin lesions or moles, such as inflammation or pain, itching, ulceration, bleeding and changing of texture.

Take note of any lesions or moles over time, or have your mate or friend check for these signs on your back.

If you notice any of these signs, consult your health care practitioner.

Be informed, stay safe and enjoy the beautiful summer sunshine!

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