To think we're far too scared of the sun!

(253 Posts)
BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 08:59:07

A leading lecturer in dermatology at Edinburgh university has said that the benefits of sun exposure "may far outweigh the risks" after a new study has shown an hour's exposure significantly reduces blood pressure:

This is on top of our growing understanding of the vital role played by vitamin d in health.

AIBU to worry more about whether my DC are getting sufficient sun than about the potential risks? I don't let them burn btw, but I do make sure they have plenty of sun cream-free time whenever possible.

CruCru Thu 09-May-13 09:08:24

Sounds reasonable. Playing in sunshine is one of the greatest pleasures for a child.

cheesecheeseplease Thu 09-May-13 09:08:25

yabu, sorry I work in a derm dept and see the effects of not just too much sun exposure bit what most people would call a normal amput which results in a lot of cases in painful surgery, radiotherapy, freezing treatment for multiple lesions in most case. The article is right there are not that many deaths from skin cancer but lesions treated equal the occurrence of all other types of cancer in the uk (primary care commisioning group dermatology guidelines). One of the consultants I work with states that the amount of sin exposure we need to get enough vitamin d is the backs of our hands exposed for 20 mins on a cloudy day!
Sorry for th rant bit if you saw what I saw on a daily basis you may think differently. brew

cheesecheeseplease Thu 09-May-13 09:09:09

amput = amount!

nightowlmostly Thu 09-May-13 09:12:27

I have a one year old DS, and I like him to get a bit of sunshine without being covered in sun cream. On the other hand I'm a bit paranoid about him burning, it can happen so quickly!

YANBU, I agree that we need to get some sun, it's not all bad by any stretch, and kids are too often sunblocked up to the hilt. I hardly ever remember wearing suncream when I was little.

Yes skin cancer is a risk, but as long as you are careful about being out too long a wee bit of sun is good for you!

paperclips Thu 09-May-13 09:13:01

I have caught myself pondering this same thing the other day, when I was worrying about the (less than) 5 minute walk to baby group with DS. It wasn't even all that sunnny. I decided 5 minutes would be OK and the vitamin D would be beneficial, but stuck a hat. Even for a baby,he has very fair skin and blonde hair and he throws his hat off all the time so I do worry about the sun.

But yes, I have read vitamin D deficiancy is increasingly common in western countries. A bit more being active outdoors would do us all some good. It's a fine line though. en he goes to nursery I would put suncream on first thing in the morning so he wouldn't get a lot of time without it at all.

How long is it safe for a baby to be out without hats/sunscreen it before they risk burning? Not long I would think, and this time of year sun is almost at its strongest is that right?

badguider Thu 09-May-13 09:14:24

I think the timing of this announcement is not ideal because don't know anybody who doens't get outside for an hour a day through summer. Some people might be too paranoid about the sun but I don't think the average british person is in the summer.

In winter it's a different matter. I make sure I get out at lunchtime when it's dark for the cycle to and from work but I know many people don't. I also make sure I am outside at weekends in winter. I only wear sunscrean for skiing in winter. I do think the SPF50+ "all year round" people quoted in beauty magazines are a bit mad but I don't know anybody in real life who does that.

Having said that, I would burn if i sat outside and not in shade or with cream for an hour at lunchtime in summer so stick to the shade or wear suncream.

YANBU, I completely agree.

I'm biased though as I don't burn and rarely tan, well I have twice in my whole life and those were in severe circumstances. If I was more of a burner then I might have a different view.

I don't generally ever use sun screen, I probably should.

DS is always covered though but I do like him to get some sun.

chocolateorangeyum Thu 09-May-13 09:16:47

Absolutely agree with cheese. Isn't there a statistic that two episodes of peeling sunburn in a child can increase their risk of skin cancer something like 50 per cent or more? On that basis I will avoid my kids getting sunburn even if it means they don't tan. You won't get fit D deficiency if you eat a normal diet, spend time outside and don't wear sun cream in the winter.

meglet Thu 09-May-13 09:17:01

Yanbu. As long as you're careful and don't burn, cover up during the middle of the day then the sun isn't the enemy.

However I am very biased as I have suffered severe depression in my time and also have excess hair so sunshine + a tan are my lifeline. I've struggled over the last winter and have been outside making the most of every ray in the last week.

PoppyAmex Thu 09-May-13 09:19:28

You don't need to "burn" to be at risk for skin cancer - that's a dangerous misconception.

paperclips Thu 09-May-13 09:21:24

But- I don't think we're too scared on the whole- cheesecheeses post shows that.

Plus, look how many people are totally careless in the sun, and you see walking around burnt after a warm spell.

I know that and that's why I said I should wear sun screen.

Like meglet though, I have some medical problems including severe fatigue and the sun helps a lot, I take the risk.

eltsihT Thu 09-May-13 09:25:20

I think it's about being sensible, I have had a melanoma removed as a teenager and am fully recovered, but my grandfather died from skin cancer in his 50's. so maybe I worry about it more than most. If I am out for 5 minutes, I don't put cream on but any longer and I do.

Although I wonder if its to do with factors, I mean factor 50 which only needs applied every 6-8 hours is really paint isn't it. I sort of miss the easy to rub in factor 12/8 of my youth even if you have to reapply every 30 minutes.

Samu2 Thu 09-May-13 09:25:45

I love the sun but I am petrified of skin cancer. I have had so many burns it's untrue, I burn in seconds it seems.

Funnily enough, I just read this morning about skin cancer and sun cream

I have seen a lot of these types of articles being posted on FB lately.

I don't know what to think.

eltsifT Have you tried P10 or P20? I used this in Florida and it was very good. Only needs applied once a day, waterproof and isn't like paint.

valiumredhead Thu 09-May-13 09:29:01

Im with cheese on this one and have seen first hand the damage very little sun exposure can do -and also how late in life problems can occur.

You don't need to "burn" to be at risk for skin cancer - that's a dangerous misconception

This ^

MiaowTheCat Thu 09-May-13 09:55:11

I'm paranoid about sun exposure on the girls - they seem to have inherited more of their father's skin tone than mine... but I burn ridiculously easily so tend to be in the shade wherever possible for that reason alone.

I can't stand the feeling of suncream on my skin - for some reason it's like nails on a chalkboard to me.

shebangsthedrum Thu 09-May-13 10:08:15

I think you have to be aware of skin type aswell. 2 of my dc's are very dark, olive skin types. 2 have fairish skin and the eldest is inbetween. We use different sun creams on them, but always over 15 and much higher when we are in hot climates.

That's where my problem is SheBangs. I have no idea what my skin type is.

Anything I have read says that I "burn easily and freckle easily" but I don't, I have very very fair skin (think nearly blue in the winter) and very blonde hair but factor 50 would be far too strong for me.

cheesecheeseplease Thu 09-May-13 10:36:19

what you have to remember about the factors is that the protection time varies depending on your skin type so if I burn in 5 mins factor 10 would protect me for 50 mins. factor 30 for 150 mins so if you want to use a lighter sunscreen it's fine you just ahve to reapply more often! ps I do burn in about 10 mins!shock

That's the problem though, judging how long it would take me to burn as it just never really happens.

For instance, the other day it was clear (UV at 4) 22 degrees and I stayed in the garden all day with no sun screen, I didn't burn.

So what factor would I use and when would I use it?


EskSmith Thu 09-May-13 10:47:17

I think a happy medium needs to be found but there is no one size fits all solution. A moderate amount of sun exposure for my DH would leave me looking like a lobster. Even managing it in short bursts I'd find it hard to get an hour's exposure a day without burning.

MummytoKatie Thu 09-May-13 11:00:04

Depends on your skin colour. I have very ple skin so absorb vitamin d really really well but am at high risk of burning / skin cancer. If you have dark skin then lack of vitamin d is more likely to be a problem.

