Vitamin D is an important supplement to maintain healthy bodies. It is used in the body to metabolize calcium and phosphorus, which are important for keeping bones strong. Low levels of vitamin D lead to bone problems and in severe cases a disease known as rickets. Vitamin D can be obtained from the diet and through the skin with sun exposure or UV tanning beds. While getting vitamin D from the diet is very healthy, getting it from sunlight is dangerous to your skin. This is because sun exposure and tanning beds lead to both premature aging of the skin and skin cancer. Premature aging results in the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and broken blood vessels on the skin. It also destroys collagen which is seen as sagging skin. There are 3.5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year and this number continues to rise. It is estimated that one in five people will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. In the United States every hour one person dies from melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Vitamin D can be obtained through the diet through a number of foods that have additional health benefits such as fortified milk and cheeses and oily fish such as salmon and tuna. The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommends an intake of 600 international units of vitamin D for people aged 1 to 70 years. With all these healthy and nutritious sources of vitamin D, it doesn’t make sense to increase your risk of premature aging and skin cancer by using sunlight as a source of vitamin D. This also emphasizes the importance of using sunscreen daily. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day, even if you are not outside or if it is cold or overcast. The Elta MD sunscreens provide outstanding protection and feel very comfortable on the skin. For more information, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Alex (818-835-1833 [email protected]).