In 2016, it was reported that the UAE had one of the world’s highest rates of vitamin D deficiencies with as many as 86% of people suffering to varying degrees from a lack of vitamin D. *
Although vitamin D supplements can be helpful, leading UAE doctors agree there really is no substitute for rejuvenating our bodies with the vitamin D provided the sun’s rays – provided we bask in the sunshine responsibly.
The Time of Day
Overexposure to sunlight does not increase vitamin D levels. However, prolonged and consistent time in the sun will cause an elevated risk of skin cancer, heat stroke, and cause dehydration.
For your body to produce an appropriate amount of vitamin D to counteract depleted levels, the best time of day to step outside is in the midday sun. Vitamin D production is stimulated by short wave ultraviolet (UVB) rays and they are at their strongest at midday.
According to leading dermatologists, exposing your hands and arms to sunlight for a few minutes three times a week at the height of the midday sun is enough to absorb enough vitamin D to increase overall health and well-being.
Those with darker skin pigmentation may need a longer exposure to the sun than those with fairer complexions. Melanin in the skin reduces the body’s ability to generate vitamin D from sunlight, therefore for the body to absorb the necessary amount, those with darker skin pigmentations need to spend longer in the sun.
Conversely, if you have a lighter skin pigmentation it’s important to exercise caution when sunbathing in warmer temperature. The reduced count of melanin results in an increased number of colorful properties in the skin, meaning that UVB rays can be absorbed easier, increasing the chance of the skin becoming damaged when spending prolonged time in extreme temperatures.
It’s also important to consider the seasonal variations in temperature and time of day to absorb a healthy amount of vitamin D from the sun.
In the winter, the optimal time for your body to absorb sunlight is in the hours between 10am and 2pm. It’s important to adjust an exposure length of time according to the temperature outside. Even in the slightly cooler winter months, where the average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, basking in an uncomfortable heat for hours at a time is discouraged.
At the height of the summer season, it’s important to avoid continual exposure to the sun. Not only does this increase the risk of getting heatstroke, but it can also increase your chances of being diagnosed with skin cancer.
Avoid peak heat in the summer by stepping out into the sunlight between the hours of 9am to 10:30am and 2pm to 3pm. Not only is the temperature more comfortable but any UVB rays can be easily absorbed into the skin.
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