Maryana is an experienced and approachable down-to-earth consultant who specialises in eczema, allergies, food intolerances, gut healing and real food recipe development. She runs her busy online clinic from her home where she connects with families across the world including as the creator and host of the popular social media communities, The Healing Tribe and Real Food in New Zealand. Maryana draws on her professional skills as well as her personal experience with resolving her daughter's health symptoms to bring you realistic, practical and holistic wellness information with care and heart. She lives with her family and rescue animals in a coastal community in Northland, New Zealand.

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Sunscreen and Vitamin D: A Natural Approach

Updated: Sep 26

Vitamin D

A popular and controversial topic especially in NZ!

(A reminder that I am not a trained medical professional, and this post is not to be taken as health advice or as a definitive guide. I am merely sharing my own thoughts and encourage you all to make an informed decision!)

While my family no longer uses chemical based sunscreens, we still respect the intensity of our sun while recognising the health benefits from moderate exposure from regular small doses. There is no question that we want to prevent the skin from burning and being mindful.

Vitamin D is a hormone produced when our skin is exposed to sunshine - one of many hormones our body needs to stay well. Among its many functions, it works with minerals to support strong and healthy bones as well as immunity. The only way we can generate Vitamin D is through sun exposure, but we can also influence levels through diet and supplements.

  • Aim for daily short bursts of sun exposure during off-peak times: earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. The idea is to slowly and safely build a gentle tan - any kind of pink means too much sun, too quickly.

  • Incorporate a protective mix of bamboo and cotton clothing, hats, sunglasses and chemical free sunscreen as well as sitting in the shade (being mindful it's still possible to burn). We aren't a family that typically spends much time outside in the middle of the day anyway which helps.

  • Incorporating nutrient dense real foods on a regular basis with a focus on increasing dietary fats especially animal fats such as extra virgin cod liver oil, and vastly reducing sugars - this has been a very positive influence for us.

  • Supplementing with Vitamin D outside of the summer months especially if a blood test has shown levels are low.

  • Supplementing with Magnesium is also thought to bring up Vitamin D levels.

Suggestions for supplementing Vitamin D


Some sun creams can trigger reactivity in the skin

Which is the case for many of my eczema prone clients, so you may want to also consider:

  • The homeopathic sun support remedy 'Sol' - your homeopath can help you here.

  • Supplementing with the antioxidant Astaxanthin is thought to help prevent sunburn from the inside out.

Recommended natural sun creams for the family

In addition to completely blocking off sun exposure which may adversely affect Vitamin D production, I question some of the ingredients of standard sunscreens especially when eczema is already involved. Be wary of marketing claims - some brands don't disclose a full list of ingredients due to shortfalls in labeling guidelines and do check with the EWG database regarding any ingredients you're unsure about.

Even with the most prudent management unless you spend every single minute indoors, there will likely be times when sunscreen will be necessary, so here is a selection of brands I'd suggest you look into!

RESOURCES Find out more information on Vit D deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how it relates to your health:

https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/ SPF Factors: http://www.sun-protection-and-products-guide.com/SPF.html

Article: http://www.healthhouse.co.nz/healthhints/health-hint-vitamin-d.pdf

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Maryana Lishman is a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach who supports and empowers families to reach their health goals. All information, opinions, and recipes provided on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition and are not a substitute for advice from your doctor.  All words are her own and should not be taken as prescriptive or medical advice. Please seek professional advice before making changes to your diet or lifestyle. Throughout this site, there are various affiliate links where she may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, should you decide to purchase.

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