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Interviewer: Vitamin D and sun exposure -- kind of a controversial subject. Tell me a little bit about what is the controversy and do I need more sun in my life? Do I need a lamp?

Dr. Daniel Levy: While we know that vitamin D is important, the question is how to make sure we have optimal levels of vitamin D in our body. It's important and useful to get some from the sun but not all of it from the sun. Just like anything else, in moderation.

Paula Begoun: What's often misunderstood about vitamin D, one, is that the sun isn't the only way to get it. The notion that sunscreen blocks vitamin D and that's why we're deficient is just ridiculous because only 10% of the population in the world uses sunscreen on a regular basis. We can't beat sunscreen that's blocking the issue. Mostly it's our indoor lifestyle. However, this research just blew me away, is that if you get a tan, dark skin actually blocks the UVB rays that generate vitamin D. If you thought, sitting out, "Oh, the darker I am the more vitamin D I'm getting." It's actually doing just the opposite.

Oh, ask me about baby sunscreen.

Interviewer: What about baby sunscreen?

Paula Begoun: Some of the worst products for babies have cute little babies on the label. The only sunscreen ingredients that should go on a baby's body should be titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.

Dr. Daniel Levy: I think the studies have shown that even a few minutes in the middle of the day of just sun hitting your forearm, that's enough to stimulate the amount of vitamin D that your body needs for that day.

Interviewer: Do SPFs act together? Let's say I'm putting on an SPF40 as a sunscreen, and then on top of that, my BB cream has SPF40 as well. Does that mean I have SPF80? Does that mean I have more protection? What does it mean?

Dr. Daniel Levy: They're not added. I don't think it's as simple as adding 30 plus 15 gives me 45. Part of it is how often they're being reapplied, how evenly and well they're put on.

Paula Begoun: I would strongly disagree with that. I don't know that you necessarily need more depending on the kind of sunscreen you're using, but there's no question when I'm formulating a sunscreen the way I formulate it to get a higher SPF as I can, more sunscreen ingredients. If you put more sunscreen ingredients on, you're getting more sun protection, and we don't know exactly how much. It isn't a science because we haven't measured it. You put a 30 over a 15 or a 10 or a 20 or whatever you choose to layer, I'd layer sunscreens all the time. You're getting some amount of added protection just by a formulary definition.

Vitamin D Myths: Paula Begoun and Dr. Daniel Levy Bust Common Suncare Misconceptions

“Cosmetics Cop” Paula Begoun and dermatologist Dr. Daniel Levy bust common suncare misconceptions. They discuss the proper dose of vitamin D, the healthiest sunscreen for babies, and the difference between light and dark skin.

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