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Simply put, it’s a hard one. The link between Vitamin D and sun protection is quite complicated, layered and most often not understood.

But, lets break it down first.

What is vitamin D?

It is formed in the skin when exposed to UVB rays from the sun, foods and vitamins to ensure our bones and muscles are in tip top shape. The best source of Vitamin D is from the sun, at UV index levels of 3 and above.

So, what is the concern?

As sunscreen is designed to protect skin from UVB rays, there is concern that we are or will become vitamin D deficient and will we find a balance. Studies have shown that most Australians aren’t deficient in Vitamin D, but are adjusting their sun protection to ensure they get high levels of Vitamin D.

In a joint statement from the Cancer Council, developed by the Australasian College of Dermatologists, The Bone and Mineral Society of Australia and New Zealand, Osteoporosis Australia and the Endocrine Society of Australia, all experts agreed on one thing - sun protection is a MUST when UV levels are 3 or above. Mic Drop.

Day to day tasks of walking to the post box or hanging up the washing are enough to ensure you build up your Vitamin D levels.

But we need to take into consideration other factors for Vitamin D concerns.

During the year, there are many locations around Australia that see an UV of 3 and lower for many months of the year where we tend to relax our sun protection because we aren’t exposed to high levels of UV. Taking a walk during these times are super useful for increasing Vitamin D, without putting your skin at risk.

More so, deeper skin tones or those at risk of skin cancer who avoid the sun to ensure skin isn’t exposed tend to fall more Vitamin deficient due to lack of exposure to sun.

As a rule, not putting ourselves at risk of skin cancer is a major priority for us and its important for us to find the balance with all the information we know now about sun protection. But we will always apply sunscreen on days with the UV 3 and above.

If you are worried that you are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor.