Sun Savvy - The Vitamin D Debate


As it is summer and the sun is shining (for the moment) I have decided to create a new series of posts called Sun Savvy, because to be honest suncreams are confusing...but also because the topic of sun, tanning, skin damage is so vast. So hopefully I will be writing some lighthearted guides on how to stop tan hands & reviewing afew different summer related products and I will also be writing afew in-depth posts about skin cancer, the use of sun beds and ofcourse sun related wrinkles! 


So to start of  I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for a week or so. 
Last week my nearly 30 year old sister came to see me and I noticed she had alot of freckles on her face & sunburnt arms, which I comment on. She told me that the reason was she had been outside all day and had 'caught the sun' as she doesn't really wear suncream. 
Hearing that for my supposedly intelligent, mature sister was as bad as telling me she tends to not wear a seatbelt! 
I ofcourse asked her why she doesn't wear suncream and her answer was that she is pale already so she atleast wants to get abit of sun and then came the VD word to back up what she was saying.
The 'well atleast I won't be Vitamin D deficient, like most people'.
Ofcourse meaning me and the millions of other people that use suncream. 
So is she right? Just because I wear SPF in the sun does it mean that I am lacking in Vitamin D and if I am how does it effect my health?
How much suncream is too much? Does SPF 50 block out more Vitamin D that SPF 15?
How do you know if you are deficient in Vitamin D?
Confusing isn't it! 

So here are some facts that I found out that will hopefully make this whole topic less confusing...

  • Vitamin D is produced by the skin from the UV rays in natural sunlight.
  • UV light doesn't penetrate though glass, so it is pointless to think you are getting your daily dose of Vitamin D by sitting next to a window
  • There is no such thing as needing a daily dose of Vitamin D, 20-30 minutes per week is enough
  • However the darker skinned you are the longer you will need to spend outside in the sun, this is also the case if you are classed as obese. As the body doesn't convert the UV rays as well.
  • Even wearing SPF 8 blocks the bodies ability to absorbs Vitamin D - so it isn't a good idea to wear a foundation with SPF in it however low the factor is. 
  • You can receive Vitamin D from foods like fish and eggs but your choice is limited and you would need to eat alot of the specific foods.  
  • Back in the 'olden days' children use to develop Rickets due to a lack of Vitamin D.
  • To find out if you are Vitamin D deficient you need to have a blood test as there are no symptoms.
  • There are no symptoms however it is vital  for a healthy immune system.
  •  Vitamin D tablets are available at most health shops, but you still need to spend some time in the sun, but ofcourse not as much. 

Okay enough with the bullet points now....So basically the message is pretty clear. You don't need to be in the 'No suncream, lots of Vitamin D + a tan' camp or the 'SPF 50, I am scared of the sun' camp. You can be somewhere in the middle and be sensible. 

Maybe sit outside suncream free for 15-30 minutes (however just don't let yourself burn) at the weekend, reading a book or eating lunch. Then the rest of the time you CAN slap on the Factor 50! And dare I say it but if live in the UK you only need to use sun protection from April to September and not in winter!

Hopefully I haven't bored you too much - next in the Sun Savvy series I am thinking maybe a Xen Tan vs. St Moriz fake tan post. 
Yes? No? 
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  1. smart post, really. this was very interesting!!!!

  2. This is a really good post! I love me some facts ;) Thank you :)

  3. very informative post, like it....i love st moriz tan and use it all the time so your thoughts wold be great to hear x

  4. Absolutely love this post! I have some Native American Indian in me so I tan insanely quickly and get super dark. However I would never go lay out with some SPF on. I don't know how people can't wear it. When I was little I didn't wear it all that often. As a result I ruined a lot of my facial skin and have to do nightly scrubs and cleanses in order to remove years of sun damage. My skin is FINALLY not so damaged so I lather up the sun screen.


