Baby, It’s Cold Outside….

sunscreenAlthough the weather is getting (somewhat) cooler, the sun is still shining bright here in Austin. However, even on overcast days, don’t forget about the importance of quality sunscreen during the winter.

Not all sunscreens are created equal:

When we talk about sunscreens, there are 2 main categories to think of – chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens are found in most makeups, moisturizers, and foundations these days. They work by absorbing or scattering the sun’s rays. These take about 20 minutes to absorb into the skin to be effective and can be made of a number of different chemicals. Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, create a physical barrier on your skin to block the sun’s rays and are effective immediately after application. Physical sunscreens are made of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Each one of these ingredients is not completely effective without the other, but together, they give you protection against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun.

What’s the best sunscreen for me?

That’s easy – a physical sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. A GREAT option is SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50. This sunscreen is great for all skin types, is lightweight, water-resistant, and has a universal tint that works with all skin tones. It provides broad-spectrum protection with transparent titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to help protect you from the sun’s rays that can contribute to premature aging of the skin and skin cancer. This retails for just $34 and is available without appointment from the Downtown Doctor clinic in downtown Austin.

Remember sunscreen is just one component to your daily skincare routine. Don’t forget about your daily moisturizer and antioxidant serums as well!

We want you to look and feel your best all winter long – try it out today! Also makes great gifts!

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Are you getting enough vitamin D? The answer is most likely no.  Though studies are still underway to determine optimal blood levels, recommended daily amounts, and the full role it plays in the human body; there is growing data from studies of youth, young adults, and elderly persons that vitamin D is an unrecognized and prevalent health problem. It has been reported that vitamin D deficiency rates are 36% in otherwise healthy young adults and up to 57% in general medicine inpatients in the United States. Rates of inadequate vitamin D are even higher among dark-skinned individuals, those who are overweight or have low HDL (good) cholesterol, and during the winter.

Vitamin D is manufactured by the skin in the presence of sun exposure. Though no one is exactly sure why vitamin D deficiency has become so prevalent, many postulate that it is due to our vigilant use of sunscreen and spending too much time indoors. High rates of obesity likely contribute as well.

Current research indicates that the consequences of vitamin D deficiency go far beyond inadequate bone development and excessive bone loss that can result in fractures. Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, have receptors for vitamin D, indicating that the nutrient is needed for these tissues to function well.

Studies have found associations between low levels of vitamin D and increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes, the common cold and flu, some types of cancers, and low levels of testosterone.

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

General muscle pain and weakness
Muscle cramps
Joint pain
Chronic pain
Weight gain
High blood pressure
Restless sleep
Poor concentration
Bladder problems
Constipation or diarrhea

Since vitamin D is synthesized by the skin via exposure to sunlight, a brief period of sun exposure (approximately 5-30 minutes depending on skin tone between 10am and 3pm) at least twice weekly is helpful in increasing blood levels. Further, oral supplementation is also prudent. Although the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 200-400 international units per day, this doseage may not be effective depending on your individual blood level. At Downtown Doctor, we recommend having your vitamin D level checked to ensure proper supplementation in order to optimize your health and energy levels.