How to Safely Get Vitamin D From the Sun

By Cora Gold
April 29, 2021
Advices Lists Travel Tips

It’s true that these days, many of us spend way too much time inside. As a result, we most likely aren’t getting enough vitamin D, which supports bone and teeth health and immune system efficiency, among several other bodily functions. But when we do go for a walk, it’s just as critical to practice sun safety. After all, the number of cases of melanoma in the United States has steadily increased over the past two decades. Thankfully, it’s not impossible to have the best of both worlds.


Above all else, you need to protect your skin. The sun’s UV rays can cause significant damage throughout the entire year, even in the winter. It doesn’t take much to obtain the right amount of vitamin D – less than half an hour a day in the warmer months will do. But before you leave the house, apply a sunscreen with 30 SPF to your face and other exposed areas. Repeat every couple of hours and immediately after you work out or swim. Sunscreen doesn’t impact your ability to receive and retain vitamin D, so be diligent. There are multiple ways to get this vitamin, but only a few proven methods to protect yourself from skin cancer.


A sunroom, enclosed patio or screened-in porch are excellent ways to maintain vitamin D levels while remaining somewhat indoors. Because these rooms have multiple windows and openings, they provide a chance to increase sunlight exposure in the comfort of your home. This exposure is especially beneficial in the winter. Remember that harmful sun rays can still penetrate glass, so after a few minutes of direct sun in this room, cover up and apply some sunscreen. You can also easily move to a different area once you’ve received enough sun for the day.


Ultimately, during the summer, you need to spend about 15 minutes a day in the sun uncovered, ideally in the mid-afternoon. For that amount of time, head outside in a T-shirt and shorts, with sunscreen only on your face, to maintain a healthy amount of vitamin D. Afterwards, apply sunscreen to your arms and legs every few hours to stay safe. Try not to spend the entire day in the sun. Seek shade or head indoors to give your body a break every once in a while. If you can’t do that, bring along a hat, long-sleeved shirt and a bottle of sunscreen to protect yourself. 


Everyone is different, which means the ways we get vitamin D are, too. People with darker skin tones need to gain more sun exposure than others, as melanin reduces the body’s ability to create vitamin D. Older adults are in a similar boat. If you have specific health conditions, you might have a hard time absorbing nutrient. All in all, the sun might not be enough for you. Consider incorporating fish into your diet or taking a supplement. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.


It’s essential to keep your skin safe. Remember to cover up and use sunscreen whenever you head outdoors. You only need to spend a few minutes in direct sunlight every day to maintain healthy nutrient levels. Put these recommendations into practice, and you’ll reap the benefits of vitamin D. 

About the Author: Cora's passion is to inspire others to live a happy, healthful, and mindful life through her words on Revivalist – wholeheartedly convincing them that everyday moments are worth celebrating. Cora has spent 5+ years writing for numerous lifestyle sites - hence her sincere love for both life and the beauty of style in all things. Keep up with Cora on TwitterPinterest and Facebook.