We all know that time in the sunshine helps our bodies make Vitamin D.
We also know that minimal sun exposure in the winter months makes us susceptible to being deficient in this important vitamin and that low vitamin D can contribute to low mood, fatigue, and poor immune function.
BUT….no one talks about soaking up the sun in the summertime in order to get the Vitamin D your body needs, so let’s break it down.
When your skin is exposed to sun rays (specifically UVB), it makes vitamin D on the skin surface. The amount of vitamin D you make depends on the time of day, where you live relative to the equator, how much skin is exposed, and your skin tone.
SUNSCREEN – It is important to keep in mind that UVB blocking sunscreen will prevent you from making vitamin D, so short exposure in low-risk sun times may been needed occasionally. Vitamin D is made BEFORE your skin tans or burns, so be very careful not to overdo it!
WHERE – Here in Canada, you are unlikely to make much if any vitamin D between October and March, which is why most people choose to supplement in the winter.
WHEN – As a general rule of thumb, if your shadow is longer than you are tall, you are not making vitamin D. This is because the angle of the sun doesn’t allow for enough UVB rays to get through. In the summer, 10am – 4pm is the best vitamin D making timeframe.
SKIN-TONE – If you have fair skin, you need less sun exposure to make vitamin D than your tanned or darker-skinned friends. Usually 15 minutes is enough for fair individuals, while it might take 45-90 minutes if you have darker skin.
DON’T WASH IT AWAY – Since it takes at least 24 hours for vitamin D to be absorbed through the skin and into your system, washing with soap can wash away the vitamins. When you shower after good sun-exposure, try to only use soap in the important areas, avoid scrubbing your skin, and keep your rinsing-time short.
You deserve to feel energetic and healthy every day!
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