Why This Expert Says You Should Wait 30 Minutes Before Applying Sunscreen

Why This Expert Says You Should Wait 30 Minutes Before Applying Sunscreen

You need to protect your skin…but you also want that essential vitamin D.

It’s so easy to rush out the door on a sunny day. The warm weather beckons and sometimes there’s just enough time to grab a hat and some sunglasses.

Protecting your skin against the harmful UV rays of the sun can be a last-minute thought. And while applying sunscreen is one of the best ways to arm yourself, it can have its drawbacks. Why? Your vitamin D stores could be suffering.

According to recent studies, most people living in Northern areas where winter brings cold air and snow, are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. That deficiency is growing ever more present as we spend more time indoors. Children, especially, who spend a bulk of their time on electronic devices, have been found to be severely lacking.

Related: Are You Getting Enough Vitamin A and D? This is Why It Matters

So, what does your sunscreen have to do with it? It’s definitely blocking out those UV rays, but it’s also acting against that vital vitamin from the sun. Most sunscreens don’t block absolutely all of your vitamin D, but they do impact a chunk of it.

Vitamin D is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones, and for protecting your body from a number of diseases including many forms of cancer.

Why the sun? You can get vitamin D from supplements and fortified foods like milk, but solar is the best source, experts say. It’s absorbed the most readily.

Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D recommends that you wait before applying sunscreen for this very reason, once you’re outside.

Depending on your skin color and type, you might wait anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes in the sun before protecting your skin with sunscreen, between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm, June through August in Northern climates.

It’s all about balance. Protect yourself, but don’t deny your body the nutrients it needs.

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