For clients with a genetic predisposition, a history of- or a high risk for developing melanoma – you DO need to have about 20 minutes of sun at MIDDAY – quite to the contrary of what is being promoted today.
A low vitamin D status is shown to be associated with melanoma and a worse prognosis. Human skin makes a large amount of vitamin D naturally between 10.30am and 3pm and evidence does show that people with thicker, or higher stage melanomas have lower vitamin D status compared to those with thinner tumors. So, should we should be recommending to this targeted group of people that they must ensure they get sufficient SUN AT MIDDAY. This would ensure sufficient Vitamin D levels for prevention.
If your client is fair skinned, it is recommended they spend 10-20 minutes outside in the midday sun with minimal clothing and no sunscreen – this should give them enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin. Your dark-skinned clients and your older clients produce less vitamin D, and many people don’t get enough of the nutrient from dietary sources like fatty fish and fortified milk so, they need to be outside for longer and more often, to get the same effect.
Sunscreens that do work are formulated with chemicals that may not be in the best interests of our skin, nor our environment. The game currently appears to be that manufacturers are trying to outdo each other by ‘upping’ the SPF numbers game. The natural SPF that protects darker skinned people from common skin cancers is about 12-14 and we know that a product with an SPF 8 provides protection – so why apply more chemicals than necessary?
Are we, as estheticians confident that the higher concentrations of free radical generating sunscreen molecules are safe? Many questions, but no answers! This is why it is important for us to be constantly trained with updated information from experts in our field.