As a licensed aesthetician and advocate for skin cancer prevention, I have learned there is a fine balance for getting proper amounts of Vitamin D, while protecting oneself from the damaging effects of UVA/UVB rays. There are some key things that I recommend doing to minimize the chance of skin cancer and maximize intake of Vitamin D:

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-Finding shade, putting on a hat and wearing sunglasses mid day - the prime time for over exposure.

-Getting sun in the morning and afternoon - The best way to know how long to stay in the sun during these safer times, is to figure out how much time it takes to get the first sign of a burn (when you start to get pink) and then cut that time in half. For example, if it takes an hour to get pink, then 30 minutes in the sun is safe and will increase your Vitamin D levels. I always refer back to this study showing the sun protection behaviors and Vitamin D levels in the U.S. population. It breaks down the types of protection and the effect of each of the practices, along with a break down by skin type/heritage. See the full study here

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There are some common myths about Vitamin D, so a quick background is important for everyone to fully understand why it's vital daily. Vitamin D is not a regular vitamin, it's a fat soluble steroid hormone that we are designed to obtain through sun exposure, Many people think that diet is sufficient for optimum levels, but we are realizing from new tests and many studies in the past decade how wrong we have been. When Vitamin D levels are low or even average, we are increasing our risk of disease and infections. The only way to know if we are vitamin D deficient is via blood testing, but there are some signs and symptoms that are prevalent in people who are deficient: darker skin, feeling sadness regularly, 50+ years of age, being overweight or having higher muscle mass, achy bones, head sweating and issues with digestion. For more information on vitamin D deficiency and hair loss, click here

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The optimal range appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml. There is so much information out there about how important it is to get our levels up, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 32 percent of children and adults throughout the US are vitamin D deficient and this number is growing! 

I have some amazing tips for keeping your sunscreen regimen healthy:

  • Do not use sunscreen as a tool to prolong your time in the sun.
  • Avoid sunburn.
  • Slather on at least 30 minutes before exposure.
  • Do not use tanning beds. 
  • Examine your skin and check for new moles or growths regularly.
  • Make sure to use enough sunscreen and cover all areas including your scalp and ears! (.1 ounce of sunscreen, about the amount you can hold in your palm, to fully cover all exposed areas of your body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.)
  • Reapply sunscreen after getting in water and every 2 hours for optimum protection.
  • There is no such thing as sweat proof or water proof sunscreen

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Photography: Robert Hamilton // Model: Nicole Cooper // Makeup & Hair: Kelli Thomsen 

Here are my favorite sunscreen brands that I use and recommend to my clients

1. Daylight Tinted Radiance Moisturizer SPF 32 with LSR10® 

2. Epionce Ultrashield SPF 50 (Find at Kelli Thomsen skin care & makeup artistry)

3. Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen (Find at Kelli Thomsen skin care & makeup artistry) 

4. Badger SPF (Find at New Season's & Walgreen's)

5. Coola SPF (Find at Sephora or

6. Goddess Garden Organics (Find at Fred Meyer, Market of Choice and Costco)

6. Acure Organics SPF Spray (Find at New Seasons)

There is also a great App that everyone should have! When in doubt you can refer to the Environmental Working Group Healthy Living App to check all products you want to put on your body:from head to toe: for Apple & Iphone users for Android users

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"Preventing skin cancer isn't about blocking the sun, it's about finding the balance between getting the right amount of sun at the right time of the day for your skin type."

Kelli Thomsen, Portland Oregon Licensed Aesthetician

For a FREE SAMPLE of EVER Radiance Moisturizer SPF 20 with LSR10® OR Epionce Ultrashield SPF 50 - Please schedule a Complimentary Makeup Color Match at

or call Kelli at 503-890-5355 to schedule a time for pickup.

Please share with your friends and followers, too!


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