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Balancing your skin protection with nutrient loss

Wednesday, 18 November 2015  |  Editor

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Melanin is responsible for your skin and hair colour. From the beginning of time, our skin adapted to its need to protect us from ultra violet rays from the sun. BUT, skin also has the function of absorbing vitamin D from the sun.


The hotter the climate of origin (or to be more precise, the sunnier and hotter), the darker the skin because more melanin is produced because of the more direct sunlight, and, although shielding the ultra violet, enough sunshine penetrated to give the necessary vitamin D.


But in more northerly (or southerly) parts of the world, where sunshine is less severe, our bodies did not need to produce as much protective melanin and so our skin gradually adapted so that we still had the necessary protection and, because where was less melanin, the same amount of required vitamin D.


All well and good, you might think. But we now spend less and less time outside in the sunshine and more under roofs where the sun can’t get to us. So our skin can become lighter as a result of less melanin (hence tanning when we spend time in the sun). If we spend more time inside and when we are well protected from the sun, when we do go out (remembering our sunscreen) all is fine from the skin protection point if view.


The trouble is we aren’t getting vitamin D and we can’t get it from most foods in sufficient quantity even if we eat those that do produce vitamin D. That’s why most health organisation and doctors are recommending Vitamin D supplements. 

  • Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium and bone growth. Without it, bones can become brittle, thin or misshapen.
  • Vitamin D prevents rickets in children
  • Vitamin D helps protect older adults from osteoporosis
  • Vitamin D modulates cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function
  • Vitamin D helps with the reduction of inflammation 

There is vitamin D in good quality multivitamins of course but there are also excellent specialist Vitamin D supplements. You can find them here. 


PS. Did you know that you look more healthy if your skin has a slight gold colouration? And did you know that this coloration can be very simply achieved? All you have to do is eat yellow peppers, carrots etc, and maybe drink a bit of carrot juice. This will give you the pigment carotene. This is a photosynthetic pigment that absorbs ultraviolet rays and emits orange or in low concentrations, yellow.


So it further helps to protect you from ultraviolet rays as well as making you look healthier. It’s a great antioxidant, protecting you from free radical damage. maybe you don;t fancy eating yellow peppers, carrots and carrot juice! Taking carotene supplements instead is an alternative.

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