When it comes to sunscreen, we’ve heard it all before. Or have we?

Living under the harsh sun with a giant hole in the protective ozone layer means that we are all at risk of at least a bad sunburn or worse, developing skin cancer, if we don’t protect ourselves from harmful UV rays. And by now we all know just how important it is to wear a good-quality sunscreen daily, and to reapply when we are spending time outdoors, in order to save our skin. The sun is also responsible for speeding up the telltale signs of ageing. We might love basking in it, but we also respect it enough to make sure that we are slathered in SPF before venturing outdoors in summer.

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If you paid attention in primary school you’ll know that the sun is responsible for creating vitamin D in the body. This happens when the skin absorbs the invisible UVB rays that are emitted from the sun. While we can also get it from some of the food we eat and vitamin supplements we ingest, having our body create it via the sun is the most effective and natural way. Vitamin D is important as it necessary in order for your bones to be able to absorb calcium and remain strong and a deficiency in it has been linked to weight gain, depression, heart disease and even some cancers.

So sunscreen is important to maintain our overall wellbeing, as is vitamin D. But a recent study claims that people who are too heavy-handed with the sunscreen – as if there is such a thing – are more susceptible to a vitamin D deficiency.

The Study

According to a study conducted by the American Osteopathic Association, an estimated one billion people across the globe may of insufficient levels of vitamin D because of lack of exposure to the sun and wearing sunscreen when they go outside. It claims that people are spending less time in the outdoors and, when they do, they are covered in sun block, and that there are healthy levels of unprotected sun exposure. Apparently five to 30 minutes of midday rays are what it takes to keep a deficiency at bay. Have we been doing this sun thing all wrong?

Is there any truth to it?

Fortunately not. Experts from the Skin Cancer Foundation revealed that clinical studies have never found a link between everyday sunscreen use and vitamin D deficiency. They also go on to say that the benefits of wearing SPF daily far outweigh any slight risk of developing a deficiency. What this means is that you can, and should, be wearing sun protection on the daily and can do so without fear of any other long-term ailments. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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