Stupidly I married the only man in the UK with even paler skin than mine so poor dd is sentenced to a lifetime of factor 50 and people saying "just arrived?" on the last day of her 2 week summer sun holiday.

francesdrake Thu 09-May-13 11:07:08

I'm very pale, hate the sun, and although I'm out and about for at least 90 minutes every day walking the dog, I wear moisturiser with a SPF30, and sunscreen in the summer and always cover up. Last year I was feeling rundown and thought I had some kind of thyroid issue so went to get blood tests. Thyroid was fine, but my Vitamin D levels, which should be about 50nmol/L, were EIGHT. 25 is considered a serious deficiency. I was prescribed high strength supplements for three months, and told to 'strip off and get some direct sun at midday'. hmm

Apparently Vit D deficiency is a serious thing in the UK now, as a result of the rubbish weather, caution about skin cancer, the decline of the Vit D-rich mackerel fishing industry and the fact that we all stay indoors watching television...

hazeyjane Thu 09-May-13 11:11:45

dh has to wear suncream and covers up with a hat and sleeves most of the year, because he works outside and has vitiligo. As he has got older the unpigmented patches have increased, so he is more vulnerable to sun damage. He takes a vit D supplement.

He uses Utrasun factor 50,once a day, and it goes on really easily and doesn't have the plasticky painted on feeling of some of the once a day suncreams.

lisianthus Thu 09-May-13 11:19:06

Yabu- I'm with the cheese. I don't have one relative over the age of 40 who hasn't had a melanoma cut out due to the old "when we were kids we hardly ever wore sunscreen" attitudes. Some of them have odd facial features because of this. Having a chunk cut off your nose or out of your cheek to save your life will do that.

And the problems from early sun damage manifest later in life, so what might seem fine now may well not be.

Lisian The problem with that is recognizing skin type, if I followed guide lines then I would be wearing factor 50 and completely covering up which just seems like over kill.


I feel so much better when the sun is out and I think people got too obsessed these days about the whole sun protection thing.

scaevola Thu 09-May-13 12:18:24

I've had a suspect mole off. All fine, but terrifying until I knew it was OK. For a friend's DH died, in a short amount of time, from a skin cancer.

Sunburn is very dangerous. Excessive sun exposure even without burning can be risky.

You can supplement safely for vitamin D. It's not possible to set your 'safe' exposure to sun. So I go by Aussie rules for the DCs.

PoppyAmex Thu 09-May-13 12:22:35

scaevola just hit the nail in the head, you can supplement safely for Vit D, so it's crazy to risk unsafe sun exposure.

Being from Portugal and having lived in Australia for 10 years, it scares me how the Brits have this cavalier approach to sunbathing and a lot of people seem to think that:

1. If I dont burn I'm safe
2. The sun in the UK isn't "that strong"
3. I have olive skin so I'm ok

nope, nope, nope!

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 09-May-13 12:24:51

There is an increase in rickets in children due to lack of sun exposure.

I'm on vitamin D supplements due to very low levels.

SoggySummer Thu 09-May-13 12:24:51

I am the same as most cautious parents. Slapping on the sun cream, making sure they are not out in sun endlessly especially mid day, sun hats and adequate clothing etc.


I also wonder in how many years it will be before some expert tells us the chemical crap in all these sun creams we slap on our kids cause cancer or some other shitty disease.

It seems no matter what precautions we take to protect our kids (and ourselves) something always evolves X years later to tell us more doom and gloom.

As my granny used to say who lived to 90 odd - "everything in moderation".

turkeyboots Thu 09-May-13 12:25:32

People need to be more sensible with sunshine though. I lost count of the number of half naked lobster people sleeping the in sun between 12 and 3 over the weekend.

Me and mine are very pale, burn in minutes and have family history of skin cancer. I keep us all well covered and creamed in 30+ for most of the day, but before 10am and after 4 or 5 I ease off the precautions. All our vit D levels are fine.

LookingForwardToMarch Thu 09-May-13 12:26:15

Yanbu...for you.

I however am one of the factor 50 all year rounds. I only have to sniff the sun and I burn ( think blonde, blue eyes and skin like casper may be the reason)

And dd is 11 weeks, she also gets creamed. Id rather her get too little sun than too much.

Weegiemum Thu 09-May-13 12:29:11

In Scotland it is impossible to get enough vitD from sun alone for 6 months of the year. Lack of oily fish and also not getting vit d from the fat in milk adds to this.

It's thought to be a factor in why we have one of the highest rates of MS and similar neurological problems in the world.

EuroShaggleton Thu 09-May-13 12:38:44

soggy look at the article about zinc oxide someone posted above...

I also think everything in moderation is key. Some people are far too cautious. We NEED sunlight. We just have to be careful about excessive exposure.

KobayashiMaru Thu 09-May-13 12:43:42

An hour in warm direct sunshine and my pale dc's will be burnt to a crisp. They get plenty of sunlight, but that doesn't mean they should start sunbathing and looking like lobsters!

Gubbins Thu 09-May-13 12:44:08

Cheese, you said: "if you want to use a lighter sunscreen it's fine you just ahve to reapply more often!"


You're right in saying that someone who burns in 5 mins would be protected for 50 minutes in factor 10; but reapplying at that point won't help. It doesn't mean that it wears off after 50 minutes, but that that is how long it will protect you for. So after 50 minutes you need to cover up or get in the shade.

My mother never burnt and never tried to tan, but spent much of her youth outdoors. She had a malignant melanoma excised in 1984, followed up with chemo. For nearly 30 years we thought she was clear, until last summer, when it was found to have metastasized in her lung and she died within a month. Yes, sunshine is good for you, and I don't fear it, but it just stupid to go out in the middle of the day without being covered up.

"Yes, sunshine is good for you, and I don't fear it, but it just stupid to go out in the middle of the day without being covered up."

I'm sorry about your DM.

For my health at the moment, I need all the sunlight I can get and there is no way that I would cover up.

ThatRuddyAbyssinian Thu 09-May-13 12:49:10

I was amazing by the amount of people I saw last weekend who were lobster red. Idiots.

I burn very easily (caught the sun one day last weekend despite wearing 50SPF and reapplying regularly), so I avoid the sun when I can. Never had a Vit D deficiency. DD luckily does not have my skin tone but I still keep her topped up as much as possible.

We need to get out of the mentality as a society that 'tanned is good'. No it's not.

ThatRuddyAbyssinian Thu 09-May-13 12:49:34

*amazed not amazing. Doh.

infamouspoo Thu 09-May-13 12:54:15

so we have two dermatologists saying different things confused
I burn if you say the word 'sun' so its an easy decision to make but its all very confusiong now.

BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 12:55:52

I think that in our (understandable) desire to avoid the very evident and nasty consequences of over-exposure, though, we are seeing an increase in the less obvious but nasty consequences of under exposure.
Vitamin D deficiency's been linked to MS, diabetes, fractured, and the increase in 'Victorian' diseases like rickets and tuberculosis.

WilsonFrickett Thu 09-May-13 12:56:45

I never wore sunscreen as a child. I had sunstroke at least once every summer, I am covered in freckles and I will eat my hat if I don't have at least one skin cancer scare before I'm 50. It is absolutely in the post for me.

On the other hand, I'm also high risk for oesteoperosis and one thing that will help is, you've guessed it, vitamin D.

So I'm taking a supplement. And I'm putting sunscreen on my DS.

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 12:57:14

another with a DM currently living under a terminal malignant melanoma diagnosis....

I got a little burnt at the weekend and I was out for 30 mins after 4pm. ...fucking sun.

I think vit D supplements are a more valid answer than chancing it in the sun.

