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Most people know that vitamin D is extremely important for our immune system, to have a better mood, and overall health. But how are we supposed to get enough if we are told to stay out of the sun? And isn’t sunlight exposure in our eyes really important too?

The answer is yes, in order to get adequate Vitamin D, and have proper circadian rhythms, we need sunlight exposure daily to our skin and eyes.

So the recommendation to get sun exposure, but also not get sun burnt, is to put sunscreen on, right? Not our recommendation! Did you know that most sunscreens actually contribute to cancer and overall health issues? And not only that, there are things we can do from a diet and lifestyle standpoint to get burnt less?

Here are our top tips to help your skin stay safe, but also enjoy the health benefits of the sun…

  1. Build a base. This means make time in your day to expose your skin to the sun, so you can eventually handle at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight without getting burnt. Start with 3-5 minutes of exposure, and over the course of a few weeks or months (if done at least 3-4x/week), most people can get up to that 20 minute mark without burning or damage to the skin. 
  2. Alternative protections. After the 20-30 minute mark (or whenever your skin may start to burn), instead of sunscreen, can you move more (think rotisserie chicken) to get your skin out of consistent sunlight, get into shade, or wear a hat, addition clothing? This is by far the easiest if you plan ahead or can keep yourself moving.
  3. Safer Sunscreen. We definitely don’t want to burn, so if you do need sunscreen – like you’re out for hours on end, or on the water or ski hill (hello reflection), then put the sunglasses on, and find a safer sunscreen. We like Pipette, Beauty Counter, Supergoop, and Tubby Todd brands. You can always check EWG Healthy living app for other options. We recommend staying under a “3” on their rating.
  4. Minimize oxidized oils such as canola, soybean, sunflower, corn, peanut, safflower, grapeseed, wheatgerm, rice, and all other seed or vegetable oils. These oils will increase the likelihood of you getting burnt more rapidly. Read more on this HERE.
  5. Eat more nutrient-dense foods in general to fill your “nutrient cup” to help you body build healthy skin and appropriate defense mechanisms. These foods and nutrients specifically can help!

I naturally have extremely fair skin, and used to get burnt really fast, get scabs or blisters often, hives, and “sun poisoning” flu-like symptoms. That was when I was in the prime of all my gut and health issues. I had no idea my diet had anything to do with it. I thought that was just what I got dealt in life. 

Nope! You can do a LOT to improve your health, turn off “bad genes”, and live happier.

I now take opportunities to “prime” my skin to get a natural tan when playing with my toddler outside, mowing the lawn or gardening, sitting outside for a meal, or doing a short workout outside. I try to take my shirt off and wear shorts, but even just one of those is helpful! And practicing all these tips listed above, I’ve managed to avoid all sunburns and have NONE of the symptoms I used to have. 

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