Written by Jamie Oskin, N.D.
We find there is a lot of confusion out there about safe sun exposure leading some people to over protect themselves against safe sun exposure.
It’s very important to get some safe sun exposure so that your body can generate a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is critically important for your immune system and longevity.
When I run lab tests in my practice, I still find that many people, even in sunny states like Arizona, are Vitamin D deficient.
This indicates that they are not getting enough safe sun exposure.
To remedy low Vitamin D levels, here are some tips for safe sun exposure to generate enough Vitamin D:
- If you are fair skinned, make a goal to get 15 minutes of sun exposure before applying sunscreen so that your body can start to generate Vitamin D.Note that if you have a dark complexion, you will need to stay in the sun longer (30 to 60 minutes) before your body will produce the same amount of Vitamin D as someone with a fair complexion.
- Do not stay in the direct sunlight without protection to the point of sunburn.If you get three bad sunburns in your lifetime, it significantly increases your risk of skin cancer.
Protect yourself from excessive sun exposure by wearing protective clothing, staying in the shade, and planning your time spent outside to be early in the morning or later in the day.
This will help you avoid the times of day when the sun is strongest.
- Use safe, natural, non-toxic sunscreens.Visit the EWG (Environmental Working Group) annual safe sunscreen guide to see the latest list of safe, non-toxic sunscreens.
Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide have gotten the best ratings by EWG.
I also recommend checking to see if you’re getting enough sun exposure by asking your doctor to run lab levels of Vitamin D.
If your Vitamin D is low, focus on the Goldilocks rule of thumb for safe sun exposure: not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of sun!