WilsonFrickett Thu 09-May-13 12:58:54

Weegie I just saw your post about fat in milk, is that because people drink semi-skimmed as a matter of course now or is it about the general quality of milk? Would full fat milk be better for vit D? (we only have organic anyway)

I am Italian, I live in Italy. I wear sun cream. I don't remember wearing sun hats or sun cream as a child in the 70s. We'll see. Life is risky, in general.

WilsonFrickett Thu 09-May-13 13:00:22

Also weegie my doc said the Scotland equivalent of the surgeon general was doing a big study into vitamin D, for precisely the reasons you mentioned - will await results with interest.

badguider Thu 09-May-13 13:02:58

I have to say I think SPFs have gone pretty crazy lately. I burn in 45-60mins in summer. I wear SPF 20 so that even if I'm out for 10 hours solid (unlikely) that's equivalent to 30mins without.

I do however ensure I use a very long lasting cream (pix buin one day long).

Not many people really need spf50+ in the uk.

BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 13:03:37

LookingForward, you shouldn't really need to cream your 11-week old, as they shouldn't be in the direct sunlight until about six months (my 9-week old stays in the shade).

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:04:28

time taken to burn with sunscreen on = amount of time without *SPF

This assumes you have it perfectly you do need to reapply if sweating/in and out of water etc.

So If I would burn in about 5 mins currently (realistic for me), then with factor 50 on I will be burnt after about 4 hours. You cannot extend this time by reapplying!

When I was in Brazil briefly I burned after 1 hour with factor 50 on (between 9 and 10 am - bastard sun), indicating that I would have burnt in 60 seconds without it....

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:05:36

I thought suncream was not advised at all for under 6 months...something to do with skin porosity?

BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 13:08:17

Wilson, vit D is fat soluble so yes, full fat milk is a better source. Also, if you leave mushrooms in the sun for an hour before you prep them they will synthesise vitamin d for you!

badguider Thu 09-May-13 13:08:36

icbineg you must really be at the far "fair" end of the spectrum of skin types if you burn in 5mins in the uk.
I still say 'most' people can take at least half an hour (I can and I'm blonde and fair).

BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 13:08:58

Agree ICBINERG, that's what I thought.

BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 13:10:46

Sorry, ICBINEG (is that an acronym?)

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:11:06

yes that is true...

but you aren't actually aiming to burn! If you could stay out for 30 mins and only just be burned, then you should only be staying out 5 mins... so by wearing factor 20 you are extending from 5 mins safely to 1.5 hours safely...which isn't that much really. So for you, factor 50 is a good number to cover you all day...and not ridiculous at all.

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:11:53

it is both true that I am at the far fair end and that ICBINEG is an acronym...I really should address my comments to people more smile

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:13:07

Yes I am pretty confident that you are not supposed to use sunscreen on baby skin unless it is totally unavoidable that your baby be exposed to UV. Ie. in the UK it shouldn't be other places it may be impossible not to.

BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 13:13:28

I always read your nn as "iceberg" confused

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:14:40

I have been called worse on MN grin

Remotecontrolduck Thu 09-May-13 13:19:09

DD and I have pale freckly skin, moles and red hair so pretty much as high risk for skin cancer/burning as you can get.

I use factor 25 before I go out if it's a sunny day, and re-apply once or twice in the day depending on how hot it is. I usually find that keeps me from burning and i go about my day as normal without giving it much more thought. DD the same, when she was younger I used factor 40 though. I don't believe being OTT about any health issue is a good idea.

What confuses me is the advice that is given out to 'stay out if the sun and seek shade between 10-4pm' you what? How is any one supposed to do that? I don't think that's particularly practical advice.

Mumsyblouse Thu 09-May-13 13:21:05

The problem with Vit D supplements is that almost no-one takes them, if you want to cover an entire population. I think they are recommended for children or in pregnancy, or have I got that wrong?

But some people are really daft about sitting out in the sun. Those people don't use sunscreen properly anyway.

So- we have lots of people who ignore sunscreen/want to be brown/get caught out vs lots of people who would never take supplements (could they go into semi-skimmed milk as an added component?) Which is worse- hard to know and that's why I will be interested to know what these epidemiogical studies show.

I know it's very emotive for people who have lost loved ones to skin cancer, so it is easy to comprehend (skin burnt=skin cancer)- trying to link lack of Vit D with say MS or other types of cancer is harder, but worth doing because people should know if they avoid the sun and don't supplement, they may be at risk through Vid D deficiency and the evidence is stacking up.

Mumsyblouse Thu 09-May-13 13:24:54

'stay out if the sun and seek shade between 10-4pm' I interpret that a bit differently, as be normal (e.g. in and out of work, shops, sit out for 10 min) during the hot part of the day but don't sit out in the sun sunbathing during that time. And, if you go somewhere without shade, say the beach, take an umbrella and the children can run in and out of it (with sunscreen on).

I don't sunscreen my children for small journeys, anything less than 20 min, and we don't go on the beach/very hot places 12-3pm if no shade, so they never really get burnt.

I do sometimes think why do people go on the beach in the middle of the day on a very hot day, cover their children with sunscreen sit in a tent and have them wear long hats/shorts/t-shirts- why don't they go home, have a nice nap and then come out a bit later in the day, say 3ish when the beach is always gorgeous and you don't have to stress about the whole sun protection thing.

chillinwithmyyonis Thu 09-May-13 13:30:55

IMO, op, YANBU. Sunburn may put one at increased risk of malignant melanoma however, from my laymans research on vitamin d, vit d offers a degree of protection against all types of cancer and much more besides. And I think sun = skin cancer is a bit too simplistic, we certainly don't apply similar rationale to other types of cancer. Not to mention that many malignant melanomas are in parts of the body that never see the sun.

I personally stopped wearing sunscreen about 5/6 years ago, I try to go in the sun whenever I can. I'm aware I'm taking a risk but I feel the risk of being vitamin d deficient is far greater. The seesaw of life!

racmun Thu 09-May-13 13:31:09

Can someone clarify if you put say factor 50 cream on does it mean that the benefits of the sun don't get through?

I'd thought that because it was a chemical rather than a physical barrier and your skin is still getting the sun on it that you'd get the benefits but not the burning.

Does anyone know this is right?


itsblackoveryonderhill Thu 09-May-13 13:33:47

I agree to a certain extent. Some sun is required, but generally, when it's sunny its cover up time or sun lotion.

It can get to be absolute madness thought, for example, in DD's nursery they were putting suncream on the children on Monday morning and in walks a parent with their child. Their child has very dark african/caribbean skin and the carers in the nursery asked the mother if 'X' had had suncream on already.

She said no and the carers looked a bit aghast and said that he would need some on. Well, in principle that would be fine, but firstly the child is already dark skinned, they stay indoors from 10.30/11 until 3/4pm, so the poor child would in all probability would have not got any sun rays penetrating his skin through the factor 30 they put on, so would be at a greater risk of vit D deficiency that skin cancer or at least sunburn.

I put sun cream on DD when I feel it is required (boots soltan once factor 30) and I tell the carers when I've done it and I don't allow them to put any more on her. She is mixed race (white/afro caribbean) and she darkens very easily, so towards the end of the summer when she's at her darkest is the time I say, 'no cream today', but please bring her into the shade if she looks as though she is getting burnt. I also ensure DD has light floaty clothes with 3/4 sleeves and legs etc, so some skin is exposed to allow her to get rays through on to her skin.

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:46:46

racmum factor 50 sun cream blocks 98% of the majority of the UV bits of sunlight.

So any health benefit that derives from the UV fraction of sunlight will also be reduced. If the health benefits come from the visible or IR than you will still get them.

The amount of UV you need to be healthy depends on your skin type. The skin is actually blocking UV by different amounts. Dark skin is adapted to work in bright light conditions and hence blocks most of the UV, and hence you need a lot of UV to make enough vit D.

My skin is adapted to very low light conditions, so I need a tiny amount of sunlight to make enough vit D and burn very easily.

