The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released new guidelines that outline the risks and benefits of sunlight exposure.
The guidelines, Sunlight exposure: risks and benefits, urges practitioners to communicate the risks of excessive sun exposure to their patients, as well as inform them of the increased risk of low vitamin D status due to underexposure.
NICE has made 18 recommendations in the guidance, including suggestions to practitioners which include offering one-to-one tailored advice to individual patients, communicating the risks and benefits of sun exposure to their patients and supporting community health programmes to raise awareness of under and overexposure to sunlight.
London dermatologist, Dr Anjali Mahto, thinks the guidelines are an important reminder to practitioners of the need to spread the word when it comes to the benefits and risks of the sun.
“Practitioners need to advise patients that one – you can still burn on cloudy days, two – there is no safe way to tan and three – that how much time you can safely spend in the sun depends on geographical location, time of day and year, weather conditions and an individual’s natural skin colour.”
They also clarify common misconceptions about sun exposure:
- Even if it is cool or cloudy, it is possible to burn in the middle of the day in summer. It is also possible to burn at other times of the day and year.
- There is no safe or healthy way to get a tan from sunlight.
- Getting a tan provides little protection against later exposure to sunlight and the resulting skin damage outweighs any later protective effect.
- It is not possible to get enough vitamin D by sitting next to a closed sunny window.
- It is not possible to get enough vitamin D from sunlight between October and March in the UK.
The full report is available to view here.