No more mixed messages: How to get vitamin D without the skin cancer risk

We’ve been getting some mixed messages about spending time in the sun, and finally, the government has taken action. Five

We’ve been getting some mixed messages about spending time in the sun, and finally, the government has taken action.

Five national health bodies are aiming to end confusion about whether Australians should spend less or more time in the sun via new guidelines.

Experts say many Australians are confused when it comes to balancing skin protection with the need for vitamin D, and we have to say: they’re right.

Some say you need X amount of time in the sun to get your daily exposure to Vitamin D, while others say that X amount of exposure is bad for you.

The new guidelines urge people to avoid deliberate sun exposure in summer, when the UV index is three or above, to minimise the risk of skin cancer.

But they argue sun protection is largely not needed in winter, when the UV index is below three, and people should seek out some midday sun to increase their vitamin D levels, reports ABC.

Associate Professor Peter Foley from the Australasian College of Dermatologists said, “We see a lot of people asking the question, should they be spending more time in the sun,” he said.

“And we really like to remind them that skin cancer is our most common cancer, two out of three are going to develop skin cancer, you have to protect yourself.”

Osteoporosis Australia’s Professor Peter Ebeling said about a quarter of Australians had a vitamin D deficiency, which could lead to bone problems like fractures and osteoporosis.

“When the UV index is below three, between May and December, please get outside at midday, roll up your sleeves go out for a walk, you’ll feel better but also you’ll help build up your vitamin D levels,” he said.

However those at risk from vitamin D deficiency should not spend a lot of time in the sun during summer.

“Even just walking around doing your day to day activities that will probably generate enough vitamin D,” he said.

The guidelines also recommend people at risk of vitamin D deficiency speak to their doctor about supplements and time in the sun.

Do you have a vitamin D deficiency? Will you be adhering to the new guidelines?

  1. We live in central Australia even in winter the UV is above 3! I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis years ago, 2 years on meds, walking, cycling then another bone density scan & all good. Walk twice a day most days now in shorts & singlet. Our walks are always around 530am & again late afternoon for around 30-60 minutes depending on the weather/heat. Sunscreen every day as part of putting on my face, the rest is pretty much covered up.

  2. Any suggestion this current government comes up with I wouldn’t listen to. They probably have an ulterior motive. Get all them oldies out in the sun so they all die of melanoma. LOL

  3. Life goes on….no deliberate exposure….live in the tropics…..I use a brolly when walking but hate putting poisonous sunscreen anywhere

  4. after getting may skin cancers removed and some only recently there is no way on this earth I am going into the sun, I don’t like pain !! I take vitamin D tablets

  5. I’ll go out. However I will have my UPF50+ long sleeved shirt on.

    Here is our forecast for today. NOTE THE UV in the last line.

    Forecast for the rest of Sunday

    Max 27
    Shower or two.
    Chance of any rain: 60%
    Cloudy. Medium (60%) chance of showers, becoming less likely this afternoon. Winds southerly 20 to 25 km/h becoming light in the evening.
    Fire Danger – Low-Moderate
    UV Alert from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, UV Index predicted to reach 13 [Extreme]. B|

  6. I take vit d. Spent too much time in the sun when I was young. Have this amazing dog that gave me an early warning system when I got basal cell carcinoma.

  7. I’ve recently had a skin cancer removed from the side of my nose and it was and still is painful so I won’t be spending much time in the sun

  8. All commonsense stuff really. The senses also tell you when the UV is up. Walking first thing in the morning or in the evening is the way to go in summer. Some of us have skin that isn’t so prone to damage too. My granddaughter has olive skin, but her brother isn’t as lucky. Saying that, olive skinned people still have to “cover up” at certain times.

  9. NO sun for me, I know the pain of having cancers removed! I wear sunscreen on my face & neck ALL YEAR round as advised by a specialist.

  10. I always walk early of a morning with my dog. Left home a bit after 5.30 this morning and it was a beautiful time to walk. I think we are heading for 40 today and then a few 42s. Not really looking forward to it.

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