I can get that UV either in a 1 min burst on untreated skin or in a 1 hour burst on factor 50 treated skin.

Someone with dark skin might need hours and hours in the UK sun to make enough vit D and might never burn.

chillinwithmyyonis Thu 09-May-13 13:48:30

racmun, sunscreen blocks UVB rays to the skin, its these rays that stimulate the production of vitamin d (which is more akin to a hormone, a natural steriod, than a vitamin), so especially high factor sunscreen will inhibit the bodies ability to produce vitamin d.

ICBINEG Thu 09-May-13 13:51:54

That wasn't very clear of me. What I am trying to say is that your skin already contains sun screen molecules, that may easily exceed the factor 50 of synthetic compounds currently available.

Regarding the health benefits of UV light, it doesn't matter if it is your skin that is blocking the UV or a synthetic compound...what matters is the amount getting through should hit the sweet spot between 'not enough' and 'damaging'.

That might be impossible to achieve if you are living in a dimmer climate than your skin type was evolved for.

JazzDalek Thu 09-May-13 14:03:58

Also, if you leave mushrooms in the sun for an hour before you prep them they will synthesise vitamin d for you!

Really! Have you a link for that? Not being sarky, genuinely would like to read more as have never heard this.

OP, yanbu.

SacreBlue Thu 09-May-13 14:06:18

I think you can be as careful as you like and something will still get you cue everyone who was warning about that to say I told you so

You wear what SPF or cover up you are happy with. I haven't and won't <needs sunglasses emoticon> I am not a child, I am not 'ill-informed', I have made a choice to sit out in the sun because I like it smile

Of course people have died of cancer, or lost pieces of themselves or loved ones - you can say the same of nearly every single disease or happening in the history of the world.

We live as we choose and take the consequences but I am not going to waste whatever sun hastened life I have worrying about it.

Stress kills people too <sticks out tongue> wink

racmun Thu 09-May-13 14:10:28

Ok thanks for clarifying. It's a case of enough but not too much. My ds is so pale his skin has a blue tinge so From what you guys have said he doesn't need much sun exposure to produce vit d.
Even with cream on every sunny day last year he still ended up with a t shirt Tan but never burnt.

I'm hoping from what you've all said that means he's getting enough but not too much!!

ThatRuddyAbyssinian Thu 09-May-13 14:11:32

Like Remotecontrolduck I have red hair, freckles and moles so the highest risk category for skin cancer. My skin is made for Nordic climates so anything less than 25SPF just isn't sufficient. Again, never had a Vit D problem. But it's so hard to know if your skin is not as fair, or somewhere being fair-not fair.

I read somewhere that wearing sunglasses is bad for your skin as wearing them fools your mind into thinking it's not that sunny, so your body doesn't produce natural hormones that give 'some' protection against sun. Or something. Not sure that's correct though. confused

Pfaffingabout Thu 09-May-13 14:12:07

Has anyone else read The Vitamin D Solution by Michael Holick? It puts a very convincing case for some sensible sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a large number of illnesses, including osteoporosis, MS, arthritis, diabetes, depression and more.

Supplements are not nearly as effective as sunlight. And unfortunately, as far north as the UK is, we are not able to synthesize vitamin D at all during winter as the sun has to pass through too much atmosphere to reach us. It's also harder for people with darker skins to get enough vitamin D.

Michael Holick suggests sensible amounts of time to go sun-screen free, based on your latitude and skin type.

My main problem is having a full time office job which means that I rarely see the sun during the week.

BedHanger Thu 09-May-13 15:12:53
1789 Thu 09-May-13 15:22:39

of course it's about being sensible, but that also means avoiding pretty much every sunscreen on the market. i would never put chemical sunscreens on myself or my children (just google the list of toxic chemicals on the back of any chemical sunscreen), but i make sure that they get some sunlight when it's available and cover up with clothes when we're outside all day long on sunny days. If it's really hot and we're on the beach, I will put non-nano zinc oxide sunblock on them where skin is exposed, but that's it!! Also, I make sure we all eat a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids which protect the skin from the inside!

Merguez Thu 09-May-13 16:47:43

Haven't read the whole thread but ...

The dc's cousin had rickets due to lack of sun/Vitamin D deficiency.

My dc's school is far too zealous with the sun-hats and sun cream in my view, and I have told them that I will decide if dc need sun cream or not. DS is away on a school trip and sun cream was on the kit list, it is early May in UK - I did not pack it and explained why to the teacher.

If the weather is sunny and bright and they are not going to be outside for an extended amount of time then I would really like them to get some sun exposure.

If we are spending the whole day on a beach in July, then of course the sun cream gets slathered on liberally. Can only remember one child ever getting sunburned once.

shockers Thu 09-May-13 16:49:58

My friend lives in Perth, Australia. She says that vit D deficiency is a problem there because everyone slathers on sun cream constantly!

valiumredhead Thu 09-May-13 16:52:43

And yet skin cancers are high enough to warrant people checking moles etc on the beach in Austrailia.

Merguez Thu 09-May-13 16:56:10

Should also add that I had a mole removed about 4 years ago. It turned out to be benign but I think I overdid the sunbathing when I was younger and was also stupid enough (vain enough) to use sunbeds for a while. So now I never, ever lie in the sun. Always in the shade. Usually covered up too.

But I still think we need a little bit of sensible sun exposure to stay healthy.

Bingdweller Thu 09-May-13 16:59:37

I'm 35, I don't burn all that easily. I have recently been treated for stage 2 malignant melanoma and have had 20+ biopsies. I am seen every 3 months by a consultant dermatologist and they are watching a further 12-15 lesions carefully. I'll take my chance with Vit D deficiency I think.

A cavalier attitude to the sun is stupid at best, deadly at worst. The damage with me seems to have been done as a child in the long, hot sunny summers we used to get.

It's like everything though, you weigh up the pros and cons of a situation for yourself/family personally.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 09-May-13 17:00:39

Obviously, I understand that skin cancer is a real risk.

However, I think it's really unhelpful to spend so much time stressing about our children to something that is a part of our natural world. Take sensible precautions. Don't panic that every time their skin tans a tiny bit they are going to die. I prefer covering up the at risk areas (shoulders, back of neck, face) to using suncream, and generally only put cream on once it gets closer to the hottest part of the day/if we're going to be in exposed sunlight for a long time - because I am a little wary of the long term effects of the chemicals.

None of my kids has ever been so much as a tiny bit pink, or more than very, very lightly tanned, let alone burnt so badly their skin peeled and the other kids I see locally are the same.

I can see the problems of lack of vitamin D becoming a bigger statistical issue in the future.

valiumredhead Thu 09-May-13 17:01:39

Isn't it more likely that we have defieciency form generally poor diets these days rather than lack of sun?

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 09-May-13 17:06:39

I'm not even remotely an expert so I'm not going to debate that. Either way it is an issue, and lack of sunlight exposure is a problem that contributes.

hackmum Thu 09-May-13 17:09:31

valium - No. Something like 90% of our Vitamin D comes from the sunshine. Diet makes surprisingly little difference.

People have become over-zealous about covering up their kids in the sun, mostly because of the years of propaganda from people like Cancer Research. Now all the scientific evidence is pointing to Vitamin D playing a hugely preventative role in a number of diseases.

WilsonFrickett Thu 09-May-13 17:20:02

Vitamin D does indeed play a hugely preventative role in preventing a number of diseases.

Skin cancer kills.

The two facts aren't mutually exclusive and I wouldn't say either fact was 'propaganda'.

PoppyAmex Thu 09-May-13 17:24:10

There's no such thing as over zeal when it comes to sun protection.

In Australia, people take Vitamin D and are still very diligent when it comes to wearing sunscreen, hats, staying out of the sun and getting regular skin checks.

Vitamin D is very cheap and I believe you can even get it free for children through the NHS, so that's a moot point.

