2

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Redheaded toddler and vitamin D

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

I'm wondering if anyone else has a redheaded toddler that they've had to be concerned about sun exposure. My daughter has strawberry blonde hair and has the pale reddish skin that goes along with it. Last summer I basically didn't let her out of the house without being covered head-to-toe in sunscreen and/or clothing and hats so that not a speck of skin was exposed to those "bad bad" UV rays (this was before we discovered paleo). Now I know how important it is for her to get vitamin D. I really don't agree with supplementing because I believe your body will regulate it best. I live in Ottawa, Canada (about the 45th parallel) and we've had a bit of warm weather recently and we were at the park yesterday for a couple of hours and she got burnt! I was so shocked because it's so early in the season, I wasn't even sure there was enough UV to even produce vitamin D right now! Anyway, I'm wondering how to balance exposure for vitamin D vs covering up to not let her get burnt.

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:55 AM

Dragonfly, I didn't know that vitamin D supplementation could help with sun tolerance - interesting! My daughter doesn't show any signs of colour until 2-3 hours after sun exposure, so it's way too late then. She's so different from me. I would be able to build up a tan slowly and by the end of the summer wear no sunscreen at all and be outdoors all day. I don't think she'll ever be able to do that. Maybe I should set a timer and after it goes off, it's time to put on the sunscreen.

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:51 AM

Dave, do you mean that the omega 3:6 ratio has an effect on sun tolerance?

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:48 AM

I'm so sorry about your dad's melanoma. Melanoma runs in my family as well, so it is a huge concern. It's difficult to balance trying to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure while avoiding any risk of cancer. I totally understand why your father would be supplementing to minimize the risk - why take the chance of making things worse!

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:45 AM

Thanks for the tip! Another reason to eat salmon!

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:43 AM

That's sort of what I'm aiming for too. A balance between getting vitamin D naturally and avoiding the risk of skin cancer. It's a hard balance with fair skinned children! I also use a natural zinc oxide based sunscreen. I'm suspicious that the traditional, chemical laden sunscreens could cause cancer! And your rubbing it into so much of your body. Thanks for your answer :)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 13, 2012
at 05:03 PM

Also n3/n6 ratio seems to have an effect on being able to tolerate more sun. But I wholeheartedly agree - start slowly and ramp up slowly. 15-20 minutes is usually enough exposure once you work up to that - no reason to be out for hours unprotected!

29518a2572c5fe3a851170a9b1c315f3

on March 13, 2012
at 04:56 PM

Red head here. Totally agree with youre theory that red heads not tolerate gluten well. I definitly don`t tolerate gluten well. I`ve been wondering about if I might have celiaki. Also I very often see redheads have acne, maybe a link there..

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6 Answers

5
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 13, 2012
at 03:18 PM

My husband is very fair & we now live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so we have to be very aware.

My rule of thumb is 10 min exposure initially, gradually increasing it as the days get longer. When we are hiking, If he has even a hint of pink on his shoulders, his shirt goes back on. We used this rule when we lived in the Pac NW as well.

His sun tolerance has definitely increased since supplementing with D3 2 years ago--so something to consider!

The Vitamin D Council has some great info: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:51 AM

Dave, do you mean that the omega 3:6 ratio has an effect on sun tolerance?

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:55 AM

Dragonfly, I didn't know that vitamin D supplementation could help with sun tolerance - interesting! My daughter doesn't show any signs of colour until 2-3 hours after sun exposure, so it's way too late then. She's so different from me. I would be able to build up a tan slowly and by the end of the summer wear no sunscreen at all and be outdoors all day. I don't think she'll ever be able to do that. Maybe I should set a timer and after it goes off, it's time to put on the sunscreen.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 13, 2012
at 05:03 PM

Also n3/n6 ratio seems to have an effect on being able to tolerate more sun. But I wholeheartedly agree - start slowly and ramp up slowly. 15-20 minutes is usually enough exposure once you work up to that - no reason to be out for hours unprotected!

4
0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on March 13, 2012
at 03:41 PM

Somewhat related to your query, (I also have a red-headed child) I think red-hair = people who do NOT tolerate gluten very well. And gluten may greatly interfere with their vitamin d status. Red hair generally means one is of Celtic descent, and such folks lived on oats rather than gluten grains, and are therefore particularly susceptible to gluten issues. Or at least that's my understanding.

