What About Vitamin D
While it is true that exposure to sunlight helps to produce Vitamin D3 in your body, the amount of sunlight that you actually need for adequate levels of Vitamin D is minimal. About five to ten minutes of exposure to the arms and legs, or hands, arms and face, two to three times per week is sufficient for healthy Vitamin D levels.
This is especially true if you eat foods that are high in Vitamin D, such as fish, mushrooms, soy, dairy, and eggs or take oral Vitamin D supplements. Because it is not uncommon for some people to have low Vitamin D levels, especially in areas of the country that tend to be overcast during most of the year, most physicians now recommend daily oral supplementation.
This is especially important for women who are at increased risk of developing osteomalacia or osteoporosis. Currently, the recommended dose of Vitamin D for the general population is 600 IU for those 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800 IU for those over 71 years of age.
How To Protect Your Skin From Potential Blue Light Damage
Dr. Saedi says the best way to prevent blue light damage is to cut down your screen time. You can also invest in a screen protector for your electronics, such as the ophthalmologist-endorsed EyeJust , which can block or dim blue light. It is more important to try to be proactive by reducing the screen brightness on your phone or wearing headphones so the phone can be in your pocket and not directly against your cheek and face, says Bloom.
And if you arent already slathering a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on your face every day, start now. Wearing sunscreen is always recommended for patients on a daily basis, says Bloom. I stress the importance of physical blocking sunscreens, like EltaMD or Coola, which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. This can help in blocking blue light, because chemical sunscreens that may block UVA and UVB rays do not block visible or blue light rays. Zeichner recommends opting for a tinted mineral sunscreen, which will physically block blue light rays from reaching the surface of the skin to begin with.
Currently, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only two active ingredients that are generally recognized as safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when used in sunscreens. 32189-3/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> review published in in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and a randomized clinical trial from the January 2020 Journal of the American Medical Association, respectively.)
How To Protect Your Skin From Blue Light Damage
Clearly one needs to take an indoor and outdoor approach given that both sunlight and our digital devices emit blue light.
Before you tweak your skincare regime , address your tech and cover your phones and computers with a blue light shield. Its a cheap fix and eliminates the need to worry about skincare or sunglasses when using your phone or tablet, advises Begoun. Some smartphones have a setting that disables blue light in favour of yellow light , which makes it easier on your eyes and on your skin. If your phone has this feature, use it all the time as a great anti-ageing and eye-saving method. Easy.
“Topical antioxidants are an absolute must”
When it comes to protection from products, take cover with a smart shield sunscreen packing antioxidants. The bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Defense is a broad spectrum, non-chemical mineral SPF 30, loaded with antioxidant-rich cocoa extract said to help protect against the damaging effects of blue light from devices.
Topical antioxidants are an absolute must in everyones skincare regime, Dr Williams attests. The skin naturally contains antioxidants such as vitamin E however, these are used up when the skin is exposed to excess free radicals . Applying topical antioxidants in the form of skincare, as well as eating a diet rich in antioxidants can boost our skins defence against oxidative environmental damage.
Shop our round-up of the best buys in the blue light fight below:
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Is There A Cure For Skin Cancer
The cure for most skin cancers is early detection and treatment to remove cancer from your body. An early diagnosis, especially for melanoma, targets cancer before it spreads to other parts of your body. Nearly 90% of people diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma make a full recovery after treatment to remove cancer.
How Can You Protect Yourself Against The Sun’s Harmful Rays
The best way to protect yourself against the damaging effects of the sun is to limit exposure and protect your skin.
The best way to prevent sunburn in children over 6 months old is to follow these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:
Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Broad spectrum means the sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply about every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, whenever possible. Look for clothing with a UV protection factor or made of a tightly woven fabric.
Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand. They reflect the damaging rays of the sun. This can increase your chances of sunburn.
Get vitamin D through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.
Do not use tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, try using a self-tanning product. But also use sunscreen with it.
Protect your lips with lip balm with at least SPF 15.
Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even while under an umbrella. Snow and water are also good reflectors of UV rays. Reflective surfaces can reflect most of the damaging sun rays.