I'll say it again: It doesn't matter if you have olive skin or don't burn easily - you are still at risk.

I live in Scotland at the moment and whenever there's a sliver of sun I'm horrified by the number of sunburnt people I see on the streets. They seem to think that the sun is harmless in nordic countries hmm

Blueskiesandbuttercups Thu 09-May-13 17:26:29

There is also the issue re the nasty chemicals in sunscreens.

I really worry,some of my family members slather it on all year round when there is the lightest hint of rays.confused

All those chemicals on young skin just can't be good.

I think common sense and balance has gone out of the window.

I cover the dc up with UV suits,floppy hats,avoid the mid day sun and use natural creams when needed sparingly in the summer.Beach days obviously I'm more proactive.Dc 9,9 and 8 have never burnt.

DoctorAnge Thu 09-May-13 17:28:17

I feel like I'm the only one who actively takes DD sun hat off for 15 mins so she can soak in a bit of sun!
Slathering these babies in an inch of cream for a quick walk in the pram. I think it's totally ridiculous. Children need the sun to help their bones and to grow and be healthy.

infamouspoo Thu 09-May-13 17:29:59

O do worry about the chemicals in those creams so choose ones with zinc oxide in to try and avoid absorption. Whatever goes on your skin goes into your bloodstream.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Thu 09-May-13 17:30:20

Oh and if I lived in Australia I'd be far more proactive but I don't.

The fact is our wether is grey all year round and if you don't go abroad you can go a long time without sun.

My DS had a dreadful winter this year I'm convinced because of the lack of sun we had last year.

specialsubject Thu 09-May-13 17:30:52

some truly shocking lack of basic science here.

the sun is strongest in the northern hemisphere on June 21st. Therefore one poster's logic that they don't need suncream in May, but do in July, is hopelessly flawed - the UV strength will be the same.

it is also to do with latitude. Australia is closer the equator than the UK. There is also a thinner ozone layer over Australia.

and for the nth time to all those who talk about heat - TEMPERATURE IS IRRELEVANT!! Ever seen someone after a skiing holiday?

the 'factors' refer to the amount of time you will not get burnt with the cream, as opposed to the time it would take unprotected. The idea is that if you can stay in the sun for 10 minutes without getting burnt, factor 50 will make that 500 minutes. Of course cream gets sweated off, rubbed off and washed off so it isn't quite that simple.

Merguez Thu 09-May-13 17:31:24

We use Lavera sun cream which I think is not full of nasties.

specialsubject Thu 09-May-13 17:31:34

Zinc oxide is a chemical. Everything is a chemical. We are made of chemicals.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Thu 09-May-13 17:34:15

We're the same re snow,the minute a flake falls out come the sledges,the days off work,ski clothe etc.

The minute the sun starts to shine in April you see these people with their vat of 24 hour sunscreen squirting every other minute!

People in other countries must laugh at us.

I bought 1 tube of organic cream last year between 5 of us,we didn't go abroad and it lasted the whole summer.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Thu 09-May-13 17:37:47

Some sunscreen ingredients are carcinogenic and alter DNA.

AmberSocks Thu 09-May-13 17:44:40

we dont use suncream,there is lots of research out there if you look for it,that suncreams cause cancer by blocking vit d-which prevents cancer-and also the ingredients in them.

its burning which is harmful not just being in the sn,we usecoconut oil or raspberry seed oil.

EasilyBored Thu 09-May-13 17:57:17

I am pale to the point of being transparent, have loads of freckles and moles, burn as soon as I think about going outside. I would rather take my chances with cancer caused by 'chemicals' than with the almost certain skin cancer I would get if I went out regularly without suncream and a hat. Not to mention wrinkles, premature aging and sun spots. DS is practically a moomin, with red hair. He gets slathered in suncream too.

topsi Thu 09-May-13 18:05:53

Francesdrake, can I ask please if you felt better once you vit D levels were improved. Mine were at 26 recently and have to admit I have been taking advantage of the recent sunshine to boost my levels.
This is after years of telling people to wear 30+SPF every day as my job as an aesthetic nurse.

WakeyCakey Thu 09-May-13 18:12:45

I m not only practically transparent but I suffer with solar urticaria which is a (reasonably) rare disease that means if I get exposed to sunlight I come out in serious hives!
I use factor 50 sun cream in any sun all year round if needed because I burn in only a couple of minutes.
I won't risk skin cancer, I love sitting in the sun but I will always wear full clothing, sleeves and all as long as it is light enough so I don't overheat and a hat and sun cream.

When I have kids I will be very vigilant with them too as DP and I are both so pale.
It's not difficult to take vitamin D

HollyBerryBush Thu 09-May-13 18:20:30

if we lead a lifestyle tht precluded dashing here there and every where, our body clocks would tell us when to go into the sun and get back out of it.

I've never understood this absolute fascination with slathering children in sun cream etc when at home. Mine NEVER played out in the heat of the day, they self regulated and came indoors etc. They never went out after 11, and usually went out again at 3.30 or thereabouts.

Different if you are taking them to a beach or park with no shade etc, then wonder why they are lobstered after 8 straight hours building sandcastles.

I was a sun worship in my teens, sun beds etc - I leaned my lesson with skin cancer in my 30's. I never go out between 11 and 3, and I never sunbathe between June and September. But I do sit in the shade as the sun is a feel good thing.

Babybeesmama Thu 09-May-13 18:22:31

I would of agreed with you until last year when my cousin died from metastic melanoma caused from a mole on her back. Was horrendous. My brother also had a malignant mole this year. X

infamouspoo Thu 09-May-13 18:38:30

I'm ginger and burn like I said at the word 'sun'. But wear long sleeves, hat, sunglasses and only sun cream my nose. I even bckpacked round India and remained lily-white using this method. My kids are all ginger too and we use this method. One isnt allowed suncream because it contains carbs and upsets his ketone balance (he's on the ketogenic diet diet for epilepsy).
So we all take D supplements as we all tested as deficient.

Veggie40 Thu 09-May-13 18:57:09

I love the sun and sit in it when it's out..which isn't often in the uk. I cover the kids up to some extent, but don't go overboard. There are chemical reduced/free sun creams readily available now, as I don't like using the chemical ones. Also, I think too much blame is put on the sun for causing skin cancer. Personally I believe eating meat causes more cancer. I saw a report by a woman in Florida who said eating meat, especially burnt barbecued meat, then putting on chemical creams and exposing yourself to the sun is just asking for trouble. I might be wrong, but that's what I believe anyway. Sun in moderation is fine, but eat healthy etc too, I say. We need the vitamin d..!

VeganCow Thu 09-May-13 19:43:54

When I was a child in the 70s we all played out - all day.
I honestly don't ever remember having sun cream on.
I wore the usual shorts and tshirt that everyone wore and had tanned arms and legs but don't remember ever burning.

KatyDid02 Thu 09-May-13 20:03:17

My DS tans at the drop of a hat; he was tanned within two days of the recent hot weather, my DD less so and the same with me. We all use factor 30 (minimum) sun screen when we are out and about, though I tend not to bother until about 10/11am nowadays and not usually after 4pm. If we use sun screen all day we tan (or not) in the same way.
DS wears a sunhat with a flap at the back and a large peak, DD refuses but then she's a teenager. Both wear sun glasses, as do I.
The lack of vitamin D bothers me, but so does the skin cancer risk. Neither of them have ever burnt.

WilsonFrickett Thu 09-May-13 20:08:24

topsi I have a South African friend who's levels went into the twenties after a couple of years here (Scotland!) and she got very unwell, lethargic, no energy, caught every cold going sort of thing. She now gets a mega-D vit prescription, it's apparently twice as much as you can get over the counter? But anyway, once her levels got topped up she was fine.

