Foods and supplements that contain vitamin D float in front of a shining background.

Tanning: Is Vitamin D Your Excuse?

Isn’t it nice to hear what we want to hear? Early on, we learn how great it feels to hear our parents say, “Yes, you can have two scoops of ice cream instead of just one,” or “No, you don’t have to finish all your peas tonight.” We seek that gratification from a very young age. I’m as guilty of it as an adult as I was as a kid. Now, however, it’s wrinkle cream reviews. I read that one positive review, and I am done. I’ve heard all I need to hear. I think it must be human nature.

People hear what they want to

There is a certain satisfaction in hearing the answer for which we so fervently prayed. It’s absolutely gratifying - that is a fact no one can deny. Unfortunately, we sometimes look for loopholes in order to hear those answers, and sometimes the price we pay is our own health. It’s really no different with those who want to tan in the sun. They want to hear the positives, so they look for them - hard.

Vitamin D vs. skin cancer

One of those positives is vitamin D. The sun does offer a fair amount of vitamin D. About that, there is no argument. For those who desperately want to hear that tanning is a healthy choice, the fact that it serves as a source of vitamin D is enough to satisfy them. Say no more. Just like Survivor said, “The search is over…” Like those wrinkle remedies I was searching for, it only takes one miracle story, and it’s over. Many will use this as an excuse to proceed with tanning in the sun.

Vitamin D from other sources

Physicians, however, have some facts they might want to consider. Vitamin D occurs in a whole host of foods therefore the sun is not your first and only line of defense against vitamin D deficiency. Additionally, vitamin D can easily be consumed as a supplement.1 While it’s nice to think that you can get a tan and solve your vitamin D dilemma, that’s not exactly the whole story. It’s just the most satisfying version of the story.

Suncreen is not the enemy

While some grab onto vitamin D as a reason to tan, others use it as a reason not to wear sunscreen. A shame, isn’t it? (The same kind of shame as me pinning all my hopes on eye cream that was more or less glue in a fancy bottle.) Somewhere, in some blog out there, they will find that one line that implies sunscreen impedes the absorption of the all-important vitamin D. Not wanting to block the sun’s rays, they forego the sunscreen and take the full impact of the UV rays. I get it. I really do. But it’s not the healthy choice. Experts have determined that even with the use of sunscreen, your body will continue to absorb some of the sun’s rays.2Sunscreen is just the way to go - for all of us.

Skin cancer prevention should be the priority

If you or someone you know is looking for one line to justify your tanning desires, grab this one: The sun will get through your sunscreen, but wearing sunscreen reduces your chances of developing skin cancers including melanoma.3 If you are going to pin your hopes on something, pin it on something smart and healthy because you deserve it.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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