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Uv Light Causes Chemical Reactions In The Body
Unlike visible light, the energy from UV radiation can be absorbed by molecules in our body, causing chemical reactions. When the energy from UV radiation is absorbed by DNA, it can cause reactions that lead to genetic mutations. Some of these mutations can lead to the development of skin cancer, which is the most common cancer in the U.S. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma are all associated with UV light exposure.
However, not all chemical reactions that UV light induces are harmful. In fact, some of them are beneficial. For instance, we can get vitamin D from eating certain plants and animals, but a main source of vitamin D comes from exposure to UV radiation.
Vitamin D is critical to maintaining bone density by increasing calcium absorption in the gut. Chronically low levels of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis. Apart from its effects on bone, vitamin D has also been shown to improve balance and muscle strength in the elderly, which decreases the number of falls leading to fracture.
UV light induces the body to synthesize other molecules as well, including opioid-like molecules thought to cause a tanning high.
Halogen Fluorescent And Incandescent Lights
Halogen, fluorescent, and incandescent lightbulbs emit a small amount of UV radiation, Dr. Alexis says. An example is a black light. If you have ever been to a glow party, you know how cool black lights can look. These lights emit UVA light and not much visible light. Cumulatively they can contribute to premature skin aging over a protracted period of time or cause rashes in individuals with sun or light sensitivity such as lupus patients, Dr. Alexis explains. The FDA suggests staying farther away from these light sources if you are sensitive.
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Consumer Health: Uv Radiation And Your Skin
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Skin cancer develops primarily on areas of sun-exposed skin, including the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands and legs.
Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker complexions. However, having less pigment in your skin provides less protection from damaging UV radiation. If you have blond or red hair and light-colored eyes, and you freckle or sunburn easily, you’re much more likely to develop skin cancer than a person with darker skin.
It’s a common misconception that using a tanning bed is safer than tanning in the sun, and it may even offer a protective “base tan.” The truth is there is no such thing as a healthy tan by way of a tanning bed or the sun. The healthiest practice is to protect your skin from UV radiation exposure and instead use sunless tanning products to darken your skin and simulate a tan.
Protection Against Autoimmune Conditions
On a larger scale, certain autoimmune conditions are more common in countries with less UV exposure. For instance, there is a higher prevalence of multiple sclerosis in Scandinavian countries.
In MS, immune cells attack the insulation around nerve cells in the brain, ultimately leading to nerve damage. While lack of vitamin D is a leading hypothesis for how MS develops, studies have also shown that lack of sun exposure may be an independent risk factor for nerve damage.
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Does My Skin Have A Natural Barrier To Protect Against Cancer
The stratum corneum exists in the outermost layer of your skin and is your bodys natural barrier to protect you from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. Too much sun exposure can break down your bodys natural defense, which can lead to skin cancer. Even though you have this barrier, you still need to take steps to protect your skin from UV radiation.
If you have a darker skin tone, melanin, which is the substance in your body that produces hair, eye and skin pigmentation, helps protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. While you do have an additional barrier to protect your skin, you can still get skin cancer.
Sun Safety For The Entire Family
Everybody needs some sun exposure to produce vitamin D . But unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and immune system. It can also cause cancer. There are other contributing factors such as heredity and environment. But sunburn and excessive UV light exposure do damage the skin. This damage can lead to skin cancer or premature skin aging .
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What Is Blue Light Anyway
Blue light is a portion of the visible light spectrum that is contained in sunlight, but it is also given off by indoor lighting common electronic devices, like computer screens and smartphones, says Jason Bloom, MD, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Bloom Facial Plastic Surgery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
is thought to penetrate deeper into the skin than UV light but fortunately is not associated with the development of skin cancer, adds Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Hospitals Department of Dermatology in New York City.
Most of the blue light people are exposed to comes from the sun, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The amount of blue light emitted by devices is only a fraction of that given off by the sun, explains Dr. Bloom but the problem is that we are constantly spending time on and carrying around these devices and keeping them close to our face and head.
In fact, per Nielsen data published in July 2018, the average American spends more than 11 hours per day using digital media.
So, if youve noticed your screen time has gone up thanks to work-from-home Zoom calls and ongoing virtual happy hours, or maybe the latest Netflix series drop, you may be wondering about the effect on your health.