Mirage Thu 09-May-13 20:08:42

I work outdoors all day every day,can't imagine my customers being impressed if I refused to set foot outside between 11 and 3.I wear factor 50,reapply regularly wear long sleeves and jeans.Also drink full fat milk.One of my customers is a consultant and reckons I'm the only person she knows who isn't Vit D deficient.

Wincher Thu 09-May-13 20:18:33

My Dh and in laws drive me mad - they all have the kind of skin that turns brown very quickly in the sun, and if it does burn at all then is brown by the next day. They are all very proud when they manage to get a tan and totally see it as a badge of health. I burn very easily and then go back to white, and they all pity me for this. I obviously try very hard not to burn, by covering up, staying in the shade, using sun cream etc. They all feel sorry for me that I can't get a tan like they do. It drives me mad! They will not believe me when I say a tan is a sign of skin damage - they thinknitnprotects them against burning. I would rather be pale and not have skin cancer thank you. I hope it doesn't take one of them having a scare for them to change their minds.

mamamiaow Thu 09-May-13 22:05:50

I think it's important to take care in the sun.

But why don't we add Vitamin D as a supplement in milk? It's added to the milk in Florida, so why not here? Truly bizarre.

OhHullitsOnlyMeYoni Thu 09-May-13 22:17:03

I get bad dermatitis on my back and the sun is the only thing that can clear it up, in just 2 days or so.
Everything looks better when the sun shines smile

OhHullitsOnlyMeYoni Thu 09-May-13 22:20:27

All of you who have checked your vit D levels - did you have to ask your doc for a blood test for that? Or is there another way?

Littlehousesomewhere Thu 09-May-13 22:42:19

Ok I think if you are talking about people being too overly scared in the uk yanbu. I use the mets uv forecast

And this does show uv levels in the uk to be fairly low most of the year. It has reccommendations about what sun protection to use and when to seek shade. It is also good to compare to the rest of Europe when travelling as this is when I think people get caught out.

When in Australia I use their mets uv forecast too and this have the actual times of day when uv levels were considered low enough to not need protection. I imagine the met will introduced this feature in the future as it would be very useful to plan your days activities especially when abroad.

I personally dislike sun cream and prefer to use hats, long sleeves and mainly seek shade during high uv periods. Saying that I have always use SPF moisturisers to prevent aging on my face, neck and cleavage so those articles about risks of suncream do worry me.

Littlehousesomewhere Thu 09-May-13 22:58:56

Interestingly although I tan very easily (have never burned and the only times I have overdone the sun exposure by accident I have just gotten a tan) I have managed to avoid getting tanned throughout most of my life by mainly seeking share during the middle of the day, especially in areas with mid to high levels of uv.

Whoever up thread said that people mistakenly believe tans are ok or even give their skin protection is absolutely right, I think people who tan easily are lulled nto this false security. Tans are very much an indicator of sun damage, just as much as sunburn is.

LastOrdersAtTheBra Thu 09-May-13 23:17:09

Given the choice I'd rather skulk in the shade than be out in direct sun, I prefer clothes, hats and beach tent to excessive sunscreen. I think you can get more than enough sun for vit D, in the summer, when you're unable to avoid it, without ever intentionally sunbathing.

I might be wrong but I thought vitamin D deficiency in this country was mainly linked to the fact it can't be stored, so no matter how healthy your levels in summer, you'll still be low by the end of the winter. Healthy sun exposure (not midday, short time periods) will give you as much vitamin D as burning to a crisp, as there is a maximum your body can manufacture.

Leafmould Thu 09-May-13 23:26:32

It's black over yonder hill I feel we are lonely voices in this discussion. I have asked for information on mumsnet and other place before about specific advice for dark -skinned children, and have so far drawn a complete blank. Even the recent boots feel good forum with q&a from doctors about summer health issues chose to ignore my questions about skin protection fro dark skinned children. Sigh. Ah well, at least there is some wider debate happening and some specific research being done abut vitamin d deficiency. Perhaps if we keep putting our 2p worth in, it will become less white- skin centred.

Jan49 Fri 10-May-13 02:55:43

I am fair skinned and burn easily. I go red around my face, neck and collar bone and then a bit brown and then back to white after a day or so. So I try to keep covered up and wear SPF25 sun cream. I get caught out if I'm outside and don't reapply it. I think if I didn't wear suncream I'd be permanently getting burned just from everyday life. We've only had a few sunny days here so far this year and I've twice gone red after not reapplying the sun cream after an hour or two outdoors, but the sun had gone in and I was wearing a jacket and shivering so the sun didn't seem strong enough to merit putting more suncream on.

I can't actually remember if we ever wore suncream as children (1960s-70s) but I can remember getting burned sometimes on holiday (UK) and spending the rest of the holiday keeping covered up to protect my skin from further burning. But I don't think we were aware of the real dangers. We just thought burning made your skin sore.

Sorry if I have missed it but there is an article on vitamin d and sunshine in this months good housekeeping, a pretty respectable mag! Worth a look especially if you live where you are at risk of low vit d levels.

sashh Fri 10-May-13 08:51:55

Stupidly I married the only man in the UK with even paler skin than mine so poor dd is sentenced to a lifetime of factor 50 and people saying "just arrived?" on the last day of her 2 week summer sun holiday.

But she will look 25 when she is 40, she might not like it now.

I'm on high strength VitD, 1 a week because my level was 7, but I'd rather take a pill than burn.

valiumredhead Fri 10-May-13 09:12:38

and for the nth time to all those who talk about heat - TEMPERATURE IS IRRELEVANT!! Ever seen someone after a skiing holiday?

Really good point! I got badly burned on a cloudy day in Greece many moons again, wasn't particularly hot.

RooneyMara Fri 10-May-13 09:31:08

I think I'm coming round tot he idea of gradual exposure and never burning.

Rather than never going out in the sun

I think I read somewhere that people most likely to get skin cancer are those who spend little time In the sun but then get a big dose at once, like the typical 2 weeks somewhere hot, once a year - they are not used to it so more at risk of burning/damage.

I don't think my children have got burned yet, but we don't go out that much in the very strong sun - we tend to keep to evenings and early mornings when it is burning weather.

RooneyMara Fri 10-May-13 09:32:43

Oh yes I think it was the worst sort of cancer for people who aren't used to it

and people who are only get the non dangerous type? something like that

RooneyMara Fri 10-May-13 09:35:07

There are sadly some stupid people who still believe that the best way to look healthy is to go out, get burned as much as possible, then go brown after that and they think it is attractive.

The same sort of people who take someone else's second hand antibiotics for a virus, because they know better than anyone medically trained.

ChairmanoftheBored Fri 10-May-13 10:27:30

I have always believed that about 10 to 15 mins of sun exposure without suncream is a good idea. I have always done this with my children. Both very fair, and have NEVER burned. That to me is key, to not let them burn.

I put the once a day suncream on my daughter as per instructions from the school. As I can't restrict her time in the sun when I'm not there.

How on earth do you expect kids to make enough vitamin D if at the slightest hint of the sun coming out you slap on the factor 50? There have actually been cases of deficiency in kids for this very reason.

PoppyAmex Fri 10-May-13 10:43:23

"I think I read somewhere that people most likely to get skin cancer are those who spend little time In the sun but then get a big dose at once, like the typical 2 weeks somewhere hot, once a year - they are not used to it so more at risk of burning/damage."

You can't build tolerance to sun damage, ever. Please don't rely on this.

Delatron Fri 10-May-13 10:45:56

We all need 10-20 mins of unprotected sun exposure to large areas of skin (arms and legs) four times a week between the hours of 10-3 (April-Sept) to make sufficient vitamin D. Agree with Chairman above that slathering factor 50 on children before they go out every day is detrimental to their health. I make sure my two get 20 mins ish then put some organic/non chemical suncream on.

