Guide to: Vitamin D – ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’
The tanning industry has been the subject of relentless scrutiny in the past few years. There is however, no doubt that it is heading in a better direction. With the introduction of the 0.3 legislation and organisations such as The Sunbed Association, we believe the industry has – excuse the pun – a bright future; where its application will extend beyond aesthetic purposes, to vitamin D deficiencies and overall consumer well being.
In order to promote the potential health and wellbeing attributes of indoor tanning we must first reiterate the importance of safe and responsible tanning. Click here to read our golden rules of tanning.
What is vitamin D and why is it important?
Vitamin D, also known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’, regulates the function of over 200 genes and is essential for growth and development. Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to a number a illnesses and diseases.
Vitamin D is so important that the body makes it itself. All you need to do is safely and responsibly exposure yourself to UV light. In fact as much as 50-90% of your total vitamin D is produced as a result of UV exposure. The remainder comes from our diets, which unfortunately, naturally contain little vitamin D. Some foods such as oily fish, cheese, egg yolks and fortified dairy products can help you increase your intake of vitamin D.
A global deficiency
It is widely reported that vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. The deficiency can be attributed to our modern day diets and lifestyles. If you consider how our lifestyles over the past 40 years have changed, it does not take long to figure out that we spend a lot more times indoors then we ever used to.
- The increase in indoor, office jobs.
- The increasing number of us who live in cities – where there is less exposure to UV light.
- Indoor entertainment – Televisions, Internet and Games Consoles.
- The widely reported risk of skin cancer from overexposure – scaring us into not going outside.
- Fashion trends that promote fairer, whiter skin.
Unfortunately for us in England, and particularly this time of year, there is often no sun to expose ourselves to. Several weeks or even months can pass without significant exposure. This lack of exposure and consequent vitamin D deficiency may be why individuals feel depressed this time of year. There are a lot of studies that are looking in to this link.
It is however possible to use indoor tanning to boost your levels of vitamin D. As with natural sunlight, making the vitamin D you need from a low-pressure (UVB) sunbed happens within minutes. This may be why regular tanners often report feeling ‘lifted’ or ‘energised’ after a tanning session. Furthermore, you do not even need to use a tanning bed for a long time to enable your body to produce vitamin D. In fact half the time it takes for your skin to start turn pink / tan should be enough.
If you do chose to use a sunbed we recommend applying the same common sense that you use when exposing yourself to natural sunlight. This includes preventing yourself from burning by limiting your exposure. However, instead of using a sun protection lotion, use a tanning lotion. By applying a tanning lotion, you are moisturising and hydrating the skin -this helps the UVB rays to penetrate deep enough to reach the vitamin D receptors.
Tip: When using sunbeds solely to boost your vitamin D levels, you may want to consider turning off any facial tanners – if the sunbed has any. This is because these smaller lamps are high-pressure, not the low-pressure UVB emitting lamps you need to stimulate the production of vitamin D.
Here at Cyrano, we do not pretend we are scientists or doctors. This post is simply to refer you to websites and documents that we found interesting. If you want to do more of your own reading on the subject we have listed our references.