I've been reading about vitamin D and expected to read about the benefits of the vitamin. Y'know, the usual. But I realized that it was much bigger deal than I could have imagined, so I figured I would break this topic up into parts.
Part I. Do Black Folks Wear Sunscreen?
The last time I watched Oprah, I remember her mentioning that she wears sunscreen. I use to always wonder if black folks wore sunscreen. It was always a source of embarrassment for me. Hey, you're dark, why are you wearing it? Also, I knew some black people who didn't want to be out in the sun for fear of getting darker. Y'know, try to stay as "light" as you can. The times I would wear sunscreen, I preferred not having my friends know b/c once they did, they snickered at me.
But, hey, I didn't want to get skin cancer! Even black folks gotta be careful!
And yet...I came across an article commenting that are thousands of Africans living in the hottest, sunniest places for years upon years, and yet they are not falling left and right from sun exposure. What gives?
Well, there are three things to know:
1. Sunlight is a natural nutrient that allows us to produce vitamin D in our bodies.
2. Sunscreen is truly effective. The weakest sunblock of SPF 8-15 can block out UV rays by 95%!
3. People with dark pigmentation have a natural barrier, called melanin, against the sun. Depending on the skin tone, according to Dr. Micheal Holick, we basically have a natural SPF of 15-30%
The problem here is that many people, especially those with darker skin tones are deficient in vitamin D. And in my readings, I've learned that vitamin D does more than help our bodies absorb calcium. MUCH MORE!
Much of the info given over comes from Dr. Micheal Holick, a heavy weight in vitamin D studies. He is Professor of Medicine, Phsiology, and Biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine. And he (among others) is correcting a lot of misconceptions about sunlight, which some people aren't too happy about. And you will soon see why...