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U.K. public health officials recommend increased public understanding of safe sun exposure

Posted on: January 21, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently drafted guidelines for sun exposure. The guidelines hope to provide the public with a better understanding of the risks and benefits associated with sun exposure in order to decrease the deaths and disease from both skin cancer and vitamin D deficiency.

Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE stated, “Although exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays for too long can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, being out in the sun can be good for you too – it provides both a good source of vitamin D and the opportunity to be physically active.”

NICE aspires for the public to strike a healthy balance of sun exposure by avoiding sun burns and terminology such as “healthy tans,” while still spending enough time in the sun to maintain healthy vitamin D levels.

The newly drafted guidelines advise to spend time outside between 11 am and 3 pm from the beginning of April to mid-October in the United Kingdom.

Sarah Williams, Senior Health Information Officer at Cancer Research UK noted, “Most people should make enough vitamin D during the UK summer through short, regular exposures to the sun, without getting sunburnt. But everyone’s skin reacts differently to the sun, so there isn’t a one size fits all recommendation.”

NICE will consider comments from stakeholders until February 10, 2015.


Borland, S. Now health officials say we SHOULD go out in the sun: Short bursts of sunshine ensure people get enough Vitamin D to keep bones strong. Daily Mail, 2015.

Sunlight exposure: communicating the benefits and risks to the general public. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2015.


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