How Should You Get Your Dose of Vitamin D?

It’s a well-known fact that the sun is bad for your skin. Excessive exposure leads to wrinkles, lines and, in some cases, cancer. But, on the flip side, our bodies need sunlight to function properly, as it helps us produce essential vitamins that we need to thrive. Could the other side of the coin, blocking it out completely, be even more dangerous than the recommended 10 to 15 minutes of daily exposure, especially in relation to vitamin D production—or are all the warnings merely misinformation?

Dermatologists are at the forefront of protecting skin and maintaining its health, which is why we asked them: Is it better to protect your skin and possibly limit vitamin D production, or should you expose your skin to the sun, potentially risking premature aging? 


According to Fullerton, CA, dermatologist Julie A. Hodge, MD, you should be getting vitamin D from foods and supplements. "Most of us don't apply sunscreen correctly, so you are likely to be getting sun-produced vitamin D every time you go outside," (even in the in the winter). And don't forget about vitamins. "Most multivitamins provide vitamin D at the suggested intake,” celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson adds.

If you think tanning outside is the right way to get your dose, think again. Washington, DC, dermatologist Tina S. Alster, MD, says it takes only 10 minutes of sun exposure to produce enough vitamin D for the day. "Unless you live in Siberia, you don't need to purposely lay out in the sun or avoid sunscreen to get your vitamin D—and no doctor should be telling you any differently."

What’s the moral of the story? Eat the right foods and take the proper supplements. Don’t use vitamin D as an excuse for unnecessary sun exposure.