As the season begins to change considerations need to be made to your health regimen to adjust to the cooler weather, dryer temperatures, decreased sunlight and the greater potential for diminished immunity.
Aesthetically speaking, it’s the ideal time to renew your skin’s texture. You can achieve this through exfoliation of dead cells as a result of Summer, which in turn, will even pigmentation, soften fine lines and wrinkles and “seal the cuticle” of the skin preventing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
A professional exfoliation such as microdermabrasion will also help to increase cellular energy, collagen production and the penetration of carefully chosen topical – a favorite being hyaluronic acid. The hyaluronic acid molecule has the ability to attract and hold 1000 times its weight in water which applied topically helps to plump and deeply hydrate the skin.
A growing health concern year round – but especially important this time of year due to the decreased availability of UVB rays from the sun which are required for synthesis – is Vitamin D deficiency. The American Society for Clinical Nutrition goes as far to refer to it as a worldwide pandemic. Those at greatest risk are those with darker skins as the melanin tends to be TOO protective requiring more time than most working and indoor lifestyles allow.
Previously referred to as “the sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D is now being touted as “the anti-cancer vitamin” as 3/4 of all cancer patients are found to be deficient.
Dark skinned individuals are at even higher risk and should ask their doctors for a 25(OH)D blood test (important to specify as other tests are not accurate!)
The best time of day to absorb the beneficial UVB rays is between 10am and 2pm, the precise times we have been told to avoid the sun or slather on sunscreens and coverings. UVA (aging rays) rays are still strong at all times of year which are more prevalent outside this time block and are the more deeply penetrating and are age- accelerating rays.
Only 50% of these rays are blocked by your car windows, so keep this in mind when you travel. Unfortunately all of the UVB (burning rays – which before you begin to turn pink are the same beneficial rays that can create Vitamin D in skin) are blocked by your cars windows, so don’t count on your drive to lunch to provide what you need!
Supplementation will be required for those of us who cannot get enough from sunlight and should opt for D3 rather than the synthetic D2 form. Recommendations long held 400IU to be the standard but even after an increase to just 600IU, it is obvious we are still missing the mark here as 30 minutes of whole body exposure to sunlight sans clothing and sunscreen can result in synthesis of 10000 to 20000IU! Unfortunately those with darker skin can take up to
Most research and reputable health sites are now recommending anywhere between 4000-8000IU as a maintenance dose but my own deficiency has my doctors prescribing 10000IU per day (a level from which no dangers have been observed). Cholesterol is needed to produce Vitamin D and is therefore a precursor; it is also interesting to note that most foods high in Vitamin D are also high in cholesterol.
Concentrated food sources include cod liver oil, sardines, grass fed cow milk, pasture raised eggs and shitake mushrooms. But in looking at these percentages I will opt for a daily attempt at some lunchtime exposure when I can get it and an olive oil based liquid D3 on most days that it just isn’t possible. Conditions ranging from PCOS (another blog for another day!), IBS, hypertension, depression and even obesity have been implicated in deficiency!
So please consider getting yourself tested soon and be sensible with exposure (i.e. cover up or apply a physical block sunscreen when skin begins to turn pink) but by all means get out there and play in this beautiful fall weather!