No tan lines this summer! Help me populate the Vitamin D positive, human ape supportive hashtag #NakedSunTime!

Let's go this whole summer without letting our clothes keep us from the sun we need for total health development!

Be bold, get gold, who cares what you've been told!

So why should you get naked in the sun this summer?

Getting outside in the noonday sun is a vital part of your self care toolkit — just as important as eating healthy foods, drinking quality water, breathing fresh air and moving your body. I like to call it the Sunlight Nutrient!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin at all, rather it is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 (Wiki). Few foods contain vitamin D, but luckily, the most efficient (and enjoyable) way to elevate your vitamin D levels is through dermal synthesis after sun exposure. 

Vitamin D deficiency runs rampant in our society, mostly due to the endless stream of media attention on skin cancer and (toxic) sunscreen. According to Dr. Michael F. Holick — Vitamin D expert and author of The Vitamin D Solution — "What’s really remarkable is that vitamin D deficiency is epidemic throughout the entire United States, through all age groups. And I’ll give you some examples. It’s well known that elders throughout the United States are at high risk. And upwards of 40-60% are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. But we also now realize that even younger adults that are otherwise active and who may be always wearing sunscreen before they go outdoors, or they never see the light of day because they’re working all the time. When we did a study in Boston, we found that students and doctors 18-29 years of age, at the end of the winter, 32% were vitamin D deficient."

Maintaining proper levels of vitamin D has been found to be quite beneficial to the human ape. Dr. Holick states that "this vitamin is critically important for maintaining normal calcium in the blood and for bone health. The vitamin plays a crucial role in most metabolic functions and also, muscle, cardiac and neurological functions. ...There is evidence that vitamin D may have subtle but profound effects on regulating cell growth and on our cardiovascular and immune systems. There is a strong association of sunlight exposure and increased blood levels of vitamin D with a decreased risk of many common cancers: colon, breast, prostate, ovarian.

We have vitamin D receptors all over our body. Men — sun on your back and testicles causes you to produce a lot of testosterone. Sunlight on your testicles increases your sexual vigor!

Your healthy suntan will do more than help you maintain your vitamin D levels for the summer. If you get enough of the proper sun exposure, you will be building up your store of vitamin D for the winter months as well!

Tips for Healthy Sun Exposure

Skip toxic synthetic sunscreens. Instead opt for a botanical oil-based product that harmonizes your skin with the sun. My go-to is Everybody Loves the Sunshine from Living Libations.

Build up your internal sunscreen. Increasing your consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and plants can actually help your body to build its own internal sun barrier. Plant botanical expert Nadine Artemis says that "researchers in the UK have demonstrated a 30% increase in sun protection after eating a tomato-rich diet. 16mg of lycopene, the red antioxidant found in tomatoes, seems to be the key. Other SPF foods include: watermelon, green tea, turmeric, red, green, and yellow peppers, watermelon, and berries."

Don’t shower immediately after sun exposure. Vitamin D is fat soluble, and using soap will actually strip the oils containing vitamin D off of our skin. It can take up to 48 hours for your body to absorb vitamin D into your bloodstream.

Get sunlight first thing in the morning to support your circadian rhythm for better sleep that night. See my interview with Shawn Stevenson on The Practice of Sleep vs Just Passing Out for more on this!

The goal of healthy sun exposure is a suntan, NOT a sunburn. To avoid sunburn, begin building your tan in the spring. Sit in the sun (no tan lines, of course!) for just a few minutes each day, gradually increasing time spent in the sun as your skin begins to tan. Be cognizant of your sun exposure, and get out of the sun if you feel your skin beginning to burn (this is especially important for fair-skinned individuals!).

If you do get a burn? My favorite sunburn remedy is fresh aloe, straight from the plant (it makes an excellent houseplant!). If you don’t have access to fresh aloe, you can usually pick up a natural aloe gel from your local natural foods store. 

What are you waiting for? Join in on the fun this summer!

Post a photo of your no tan line tan to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #NakedSunTime


Happy Sunbathing!