There have been loads of reports, including the one quoted earlier which shows how chemicals in suncream react with with the sun to produce damaging free radicals. For example, oxybezone, found in many creams is a hormone disruptor.. I know I sound a bit 'Daily Mail' but having had breast cancer, I have done a huge amount of research in to this area and feel Vitamin D is massively important in the prevention of cancer, my respected oncologist at Charing Cross has written a paper on it...

So, be sensible, get your daily dose then cover up or go indoors. Let's not be too scared of the sun though, as someone pointed out many people get skin cancer in areas not exposed to the sun. I have read a report that more office workers get skin cancer than people who work outside, Australian lifeguards have low levels of skin cancer...all food for thought..

Oblomov Fri 10-May-13 11:10:48

I think we have become over-zealous about the sun.
If you are sensible and reasonable and enjoy the sun, protection - be that staying in shade, hat, covering up, not lying in miday sun , without suncream for hours, etc.
If we are all sensible. Then we should be o.k.
I think we have become over-paranoid becasue of what we have been told in the last few years. And now people are afraid to sit inthe sun for more than a mili-second. I think it's all OTT.

PoppyAmex Fri 10-May-13 12:02:38

"I have read a report that more office workers get skin cancer than people who work outside, Australian lifeguards have low levels of skin cancer...all food for thought.."

That's because no one is more sun aware and takes more precautions than Australian lifeguards, trust me.

infamouspoo Fri 10-May-13 13:51:54

Out of interest, what are skin cancer rates in the Andes, Himalayas etc where people are outside all day and dont use sun screen?

WilsonFrickett Fri 10-May-13 14:51:07

Australian lifeguards have low levels of skin cancer...all food for thought..

Because Australian lifeguards take care of their skin. Skin cancer rates are higher in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, because we don't. Within that stat is something shocking about Scottish construction workers, but I can't find the link so won't quote directly. But I'd rather be an Australian lifeguard than a Scottish brickie wrt skin cancer.

Chandon Fri 10-May-13 15:38:24

Interesting topic.

I find that being outside in the sun, when It is not too hot ( eg spring or autumn, or in te morning or late afternoon) makes me feel very happy and relaxed. I love it, It is just bliss to do gardening or walking in lovely weather.

I don't burn but get very brown, which then worries me as it can't be healthy! I use factor 15-30, but still tan, which makes me thnk I need higher protection ...

It is all a bit puzzling, is being in the sun bad, even with a hat and suncream?

Delatron Fri 10-May-13 15:44:41

Yes it may well be that the lifeguards take care of their skin, but they are in the sun all day long...
Studies from the Lancet have shown those working outside have the lowest rate of skin cancer. The incidence of malignant melanoma is twice as high in office workers (again in the Lancet)
An overview of all the published research reported in the International Journal of cancer revealed that multiple studies show people with 'heavy occupational exposure' to the sun have a significantly lower risk of melanoma.

I am not saying go and bake in the sun all day. I believe these studies are interesting though and the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer is not as simple as we think. We under-estimate the beneficial effect of the sun on our skin and I do think we have gone too far the other way. Just my opinion.

I have burned after an hour in the weak April sunshine before. I don't disagree that some sun is fine, but I don't actually know anyone that is overzealous and doesn't allow a bit of sunshine a day.

Delatron Fri 10-May-13 16:21:09

The sunshine in April isn't weak though. An hour is too much (obviously). I think it is something like 50% of the Uk population are deficient in vitamin D. I guess we just need a little and often and everyone's individual needs vary. Also, we don't get sun every day here and if people are stuck in an office all week then deficiencies do occur.

valiumredhead Fri 10-May-13 16:23:24

"I think I read somewhere that people most likely to get skin cancer are those who spend little time In the sun but then get a big dose at once, like the typical 2 weeks somewhere hot, once a year - they are not used to it so more at risk of burning/damage."

No, untrue ime.

stupid question from me - is it exposure to the sun, or the actual burning that's the cause/trigger for skin cancer?

And a moan - I have very pale skin, which goes bright pink after 5 minutes in the sun, but isn't burnt as far as I can tell (I do occasionally get proper sunburn if I've misjudged the time, and it's not the same). I then spend several weeks having the "oh, got caught in the sun?" sarky comments, which is very annoying. Is it possible I am actually burnt, or is that just how my skin is?

LaQueen Fri 10-May-13 17:06:49

I agree.

Both our DDs are sporting a light, golden glow...from the sunny Bank Holiday.

One of our friends is a GP, and he often says how much nasty, gunky chemicals go into sunscreen, and that it's best avoided applying it to skin.

He recommends allwoing your DC to acquire a light tan, early on in the summer - and then keeping them out of direct sun in the middle of the day, but otherwise avoiding sunscreen, unless abroad.

WilsonFrickett Fri 10-May-13 17:09:48

Your GP is not talking for all children though LaQueen. I do not tan, at all. Neither does DS. Allowing him to 'acquire' a tan would really mean letting him get burnt.

Fairypants Fri 10-May-13 17:16:37

My mum died of skin cancer.
In my opinion, people are not careful enough and there is not sufficient protection for kids at lunchtime at school. If kids played out more after school, they would get the exposure needed without the associated risks. IMO

RooneyMara Fri 10-May-13 17:36:34

Sorry Fairy, that's awful.

I agree about schools and children getting burned in lunch time play etc. The once a day stuff is all too easily rubbed off, I don't believe in it anyway. I prefer to limit their exposure to the midday sun tbh, not fret too much about lotions.

Delatron that is the study I was on about. I did a fair bit of reading about melanoma a few years ago.

thestringcheesemassacre Fri 10-May-13 17:36:50

I cannot believe a GP worth his salt would say not to apply sunscreen.
I'm Australian, I love to tan. But I never lie in the sun without very good protection. My kids play in the sun, with suncream.hats etc on. They get a bit of colour. I'm not looking forward to my later life having to have loads of skin CANCERS removed from childhood sun exposure.

ExcuseTypos Fri 10-May-13 18:14:23

When my DDs were growing up they played outside all summer long, without sunscreen.

However, I insisted they wore sunhats and if it was very hot they played in the shade, under the trees.

If we were on the beach, with no shade they always wore sunscreen. We didn't go abroad when they were little as I couldn't see the point. You'd have to constantly stay in the shade.

magentastardust Fri 10-May-13 19:38:08

I am in Scotland, last year the health visitors here were recommending Vit D supplements for Scottish children as they aren't getting enough. They also recommended not applying sun lotion immediately and letting children have 10-15 mins sunlight before applying protection ( although not between 11-3pm).

I do always apply sun cream to my dc's when they are out in the Garden , before school etc but DS face does come out all freckles over his nose and cheeks and DD1 who has Olive skin does tan even though she is protected. DD2 is very pale and too is always covered up and stays pale , she would red within a few minutes if left.

WhitesandsofLuskentyre Fri 10-May-13 23:11:12

I'm with cheesecheeseplease - you are being totally unreasonable.

DP has had a malignant melanoma removed, probably not caused by years of living in hot climates where they were aware of the dangers, but from early exposure to the sun in the UK, back when we were clueless (Hawaiian Tropic factor 2 anyone?). The surgery he had to have was brutal.

Our DS (4) has two tiny freckles on otherwise unblemished skin and he's already paranoid about them. Wears factor 50 surfer "rash" shirts and won't go out without a hat or sun cream. It's non-negotiable in our house.

Fine, go ahead and fry yourself if that's what you want to do. But don't say you weren't warned.

Mimishimi Fri 10-May-13 23:21:19

I live in a country where 2/3 adults will be treated for skin cancer at some point in their lives. My dad, my uncle, my aunties and grandparents have all had bits burnt out of their skin. I feel I have a right to be paranoid but do take a Vitamin D supplement.

WhitesandsofLuskentyre Fri 10-May-13 23:24:49

Sorry everyone, I realise my last sentence was very angry.