29518a2572c5fe3a851170a9b1c315f3

on March 13, 2012
at 04:56 PM

Red head here. Totally agree with youre theory that red heads not tolerate gluten well. I definitly don`t tolerate gluten well. I`ve been wondering about if I might have celiaki. Also I very often see redheads have acne, maybe a link there..

3
Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

on March 13, 2012
at 04:30 PM

Red head here, although now through help from Ms. CLairol, I was once Carrot Orange headed (at birth)...and certainly have the freckled and hardly tanned skin to go with it. I would consider a hat at the beach, lake or when outside for extended periods. My son is fair skinned so we usually let him go without sunscreen if he is playing in teh back yard, sort of in and out of the house but if he is to be out for a while we use 30spf and if he is going to be near or on the water and in blazing sun then 55+ and waterproof. Most have chemicals I dont wnat to use but I also dont want him to get skin cancer either...so I am shooting for a balance. Just keep a very light cover up available tucked away in the car for just such times when you dont have sunscreen.

Best of luck, I am going to attempt to use mostly zinc oxide this summer to lessen the chemicals..

* anyone have good sunscreen reccommendations?

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:43 AM

That's sort of what I'm aiming for too. A balance between getting vitamin D naturally and avoiding the risk of skin cancer. It's a hard balance with fair skinned children! I also use a natural zinc oxide based sunscreen. I'm suspicious that the traditional, chemical laden sunscreens could cause cancer! And your rubbing it into so much of your body. Thanks for your answer :)

3
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 13, 2012
at 04:23 PM

Red heads and fair skinned folk will be at an increased risk for skin cancer, so it is a legitimate concern to prevent burning. My dad is a red head, and he has had melanoma on his scalp removed several times and always has to be very careful about always wearing a hat and sunscreen. Because he has already had cancerous growths removed, he exposes himself to the sun as little as possible and gets all of his vitamin D through supplementation. That being said, it doesn't take much exposure to get some vitamin D, but it is a safety that you could still get it through supplementation.

PS I live pretty close to you, Montreal!

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:48 AM

I'm so sorry about your dad's melanoma. Melanoma runs in my family as well, so it is a huge concern. It's difficult to balance trying to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure while avoiding any risk of cancer. I totally understand why your father would be supplementing to minimize the risk - why take the chance of making things worse!

1
99ac392257e444e014be6d4da6a900e4

(1036)

on March 13, 2012
at 06:26 PM

Check into Astaxanthin.

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

(385)

on March 15, 2012
at 12:45 AM

Thanks for the tip! Another reason to eat salmon!

0
Medium avatar

on August 27, 2012
at 05:17 PM

I'm just like your daughter- strawberry blonde with freckles. I used to never tan- ever! I just burned and went right back to white. I would go to the beach as a child and wear sunscreen- religiously applying it every hour, proudly leave the beach as pale as I arrived, only to be bright red and in pain an hour later. It's really frustrating because it's so hard to monitor when you're fair skinned.
I'm now an adventure guide and spend lots of time in the sun. I'm to the point where by the end of the summer I can go several hours without sunscreen and not burn. Here is what I do:

  • supplement with vitamin D- 3,000 IU/day- more if I'm not outdoors or preparing for an outdoor job when I don't have a tan
  • Be extremely careful and methodical about gradual sun exposure. I'll set a timer and lay out for 10 minutes per side then go back indoors. I do this for several days before increasing time. When I'm working (on a boat/outdoors) I'll set my watch to go off after 20 minutes of exposure. I bring along a UPF rated, quick dry long sleeve shirt. I'll wear my bikini top for 20 minutes and then put my shirt on.
  • Familiarize yourself with foods that help your body produce the things it needs to protect itself from the sun- these include vitamin D, coconut oil, tomato paste, a balance of O3 and O6 and others. Here is a link to a great blog post about it: http://wellnessmama.com/4621/eat-your-sunscreen/
  • I don't trust many sunscreen brands. There is new research out there that may end up showing that zinc is actually causing skin cancer. There are some sunscreens that are safer than others, and some that are more effective than others. My favorite is Coppterone Waterbabies Pure & Simple which is good for sensitive skin and it's tear free (which means you can put it on her forehead and it won't sting if it gets in her eyes) You should go to this website:http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/ which rates suncreens based on how safe they are. The one I mentioned above ranks a 2 (1 is great, I think 5 is horrible)

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