The goal of the booth was to talk about safe sun exposure and Vitamin D.  When humans are exposed to UV B rays from the sun, our skin synthesizes Vitamin D. In the Pacific Northwest, many people are deficient in Vitamin D, because we do not get any from the sun in the winter.  The sun is the best source of Vitamin D, but we want to be sure we don't damage our skin and our health by being exposed to too much sun. Read the Summary of the event

Related EHSC Research

  • Dr. Arup Indra and his research team focus on understanding skin, skin cells as we age, and skin cancer.  Learn more from the EHSC feature story.
  • Dr. Christiane Löhr focuses her research on the prevention of UV radiation caused cancer through the use of phytonutrients. Her research reinforces the importance of good nutrition for protection from UV radiation and cancer prevention.

Keeps Hats on Kids in the Sun!Sun Safe Photo Contest

  1. Upload photos to
  2. Tag your photo “davincisunsafe"
  3. Photos will be shared on the EHSC website
  4. Winners will be shared via Twitter and Facebook

Fun Facts:

  • If your shadow is taller than you, you can’t make Vitamin D; when your shadow is taller than you, the angle of the sun is such that UV B rays are blocked. UV B rays are what we need to synthesize Vitamin D.
  • In the Pacific Northwest, we have a “Vitamin D deficient winter” which means that we cannot synthesize Vitamin D during the winter due to the position of the sun.
  • On average, it takes 10-15 minutes to synthesize a day's worth of Vitamin D.
  • Dark‐skinned individuals often require up to 30 minutes or more of sun exposure to synthesize enough Vitamin D.
  • The EPA and Coppertone have some free apps that let you measure the UV index on a daily basis. These apps help you determine how long to stay in the sun, and when to reapply sunscreen.
  • The sun is strongest between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  • You can still get sunburned on cloudy days – cloud cover only reduces sun exposure by 50%.
  • Dogs are also susceptible to sunburn, especially on their nose and belly. Use canine sunscreen, or regular sunscreen without zinc oxide.
  • Fatty fish such as salmon and swordfish are excellent sources of Vitamin D.

Common Questions

  • How much Vitamin D do I need?
    The current recommended daily amount is 600 IU (International Units), but LPI recommends closer to 1000 IU
  • Can I overdose on Vitamin D?
    Vitamin D is fat‐soluble so it can stay in your body for a while. At doses above 40,000 IU there can be toxic side-effects
  • Is sunscreen from last year still good? When does sunscreen expire?
    Sunscreens are designed to remain at original strength for up to three years. This means that you can use leftover sunscreen from one year to the next. Read more

More Information

Vitamin D Facts from the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health

Vitamin D information from the Micronutrient Information Center at the Linus Pauling Institute (also available in Spanish).

How do I check my skin? (includes a Body Mole Map) from the American Academy of Dermatology

Skin Cancer and Skin Color information from the Skin Cancer Foundation

Journal articles: