I don’t wear sunscreen. This is to the absolute horror of pretty much everyone I know. Especially as I’m a fairly pale Brit who has moved to a considerably sunnier Australia.
I’ve been having my Vitamin D levels tested for the last year or so, and despite living in Australia – I am still not at an optimal level. By the official standards, I’m certainly not deficient – but I want to attain an optimal, not survival, level of Vitamin D.
I’ve read a lot of books on Vitamin D, but sadly most of them are aimed at an American or British reader. Australia covers such a vast area with significantly different latitudes – we therefore have very different sun considerations. I’ve just got a copy of “The Vitamin D Solution” by Michael F. Holick Ph.D. M.D. and was thrilled to see it is an Australian edition. The book contains tables identifying the latitude of all of the main areas in Australia and the equivalent safe and effective sun exposure requirements to attain sufficient Vitamin D production. These tables are further split by skin type (with fairer skin requiring less sun than darker skin types), by time of day and then by season.
Most of my sun exposure occurs in the morning and evening on my commute. Having read the tables I’m quite happy that I am not getting too much sun. In fact, I’m going to wear shorts and shorter sleeves to further increase the amount of vitamin D I can produce in the mornings and evenings.
When I’ve had enough sun, I simply cover up, or get out of the sun – I much prefer these options to covering my skin in sunscreen. There are rare occasions when it’s not so easy to avoid the sun, particularly on my face – this is the only time I wear sunscreen, as I realise burning is to be avoided at all costs. When I do wear sunscreen, I’m really careful which one I use as many of them contain chemicals I wouldn’t want anywhere near my skin. I also have some really good quality Vitamin D3 supplements that I take occasionally, particularly if I know I haven’t had much sun. Hopefully these approaches will ensure I can increase my Vitamin D result the next time I have it tested.
What’s your Vitamin D/ Sunscreen approach?