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The Right Way to Get Sun

How to get your fix of Vitamin D without the sun’s damaging effects.

The unofficial start to summer, aka Memorial Day, is here. While we have some time before the summer solstice, the sun’s UV rays are already in high gear. I have the farmer’s tan to prove it.

We’ve heard ad nauseum why we need to protect ourselves from the sun (i.e., to prevent skin cancer, wrinkles and dark spot free skin). But we also need its Vitamin D, and a large sum of Americans are already deficient in this key nutrient. How are we supposed to soak up the sun’s benefits while hoarding off its dangers? Try these tips:

Images courtesy. Lack of Color hat ($129), Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer ($45), Dr. Barbara Sturm ($145), Sunday Supply Co. Golden Sands Beach Umbrella ($249).

Images courtesy. Lack of Color hat ($129), Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer ($45), Dr. Barbara Sturm ($145), Sunday Supply Co. Golden Sands Beach Umbrella ($249).

Sun in Increments

How long you should stay in the sun will vary depending on season, location and skin color. The fairer your skin, the quicker you will soak up Vitamin D, but also the more careful you have to be not to burn. To be on the safe side, try 10 minutes with some sun, followed by 10 minutes of shade. Take note of the UV index on a given day and how your skin reacted to get a better understanding of your personal threshold.

Bring the Shade

Throw on a teeny bikini but cover up your face, which has some of your most delicate skin. A chic wide brim hat with sunnies will do the trick. Another tip is to leave a baseball hat in your car so you’re less likely to be stuck without shade when you're on the go. Headed to the beach? An umbrella is a necessity, not an option!

Sunscreen (Of  Course)

The key is to find a sunscreen you love and look forward to putting on. Otherwise, it quickly gets pushed to the back of your cabinet to collect dust. If you know you’ll be spending a day in and out of the sun, make sure to bring your sunscreen with you and reapply as needed. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops are a favorite (though not a favorite of my wallet). We also love Beautycounter for an everyday tinted moisturizer with SPF.

Where the Sun Don’t Shine (Literally)

Circumstance does not always allow for our proper intake of Vitamin D, particularly for those of us not living in, say, San Diego. Try some seafood high in Vitamin D into your diet like tuna, salmon, oysters or shrimp.