Housebound Australians weren’t going to let a thing like COVID-19 get between them and some safe sun time.
Millions of citizens curled up in their favourite chair by the window to read, watch TV, snooze, and absorb Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. They were confident the burning UV rays from the sun couldn’t penetrate the glass. They were very, very wrong. Costhetics, in its never-ending quest to share the latest news and information about cosmetic surgery, cosmetic enhancement, and all things related to aesthetic beauty and health, wants you to get things right.
Don’t Try to Get Your Vitamin D Like This
Before talking about windows, let’s start with a little refresher on Vitamin D. Sunlight doesn’t contain Vitamin D. When you’re out frolicking, certain wavelengths of the sun’s rays react with your skin. They trigger the production of 7-dehydrocholestrol, a compound that, in turn, triggers the body’s production of Vitamin D.
Here’s the big reveal: Vitamin D reaction only occurs when direct sunlight comes into contact with your skin. Windows block the specific UVB rays that are key to the process, so exposing yourself to harsh rays has no value.
Wondering how much sun time you can get each day and say safe? Unfortunately, there is no RDA of sunshine for Vitamin D production. Some scientists say 15-20 minutes of unprotected sun time (no clothes, no sunblock) is safe and allows sufficient levels of Vitamin D to be maintained. Skin care experts worry that people will be lax about timing their exposure, thereby upping their risk of skin cancer for the sake of their Vitamin D levels.
If blood tests show that you’re low on Vitamin D, ask your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement.
Windows Let in the Bad UVA Rays
UVB rays can cause nasty sunburn and may contribute to the growth of cancerous cells. The real cancer risk, however, lies in the A-rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVBs and cause deeper damage, too. Not only can UVA exposure lead to melanoma, but they can also cause:
- Skin discolouration
- Skin ageing – fine lines and deep wrinkles
By the way, windows in planes, trains, and automobiles are just as dangerous to your skin. It’s common for windshields to be covered in some sort of film to protect drivers from damaging rays, but side and back windows are typically left untreated.
Can Sunscreen Help? Yes!
Using a sunscreen indoors may seem counterintuitive, but your skin will thank you for it. When you add up the hours of the day and the days of the week and so on, you may be surprised at how much time you are exposing your delicate skin to sun rays. Always look for sunscreens labelled broad spectrum, or (better still) full UVA-protection, which is more complex and beneficial. Reapply as you would when you’re outdoors: every two hours.
If your skin seems dry and sunburned even though you haven’t been out in the sun, your windows may be to blame. Costhetics recommends (urges, actually) that you consult with a dermatologist or medical aesthetic expert. You and your skin will both feel better when you get a clean bill of cancer-free health.