Vitamin D sufficiency from natural sunshine, along with diet and exercise is now linked in hundreds of studies as one of the most important preventive factors in human health. We need regular, non-burning sun exposure to make 90 per cent of our vitamin D naturally from the sun. It is essential for healthy bones.
We spend less time in the sun today than previously in our history as modern machinery and transport has replace the need for outdoor manual labour and commuting. Sunlight is superior to supplements as it is a natural fee commodity, which is a self-regulating production only making what you need.
The amount of amount of time we need to spend in the sun for our skin to make enough vitamin D depends on skin type, the time of year and the time of day. The current recommendations are short daily periods (10 to 15 minutes) of sun exposure for lighter skinned people without sunscreen during the summer months (April to October, between 11am and 3pm) are enough for most people. In the UK, winter sunlight is insufficient so we get it from our body’s stores and food sources.
There are risks associated with longer periods in the sun without sun protection, so the advice is to cover up and protect skin before the amount of time it takes to turn red or burn.
Once children have had the their initial 10 to 15 mins, cover them up and use a sunscreen with at least a sun protection factor of 20+ but watch out for the chemical loading in the commercial sunscreens.