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4 Top Summer Care Concerns - Part 2


1 Year Ago | By Apricot Power
Skin Care

In part 1, we discussed the relationship between sunburns and tanning - if you missed that, be sure to check it out. While those are definitely two of the most talked about topics concerning summer skin care, the discussion can’t truly be complete without visiting these freckles and Vitamin D.

#3 Freckles

What are freckles and why do some people get them and not others?

While this may not be something that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to summer skin care, if you are someone who freckles rather than tans then it definitely is. Interestingly, freckles are a form of an incomplete tan. It turns out that there are 2 types of melatonin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin is the form which is mainly responsible for determining a person’s normal skin tone and is significantly more UV protective than pheomelanin. Unlike eumelanin, everyone possesses fairly equal levels pheomelanin, regardless of skin tone. Therefore, the fairer your natural skin tone, the less eumelanin you have and the more likely you are to burn and sustain skin damage. (However, everyone is susceptible to UV damage and needs to protect themselves adequately with sunblock regardless of skin tone).2  Because the concentration of melanin is much less in fair-skinned individuals, the tanning process occurs in small uniform spots (freckles) where melanocyte cells have transferred melanin to their adjacent keratinocyte cells.2,3

Can you get rid of freckles?

Like tanning, freckles are another instance in which social norms play a large role in our perception. Ironically, even though freckling and tanning are essentially the same thing, freckles seem to have a much more mixed response, with some people happily embracing them while others go to extreme lengths to try to fade them. Often they will fade on their own just like a standard tan, however if you happen to be the the latter group and are especially eager to send your freckles on their way (while as with everything else we have discussed, prevention is always best), here are a few not so extreme methods you could try.
  • Strangely enough, yogurt strikes again. Because yogurt contains lactic acid which promotes moisturization and exfoliation, applying it directly to your skin for a few minutes may be a natural way of helping fade freckles. However, If you aren’t too keen about spreading yogurt on your face as part of your regular skin care routine, you will happy to know that one of the ingredients in our B17 Skin Cleanser is goat’s milk, which also contains lactic acid.4
  • Another idea that has been suggested is rosehip seed oil because it contains trans-retinoic acid (a natural form of Vitamin A). Check with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing before trying this, though, because Vitamin A usage should be monitored during pregnancy since developing babies and new infants have different requirements of this nutrient than adults.4, 8

#4 Vitamin D

Speaking of vitamins, the final big player when it comes to discussions about soaking up the sun is, of course, Vitamin D. The so-called sunshine vitamin is synthesized when UVB rays react with 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) present in our skin and convert it into cholecalciferol which is later transformed into its active form, calcitriol, by our kidneys.5  Because Vitamin D is not common in most foods in our diet besides certain types of fatty fish (though in recent years it has been included as an additive in milk and many cereals by large food producers), the fact that our skin can generate it as a result of sun exposure has been highly emphasized. But does this mean this is the best way to get your daily requirement?

How much time in the sun is needed to get enough vitamin D?

Given that studies estimate about 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D,6  it might seem like a good idea to forego the sunblock here and there (yes, sunblock does block vitamin D production as well because it prevents the rays from reaching your skin). However, it might surprise you to learn that only an average of 6 minutes of sun exposure every few days would be needed to produce adequate Vitamin D levels.7  Since tans, sunburns, and freckles are prevalent, we know many of us don’t have a perfect sun protection regimen. So why are so many of us still deficient in vitamin D? A couple other factors besides sunblock play into this:
  • Infrequent but long periods of time in the sun don’t cover daily vitamin D needs just like consuming one large meal doesn’t satisfy your dietary requirements or hunger for multiple days.
  • The more melanin you have, the fewer UV rays reach the 7-DHC in your skin.7 In other words, the darker your natural skin tone or the more tan you become due to repeated exposure, the less efficiently you are able to produce vitamin D from sunlight.
Therefore, neither occasional sunbathing nor short consistent time in the sun are actually great options for getting your vitamin D, especially since the amount of time needed for UV rays to stimulate sufficient production generally corresponds to the amount of time needed for your skin type to become sunburned. There are a few things you can do to skew this a little if you are determined to get your vitamin D this way, such as avoiding peak UV times which are typically between 11 and 4 and checking the UV forecast for your area that day. However, thankfully it isn’t necessary to do this because Vitamin D supplements are a great way to get the amount you need without the risks.

How do you know if you are Vitamin D deficient?

While blood tests are available to check to determine if you are deficient in vitamin D, these tests are generally somewhat expensive. Signs of deficiency can typically include getting sick frequently, fatigue, depression, bone, back or muscle pain, low bone density, slow healing, or hair loss.6 Even though it is technically possible to experience side effects from having vitamin D levels which are consistently too high, this is actually fairly difficult to do and quite rare. Some studies have shown this can happen in the ballpark of 40,000 to 100,000 IU over the period of a month or more.1 Because of this extremely high threshold for overdoing vitamin D and because so many people worldwide are deficient, taking a 400 IU supplement as part of your daily diet is a very reasonable option. Even in light of all these different risks, temptations, and potential benefits associated with soaking up the sun, a good sunblock, a well-balanced diet, and choice supplements are your best bet for keeping your skin healthy and beautiful not only for the summer but for years to come!

References

  1. Bjarnadottir, MS, A. (2017). How Much Vitamin D is Too Much? The Surprising Truth. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-vitamin-d-is-too-much [Accessed 6 Jul. 2018].
  2. D'Orazio, J., Jarrett, S., Amaro-Ortiz, A. and Scott, T. (2013). UV Radiation and the Skin. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 14(6), pp.12222-12248.
  3. Gary W. Cole, F. (n.d.). Freckles: Causes, Treatment & Types. [online] MedicineNet. Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/freckles/article.htm [Accessed 6 Jul. 2018].
  4. McDermott, A. (2017). How to Get Rid of Freckles: 7 Ways. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-to-get-rid-of-freckles [Accessed 6 Jul. 2018].
  5. QSun | AI-Powered Wearable Sun Tracker | Balance UV exposure and vitamin D. (2017). How Do Our Bodies Make Vitamin D?. [online] Available at: https://qsun.co/how-do-our-bodies-make-vitamin-d/ [Accessed 6 Jul. 2018].
  6. Spritzler, RD, CDE, F. (2016). 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms [Accessed 5 Jul. 2018].
  7. Terushkin, V., Bender, A., Psaty, E., Engelsen, O., Wang, S. and Halpern, A. (2010). Estimated equivalency of vitamin D production from natural sun exposure versus oral vitamin D supplementation across seasons at two US latitudes. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 62(6), pp.929.e1-929.e9.
  8. The Holistic Mama. (2012). Effective All Natural Retinol Alternative - The Holistic Mama. [online] Available at: http://theholisticmama.com/effective-all-natural-alternative-to-retinol-2/ [Accessed 6 Jul. 2018].