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Could Some Sun Be Good for Your Skin?

Early Research Suggests That Sunlight in Small Doses May Protect Skin From Damage

How Much Is Enough?

The answer to the question, ‘How much vitamin D do I need?’ depends on who you are and who you ask. Age, skin type, where you live, and the season of the year all affect vitamin D levels. Federal guidelines say adults should get between 200 and 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day, with recommended levels increasing with age.

Vitamin D researcher Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, believes the optimal daily dosage for preventing disease is closer to 1,000 IU. Holick heads the Vitamin D Research Lab at Boston University and is the author of the book The UV Advantage.

Holick tells WebMD that he takes a 1,000-IU vitamin D supplement each day.

“It is not easy to get the vitamin D you need from foods unless you make a special effort,” he says. “A glass of milk or vitamin D-fortified orange juice has only about 100 IU of vitamin D, and a serving of salmon has only about 500 IU.”

Holick says most people can get more than enough vitamin D in the spring, summer, and fall by engaging in what he calls “sensible sun exposure” -- no more than five to 10 minutes of direct sun to unprotected legs and arms two or three times a week.

“We are not talking about burning in the sun,” he says. “No one is saying that is good for you.”

Brush up on Beauty

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