Getting out and enjoying the sunshine is vital to the mental and physical well-being for many people. However, you can experience too much of a good thing and risk sunburn and ultraviolet (UV) exposure.
These apps can help you get enough sunshine to meet vitamin D goals without too much exposure to UV rays.
How Much Sun Do You Need?
Sun exposure can help your body create vitamin D and even ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to Harvard Health Publishing. However, too much UV exposure can damage your skin, eyes, and even immune system, as noted in Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Striking the right balance between too much and too little sun exposure depends on a whole host of factors, including your age, location, and skin type. Contact your healthcare provider for more individualized recommendations about your time in the sun.
Meanwhile, these apps can help monitor how much time you’re spending in the sun.
1. QSun—Vitamin D & UV Tracker
Find your current UV (ultraviolet) index, get info on sunset and sunrise times, and receive personalized recommendations for sun safety with the QSun app.
To get started, enter your location to receive information about the times of day when you’d be most likely to burn. The Sun Exposure Tracker will tell you the current UV index, as well as how long you can stay out in the sun in current conditions until you start burning. There’s even a sunscreen indicator.
Create an account to get more personalized features based on factors like your skin tone.
In addition, a seven-day UV forecast helps you plan sun protection for the week ahead. If you enjoy getting live weather updates on your phone and staying on top of current conditions, then this app should appeal to you as well.
Getting the premium version of the app will also give you access to a professional vitamin D tracker, a face analyzer, and a mole tracker. This is a good option for people who want even more information to guard against sun damage.
2. SunDay: Vitamin D & UV Tracker
Get a timer that warns you of sunburn risks and estimates the vitamin D you receive with this feature-filled app.
First, create a profile that includes information about your age and skin type. Next, select the type of outfit you’re wearing for the day—because the calculations will change depending on how much skin gets covered by clothes. Lastly, take a photo of the sun to give the app’s solar UV scanner more information about your conditions.
Once all the data is in, the app displays a recommended amount of time to spend in the sun for vitamin D creation. The next section lists the amount of time you can stay in the sun before dealing with burns. Lastly, the app displays the estimated value of vitamin D produced—plus the day’s UV index.
Anyone who wants to closely monitor their vitamin D production from the sun while also avoiding overexposure to potentially harmful rays will appreciate this free app.
Download: SunDay: Vitamin D & UV Tracker for iOS (Free)
3. REAPPLY: Sunscreen Timekeeper
If you’re serious about wearing enough sunscreen each day, then consider REAPPLY: Sunscreen Timekeeper. This app sends notifications to apply sunscreen each morning, as well as alerts to reapply throughout the day.
Allow the app to access your location to get an immediate read of your area’s UV levels. If the numbers are very high, then it will advise you to seek shade. Hit the apply button whenever you put on sunscreen, and the app will tell you when to reapply. It’s especially helpful info to have on hand if you’re playing or working at the beach, for instance.
There’s also a selection of articles detailing common questions about staying safe in the sun, so you’ll know more about what the UV index means.
Lastly, browse a selection of recommended sunscreens to make sure you’re always covered.
Download: REAPPLY: Sunscreen Timekeeper for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. Sola: Sun UV & Vitamin D Timer
Check current UV exposure on your phone, iPad, or even your Apple Watch. The app also includes a timer to use while sunbathing to help prevent burns.
Start by taking a quiz to determine your skin type and access Sola’s detailed chart. Enter data about your present tan level, sunscreen usage and SPF, and how frequently you want to flip while sunbathing. The app creates a timer based on your selections to alert you when it’s time to stop sunbathing.
You will need a subscription to access any of the app’s content.
Download: Sola: Sun UV & Vitamin D Timer for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
A colorful wheel helps illustrate the current ultraviolet index (UVI) levels in your area.
First, the UVI screen provides crucial info about your potential exposure to harmful rays. Tap and hold the wheel’s center to see what time of day your area’s peak UV occurs. In many cases, this is a great time to stay in the shade and protect your skin from potential damage.
Toggle between the weather off and weather on icons to see how cloud coverage affects your area’s UV exposure.
Next, the My Skin tab prompts you to take a quick quiz about your skin type. Once completed, you can learn more about your skin’s needs regarding sun protection. This section tells you how long you can stay in the sun before risking a sunburn, and it offers advice on the type of sun protection you should use that day.
Subscribing to the pro version gives you access to sun exposure and vitamin D tracking features.
In addition, a Forecast screen predicts the UV trends for your area that day, while the Places tab lets you search out UV information for other parts of the world (with a premium subscription).
Download: UV Index Widget for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Spend Your Time in the Sun Wisely With These Solar Apps
Thanks to the collection of apps designed to help monitor your time in the sun, it’s easier than ever to catch some rays without facing a bad sunburn. Whether you want to track your vitamin D production, remember to reapply sunscreen, or get a reminder when it’s time to seek out shade, these apps focused on sun safety make the most of your sunshine time.