If You've Confused About Sunscreen And Vitamin D - Here's The Truth

What you need to know:

7 January 2019

Article heading image for If You've Confused About Sunscreen And Vitamin D - Here's The Truth

If you’re confused by the messaging around sunscreen and vitamin D – don’t be.

The Cancer Council is encouraging people to be wary of conflicting information around Vitamin D and and safe sun exposure – following new research.

Researchers reviewed more than 200 articles published between 2000 and 2017 and found that many journalists encouraged abandoning sun safety messages and glorified sun exposure for the sake of vitamin D.

However, some journalists took the opposing view that the "vitamin D fad" has led to unnecessary tablets and tests.

The study comes as vitamin D deficiency is recognised as a growing problem in Australia, with up to 25 per cent of people found to be lacking the essential nutrient.

Dr Stephanie Blake says a lot of media advice seems to contradict the slip, slop and slap messages that are designed to protect Australians from skin cancer.

"So they were going out of their way to put that message out there - it was well intended, it just needs additional detail."

She says it’s time we cleared up the message:

The council says for most people, adequate vitamin D levels are reached through regular incidental exposure to the sun.

"When the UV Index is 3 or above (such as during summer), most people maintain adequate vitamin D levels just by spending a few minutes outdoors on most days of the week," it says on its website.

The research was completed by The University of New South Wales and The University of Notre Dame Australia.

It was published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology on Monday.

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