WINTER SUN! When to protect and cover up, when to expose?

winter sunWe are told by experts on the one hand to use sun cream factor 15+ whenever we are outside to protect our skin, yet on the other hand to get the right amount of Vitamin D, necessary for strong bones we need to expose our skin to sunlight.

So what is the answer?

The ‘SunSmart’ messages are
•    Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
•    Make sure you never burn.
•    Aim to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses.
•    Remember to take extra care with children.
•    Then use factor 15+ sunscreen.

The vitamin D message

Our body creates most of our vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. Short daily periods of sun exposure without sunscreen during the summer months (April to October) A short period in the sun means a matter of minutes – about 10 to 15 minutes for most people – and is less than the time it takes you to start going red or to burn. The larger the area of your skin that is exposed to sunlight, the more chance there is of making enough vitamin D before you start to burn.

In the UK, our skin isn’t able to make vitamin D from winter sunlight (November to March) as the sunlight hasn’t got enough UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation. During the winter, we get vitamin D from our body’s stores and from food sources.

Our advice? Everything in moderation. If you are enjoying Winter Sun this year, whether it’s a crisp walk over Christmas, or on the ski slopes or a tropical beach, use your common sense. Make sure you use the right skin protection and don’t spend too much time in the sun. Moisturise your skin regularly and drink plenty of water.

If you need any help or advice about sun damaged skin, please call into our clinic or call us on 01926 859988.