How much sun is enough?
Sunlight is the best natural source of Vitamin D, which is needed to develop and maintain strong and healthy bones. It is made when skin is exposed to UV radiation from the sun.
The amount of sunlight you need to make vitamin D depends on several factors such as the UV level, your skin type, and your lifestyle.
UV levels vary across Australia, throughout the year and throughout the day. This means the amount of time you need to be in the sun to make vitamin D will vary according to your location, the season and the time of day.
Prolonged sun exposure does not cause your vitamin D levels to increase further but does increase your risk of skin cancer. Short incidental exposure to the sun, such as walking from the office to get lunch or hanging out the washing, is the best way to produce vitamin D.
If you’re concerned about vitamin D, consult your GP. Vitamin D levels can be checked with a blood test and your GP can advise on options such as supplementation, depending on your individual circumstances.
Protecting your skin
When the UV radiation level reaches 3 and above it is strong enough to cause skin damage so skin protection is recommended. Protecting the skin from overexposure to UV radiation should include the following five SunSmart strategies, used in combination, for maximum protection -
- Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.
- Slop on a SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply it every 2 hours, or more regularly if involved in water activities or perspiring.
- Slap on a shady hat that provides plenty of protection to the face, neck and ears. Broad brimmed, bucket or legionnaire style hats are recommended.
- Seek shade when you are outdoors.
Slide on wraparound sunglasses that fit close to your face to protect the eyes. Look for EPF 10 on the label for maximum UV protection.