The Good: It May Help You Lose Weight
Aside from the fact that we tend to be more active in warmer, sunnier months, a recent studyfrom the University of Alberta Diabetes Institute found that fat cells shrink when exposed to blue light from the sun. At this wavelength, light causes lipid molecules in the cells to reduce in size. This may contribute to the typical weight gain people experience during winter months, when their sun exposure is limited.
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Cataracts And Other Eye Damage
Cataracts are a form of eye damage in which a loss of transparency in the lens of the eye clouds vision. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. Research has shown that UV radiation increases the likelihood of certain cataracts. Although curable with modern eye surgery, cataracts diminish the eyesight of millions of Americans and cost billions of dollars in medical care each year.
Other kinds of eye damage include pterygium , skin cancer around the eyes, and degeneration of the macula . All of these problems can be lessened with proper eye protection. Look for sunglasses, glasses or contact lenses if you wear them, that offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection.
How To Protect Your Nails From Uv Light
Both doctors suggest that sunscreen and fingerless gloves can help to lessen any risk. According to Dr. Marchbein, if you must get a gel mani, you can protect yourself by applying a broad spectrum SPF 30-plus prior to manicures and wearing a UPF glove with the fingertips cut off.
If the thought of sitting for a gel manicure still makes you uneasy, Dr. Marchbein recommends you skip the gel and get a regular manicure. She adds that a gel alternative, such as Gel Couture by Essie, definitely lasts longer than a regular manicure and doesnt require the same upkeep as gels.
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To Protect Yourself From Uv Radiation:
- Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
- Consider options to protect your children.
- Wear a wide brim hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Use sunscreen with sun protection factor 15 or higher, for both UVA and UVB protection.
- Avoid indoor tanning. Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for younger users people who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of developing melanoma.
Blue Light And Your Skin
Research shows blue light from electronic devices can lead to changes in your skin cells, including cell shrinkage and death. These speed up the aging process. Even exposures as short as 60 minutes can trigger these changes.
Too much blue light could also lead to pigmentation. One study linked blue light exposure to more swelling, redness, and pigment changes in people with darker skin.
Although it can negatively impact your skin when used in certain ways, blue light also has healing properties. In one study, a blue light device was used to treat a patch of psoriasis in people with mild to moderate plaque psoriasis. This was done for 4 weeks and helped ease redness and shrink the patchâs size. There were no serious side effects.
Itâs also been used to treat mild to moderate acne. A study found blue light lowered the number of blackheads, whiteheads, and other acne after 7 days of treatment.
Actinic keratosis is scaly bumps that show up on the face, ears, lips, hands, and other areas of skin exposed to the sun. They sometimes grow into skin cancer. Blue light helps lower the number of these precancerous patches, treating large areas of skin with few side effects.
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What You Need To Know
- A majority of nonmelanoma skin cancers and a large percentage of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
- UV exposure is a powerful attack on the skin, creating damage that can range from premature wrinkles to dangerous skin cancer.
- Damage from UV exposure is cumulative and increases your skin cancer risk over time. While your body can repair some of the DNA damage in skin cells, it cant repair all of it. The unrepaired damage builds up over time and triggers mutations that cause skin cells to multiply rapidly. That can lead to malignant tumors.
- The degree of damage depends on the intensity of UV rays and the length of time your skin has been exposed without protection. Location is also a factor. The UV index measures the intensity of UV radiation at a specific location. If you live where the sun is strong year-round, your exposure level and risk increases.
- You can easily reduce your likelihood of developing skin cancer by protecting yourself against UV radiation.
What Can I Expect If I Have Ultraviolet Radiation Damage
Long-term effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure or overexposure to the sun can lead to premature aging and skin cancer. The suns UV rays reach the DNA within the cells in your skin and cause them to malfunction. You can reduce your risk of skin cancer by wearing protective clothing when you go outdoors and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day. You can also wear protective accessories like sunglasses to shade your skin and eyes from ultraviolet radiation. Treatment is available for all types of skin cancer, but your outlook is best when you receive an early diagnosis and treatment.
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