Who may not be getting enough vitamin D?
It has been recommended by the British Government that people within vulnerable low-level vitamin D groups should take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D a day throughout the year. The following is a list produced by the Sunsmart campaign detailing those at risk of reduced levels of vitamin D.
- People with naturally brown or black skin, for example people of African, Afro-Caribbean or South Asian family origin
- People who usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors
- People over the age of 65
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Babies and children aged under 5
- People who aren’t often outdoors, for example in hospital or often housebound
The Government recommends people consider taking a vitamin D supplement from October to March. This is because in the UK like many other Northern European countries UV levels are much lower than other parts of Europe.
Cancer UK produced the following list of methods to reduce sun damage;
- Spend time in the shade, mainly between 11am and 3pm in the UK
- Cover up with clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and good quality sunglasses
- Use a sunscreen with a protection level of at least SPF15 and 4 stars. Apply and reapply generously throughout the day
- Sunglasses should have the 'CE Mark' and British Standard, UV 400 label and 100% UV protection written on the label or sticker. Also, make sure that the glasses offer protection at the side of the eye, for example wraparound styles.
There is some research, which suggests people who use sunscreen to sunbathe spend longer in the sun, and are more likely to get sunburnt. Higher factor sunscreens can give a false sense of security. It’s important to acknowledge that sunscreen, including very high factors cannot provide 100% protection.