How to Soak Up Sunshine Without the Burn

How to Soak Up Sunshine Without the Burn

Learn how to make the most of the spring sunshine without any of the bad effects.


The sun may feel wonderful, but it can harm your skin if you’re not careful.

The burn, the pain, the peeling — and the skin damage — is a common scenario of overexposure to the sun. But while you’ll want to spend the most time outdoors as possible once the weather gets fairer, you’ll have to make sure you’re well protected.

That being said, small doses of sunlight provides a valuable dose of Vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphate to keep bones and teeth strong and for cell growth.

Sunlight also helps boost our mood by increasing serotonin and enhancing the body’s supply of endorphins and another feel-good hormone: melatonin — which aids in getting a good night’s sleep.

Sunshine is also credited for strengthening our immune system, improving metabolism, increasing circulation, reducing the risk of certain cancers and diseases (like multiple sclerosis) lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and developing overall good health. It’s a pretty amazing thing.

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How Much do You Need?
To ensure we obtain all the sun's benefits, soak up rays for 15 to 30 minutes without protection before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to get Vitamin D. Fair-skinned people need about 20 minutes in the sun during those times for an adequate dose. Darker complexions can stay out longer, since they have natural protection and don’t burn as quickly.

During midday, when the rays are strongest, it’s important to wear sunscreen and reapply it every couple hours to prevent burning. Otherwise, steer clear, stay in the shade or remain fully clothed with a hat and sunglasses to avoid wrinkles and other conditions brought on by UV radiation.

How to Protect Yourself
Read labels to select a sunblock or sunscreen offering both UV-A and UV-B protection and containing zinc oxide with titanium dioxide. Mineral blockers are preferable to chemical absorbers. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you'll be wet or sweating. Avoid using it on children under six months old.

Also, a diet of foods rich in Vitamin D — such as salmon, mushrooms and eggs — is beneficial, and antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables can help keep your skin safe while you have fun in the sunshine.

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