Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vitamin D and the Sun

I am a child of the summer.  I was born on August 31...right at the end of summer, and usually during the hottest part of the season.  If I could live my life in a bathing suit and flip flops, I would.  Yeah, I know, I should be worried about skin cancer.  But I remember being a kid and having the outline of my swimsuit suntanned into my skin well into winter time.  I miss those days.

Now that I've had gastric bypass, one of the vitamins I seem to be deficient in is Vitamin D.  That comes from the sun, right?!  I definitely struggle in the winter without my sun.  I also struggle now that I'm an adult that has to go to a job all day, every day and I get much less time to lay around by the water, relaxing and soaking up the rays. 

I have often justified going to tanning booths to help with my psoriasis.  Studies show that some of the beds aren't the same as the sun when it comes to helping kill psoriasis (the funny thing is, the doctor's offices DO offer a certain type of tanning bed but it is generally NOT the same one in your run of the mill tanning salon), but the real reason I was going was for the brown skin.  Yeah, I'm sure, I'm dealing with wrinkles and all that, but I do love being tan. 

A couple of years ago, I decided that since I was in my mid-30's, I should be taking better care of my skin.  No more tanning.  I now look like a vampire.  In fact, when we go to Disneyland and the rides take photos of us, you usually can't see my nose or mouth because I am SO white.  There has to be some middle ground.

I wrote about Vitamin D recently and wondered how much sun you "need" to get enough Vitamin D the natural way.  And so, as per my usual protocol, I Googled it.  I love Google...that bitch knows EVERYTHING. 


Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays in sunlight. You probably need from 5 to 30 minutes of exposure to the skin on your face, arms, back or legs (without sunscreen) two times every week.


Dr. Holick advises estimating the time it would take your skin to turn pink in the sun. Then divide that time by 25 to 50 percent, depending on your skin type. So, someone like you who has fair skin, burns easily and lives in Pennsylvania would be advised to spend 20-30 minutes in the sun with your arms and legs exposed (not your face) between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. two to three times a week from March through May and September through October but only 15-20 minutes in July and August when the sun in strongest. If you remain outdoors longer than the specified time, apply sunscreen. (Don't even try to get sun time from November through February; in your area, you won't get enough UV to help, and you'll probably get pretty cold outside with bare arms and legs.)


Given that there is a matrix of variables that need to be considered, it is impossible to prescribe a one-size-fits-all guideline that would balance the sun exposure needs versus risks for all people. However, because there are diseases related to both insufficient and excessive exposure, it is important for each of us to get a sense of how much sun our skin needs to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D without increasing the risk for skin cancer.

So, it appears that I can get my Vitamin D from the sun but I will probably have to continue my Vitamin D3/dry supplements, as I am probably not going to be able to increase my time in the sun any time soon.  I have started back to the tanning beds, but only once a week.  I don't do that for the vitamins or my psoriasis.  I just do that because it makes me happy.  And sometimes you have to do that for yourself. 

Tan and in Mexico in 2007

Pale in 2012


  1. " I love Google...that bitch knows EVERYTHING. " Haha you are awesome! I never tan! I'm permanently white. I just burn and freckle.

    1. I was trying to help my friend's 13 year old daughter do homework a few years ago...I had to tell her to Google everything!!!!

      I do tan...but I have to build up. I have been too white for a couple of years and I burned myself at the tanning booth last weekend.

  2. Oh Sister, how you have spoken THE words. I have a home in Las Vegas still, even though I'm living in Hawaii now. (See how much I like the sun?!?) And how I absolutely kick myself for not bringing my tanning bed over with me. Why do I tan? Because I like my skin nut brown. Not like "tanning mom" lady, but a nice "I've been lounging poolside" color of brown. Yes, yes, I too know of all the dangers of UVA & UVB rays. Not going to change my outlook. So THANK YOU from one sun-worshipper to another! With Aloha- Trix

    1. I think you have the right idea!!! I need to move to the beach!!!!

    2. Oh yeah, and I don't need to have leather skin...but I don't need to be a vampire either! My stepmom's friend was THAT brown!! lol!! Her skin was so nasty. There's definitely a fine line. :-)

  3. I know this post has been around a while but thought you might be interested to know, I've been on prescribed Vitamin D supplements for over 18 months now as a blood test showed I had NO vitamin D in my system at all (I don't do sun - I don't have anything against it, I just don't do it!). I was also advised to eat lots of oily fish, salmon and the like as they will up my vitamin D levels - Unfortunately, I don't like fish so that is proving very challenging but I thought you might want to know an additional source of the dreaded "D"!

    1. YUCK! I hate fish too!! Luckily, my Vitamin D has come up with the supplements but I would rather get it from the sun! :)