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Don't rule out a spot of sun

We are all too familiar with the negative impacts of sun exposure on our skin, but now scientists think that we should also remember the benefits of catching a few rays this summer.


Skin needs to be protected from excess sun exposure, but it also needs some sum to produce vitamin-D
Researchers based in Edinburgh claim that wearing sunscreen at all times when exposed could starve the body of vitamins - mainly vitamin D - which protect against various diseases.

While the majority of research supports various government campaigns to get people to protect themselves from the sun, scientists are finding more beneficial effects of UV light on humans.

Professor Mary Norval and a team from the University of Edinburgh Medical School said: “The take home message from the research so far is that we should strike a balance between the positive effects of vitamin D formation and the serious negative effects of too much sun exposure.”

It is well documented that sunlight is needed for the skin to synthesise vitamin D - 90% of the body’s supply of this vitamin.

Professor Norval explained: “The link between rickets and lack of light has been known for almost a hundred years.

“But vitamin D is now implicated in the prevention of an increasing number of non-skeletal disorders. These include internal cancers, such as colon, breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, and autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and insulin-dependent diabetes. Sunscreens shield the body from the type of UV light needed to make vitamin D, so covering any exposed skin with sunscreen at all times is not advisable.”

The work is reported in the latest edition of Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.