How to be Happier and Lower Your Risk of Disease in 10 Minutes a Day

Smart Sun Exposure

So what do you do if you live in a northern climate and aren’t lucky enough to have beautiful hot sun year round?  As controversial as it might sound, tanning beds can be a good option.  I go tanning twice a week for 10 minutes – partly for my skin health and partly to get vitamin D.  This amount of time doesn’t give me much colour, and I never burn.  There are a few important points to remember if you are considering tanning (especially if you’ve never done it before).

  1. Start slow.  Most tanning places are pretty good about making sure you don’t start off with more time than is healthy for you.  You might start with just 2 or 3 minutes at a time and gradually build up to slightly longer.  
  2. Remember that the goal is not to get a tan, but to improve your health!
  3. If you ever find that your skin is pink or even slightly burned after a tanning session, go for less time the next time.
  4. Be sure to find a tanning salon that uses the right ratio of UVB to UVA rays.  This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind!  A lot of places actually take the UVB out entirely, so you still get a tan from the UVA rays, but you won’t be stimulating vitamin D production or getting any of the skin health benefits from the UVB rays.  This is NOT what you want!  A ratio of approximately 5% UVB is ideal.

And if you do have access to natural sunlight, keep in mind that the best time for vitamin D benefits is mid-day.  Another interesting fact is that elderly and darker skinned people produce less vitamin D from sun exposure so they need more time in the sun.


The key is not to overdue it.  There are of course risks with over-tanning, and especially burning.  But if you tan wisely, the benefits far outweigh the risks, in my opinion.

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