  5. Very informative post, I really enjoyed it.
    Please do a Zen Tan v's St. Moriz

    I'm currently sporting St. Moriz and am debating a go at Xen tan but there is quite a difference in price so I would love to hear your thoughts on this one!

  6. Good post, I never knew that about the glass *blush*.

    I have heard a lot about wearing an SPF 15 moisturiser/foundation on your face to prevent wrinkles. Any thoughts on this?

  7. Thanks for a sensible blog. Always avoid burning but keep in mind that more than a million Americans die from diseases and conditions that studies have tied to Vitamin D deficiency (heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, approx 20 other cancers, MS, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.) while 10,000 Americans die from skin cancer. As an example, studies find women with low Vitamin D are four times as likely to die from breast cancer as those with normal Vitamin D. So understand that it's better to get too much sun than too little. But the best course, as always, is moderation. Two or three times a week for approx 15-30 minutes with as much of your body exposed as possible should do it. And during the winter consider Vitamin D supplements and indoor tanning... yes, moderate indoor tanning.

  8. Wow, this was a great post. Thanks! and the above comment was interesting too...indoor tanning in the winter huh? who knew!

  9. Really interesting and sensible post, thanks hun :)

    I was SO shocked to overhear this conversation between my neighbour and her hubby/kids the other day, she was obviously cooking herself in the garden, during the hottest part of the day...

    "You should put some cream on love or come inside, it's very hot out and the sun is strong"

    "If I put cream on I won't go brown. If I just lie out here until I burn I'll go as brown as I did on holiday"

    OH. MY. GOSH!!! What the?! Number 1, what an AWFUL thing to say in front of your young children, how uneducated do you have to be?! Number 2, without being judgemental, she seems a bit dim, but is she really that stupid to believe she's not harming herself?! really wound me up, I think I did actually say out loud "oh great example to set your kids", whether it was heard or not I don't know!


  10. Great post really helpfull and informative thanks :)

  11. @Fashion Meets Food - Thanks for your nice comment firstly, I must say I found it quite intesting about you not using SPF when you where younger and now you have to spend alot of time on it to remove the sun damamge!
    If only the research was there years ago!
    Just shows how important sun screen really is.

    @D - I think to be honest wearing a high factor on your face when it's actually sunny/hot is more important than just using an SPF 15 everyday to prevent wrinkles.

    So I would say a high factor in summer, a good pair of sunglasses to prevent UV rays around the eyes and squinting and a good skincare routine!

    @Anonymous - You have made some really interesting points, so thanks! It's always nice to see a lengthy comment.
    I am not too sure about the stats though...obvouisly they are true! However as Vitamin D is so important for a good strong immune system..I can see why it is tied to all different types of illnesses. But you can't really say it's the just doesn't help things. Where as the other statistic about skin cancer...all them cases are due to either sunbeds or the sun. So if SPF is used correctly it prevents your chances of skin cancer amazingly.
    But I think a balance is good!
    A little bit of sun to get the Vitamin D you need then SPF the rest of the time. It also ofcourse helps with ageing.

    I think for winter though like you say Vitamin D supplements are a good thing as alot of people do get quite run down in winter with colds/chest infection etc. However sunbeds for me is a no go. The UV rays are just too strong and just undoes the good of using SPF in summer.

    @Laura - Oh I loved reading your comment! ha 'If I just lie out here until I burn'!
    Not a good example for children at all!

    I did over hear a similar thing with my neighbour afew weeks ago though..he was outside with a friend and they where actually like Dumb & Dumber...he was mowing the lawn and actually stopped to ask his friend if he should put some oil on as he wanted to be brown before his holidays...he replied with 'nah, it's not hot enough yet'!

    Oh dear.


  12. I will be writing some lighthearted guides on how to stop tan hands & reviewing afew different summer related products and I will also be writing afew in-depth posts about skin cancer, the use of sun beds and ofcourse sun related wrinkles! plastic surgery seo


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