Do whatever you feel is right for your children.

As someone wise said on another thread, the plural of anecdote is not 'data'.

SpanishFly Fri 10-May-13 23:50:35

I am ASTOUNDED that people STILL think you have to get sunburn to cause damage to your skin.

The SECOND your skin changes colour it's telling you it's had too much. But it's only later that you'll even know that it's changed colour, by which time we're too late

SpanishFly Fri 10-May-13 23:55:45

vegan When I was a child in the 70s we all played out - i honestly don't ever remember having sun cream on. I wore the usual shorts and tshirt that everyone wore and had tanned arms and legs but don't remember ever burning.

And that's why there's so many new cases of malignant melanoma every year among 30/40yr olds. Because no-one wore suncream. That and the fact it was the start of the package holiday culture. We'd be out all day with factor 4. And a lot of us are paying the price now.

We didn't know the dangers then but we do now, yet people are still blind to the horrors that can be caused

LaLaGabby Sat 11-May-13 02:17:02

Never mind. I agree to differ with virtually everybody.
I dont really care. It is really just a debate about words.

PariahHairy Sat 11-May-13 02:27:20

The skin cancer thing has to have a genetic element, my Mum used to be out at any sign of sun, even basting herself in butter hmm. She did die of cancer, but not the skin type.

My dc's have never burned ever, I'm not that hot with the sun screen either unless a very hot day.It's odd because I am very prone to burn as is their Dad. Must be some Mediterranean genes mixed up in there.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 11-May-13 08:50:01

But Spanish people aren't talking about basting themselves in Mediterranean sun for hours but simply not covering their dc in a cocktail of chemicals from head to toe all year round.

There is no balance or common sense.

LaQueen Sat 11-May-13 09:07:27

Wilson I appreciate that. But, our friend knows our DDs, and really he was just talking about them (and his own children), really.

DD1 has my skin tone, so she's naturally fair haired/grey-eyed, but with a warm, golden skin tone that tans easily...and DD2 has inherited DH's olive skin tones, that always looks tanned, even in December.

They have never yet burned, not even slightly, and I keep them out of the sun between 11-2, and they tend to wear long sleeved, thin t-shirts even when it's warm. But, I do avoid putting sun-cream on them, when we're in the UK.

We're off to the South of France, in July - and obviously I will be much more careful, and use sun-cream then. But, I'm expecting them to spend a lot of time in the pool, and so have bought them Gul 50+ sun-proof tops, with long sleeves and high necks in place of them wearing sun-screen in the pool (where it'll just wash off, and I'll be reapplying all the time).

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 09:13:32

blueskies id agree totally if that's all that posters were saying, but the majority of people are saying they dont burn until they've been out for X amount of time, and how April sun is mild. I once got mildly burnt after ten mins of hanging out washing at 10am on an April morning. My point is that a lot of people are very cavalier about it all, even though the dangers SHOULD be known by now.
Of course people can decide which they'd rather risk, but they need to stop saying things like "we never wore suncream and it didn't do me any harm".
I've seen some of the worst cases of sunburn after a hot uk bank holiday - a lot of people really underestimate the strength of the British sun

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 09:15:47

And my dermatologist - a very well regarded expert - says no-one should be sunbathing in the direct sunlight. Ever.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 11-May-13 09:27:30

I don't know anybody who sticks their kids out in the sun to sunbathe.

The fact is we do need some sun.

My inlaws slather their dc all year round in that all day cream,they never get a glimpse of sun and consequently their dc have a palid grey hue and catch every bug under the sun.

There is a balance and I agree with the op that the benefits of getting some sun needs to be taken on board.

Branleuse Sat 11-May-13 09:29:37

I hardly ever remember to put suncream unless its really hot and sunny. just doesn't occur to me much unless im on holiday

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 09:29:44

But you're missing my point - it's all about moderation and choice but kids don't need to be "sunbathing" to get sun damage/sunburn.

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 09:30:22

Sorry that reply was to Blueskies

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 11-May-13 09:36:36

Which is why they wear UV suits / cover up and floppy hats when on the beach or playing out in the summer months,avoid the mid day sun and keep towards the shade.

If they're out all day ditto.

However I am not slathering chemical cocktails on them all year round,every time they put a toe out of doors and the sun is shining.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 09:41:56

People are a little bit nuts on this topic, I think. My DCs are mixed race and therefore have more melanin and are at much lower risk so I never bothered slathering on a mix of chemicals that could do I know not what. Kids should be outside imo

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 09:42:41

Interesting points here. Particularly this - "
The number of new skin cancer diagnoses is rising so rapidly it's considered an epidemic. More than 1 million people will be diagnosed with a new skin cancer this year." I guarantee they're not all sunbathers and people who burn easily.

And also, I know this is unrealistic and going far too far BUT technically we dont actually need sun at all, just vitamin D in some form

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 09:44:22

Blueskies, I agree! And that's what I said - people should cover up!

But SOME PEOPLE on here are spouting some dangerous beliefs that are very far from being true

CoteDAzur Sat 11-May-13 09:46:49

I grew up in the Mediterranean, at a time when sun protection creams were unheard of. During the summer, I was in the sun all day every day and would get sunburn & peel once at the beginning of each summer. Later, sun protection creams came out but the highest factor was... 6. And now I live again on the Mediterranean, in a place with over 300 days of full-on sunshine per year. (I get checked from head to toe by a dermatologist every year, who takes photos of my moles & compares them with photos from previous year)

I use factor 30 face cream even in winter, but don't worry about sun cream elsewhere before May, and then if I expect to stay out in the sun, not if I'm going out for 5 minutes. DC get factor 50 spray when they start wearing tshirts & shorts. Neither have ever been burnt but they get pretty tanned by the end of summer, even with factor 50 reapplied many times over every day.

We have been to the UK a total of 4 weeks in the past 6 months and have seen the sun a grand total of 4 hours, I think. Imho, there is an unwarranted hysteria about sun exposure in the UK, where the sun is hardly ever out, and most people seem to have forgotten that the sun is actually good for us in moderation.

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 09:50:43

Spanishfly- the page you just linked to is American, I think our weather is a bit different in the uk.

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 09:55:16

Agree with you Cote.

The last fe summers have been dreadful in the UK.
If the sun's out for a few hours, we should all be outside enjoying it, without worrying about suncream.

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 09:58:10

But the point is the same -skin cancers are terrifyingly common now, and vitamin D doesn't need to come from the sun.

Note, I do agree that some sun exposure is good for us but the danger is how to know when we've had too much/enough

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 10:01:13

I agree Spanish - really dangerous misconceptions here.

Starting with claiming there's no danger in the UK because the sun is hardly out hmm

You can (and do) suffer sun damage on a cloudy day.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 10:03:19

VItamin D does actually need to come from the sun. There are other sources of vitamin D, but the body doesn't process it in the same way

I agree with Cote. All this slathering on cream in the UK is a product of mass hysteria. I find it difficult even to believe that those people who have developed skin cancer in the UK have done so through normal sun exposure in the UK. My white SIL had skin cancer but then again she had a tanning machine at home and lots of sun holidays.

Branleuse Sat 11-May-13 10:05:16

I really havent noticed people dropping like flies from skun cancer around me tbh. I know people do get it but really, in the uk unless youve got incredibly sensitive skin or its really hot, then its a bit ott to slather yourself and be paranoid every time you go outside. The sun is part of life.

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 10:12:50

Branleuse, lucky you, not to have seen people "dropping like flies" from skin cancer. But being flippant about it is insultingto those of us who have experienced it close to home.

"The sun is part of life." Yep. But that doesn't make it automatically safe. You wouldn't stand in the middle if a road and hope nothing awful happened to you

CoteDAzur Sat 11-May-13 10:13:31

Yes, skin cancers are happening (not really "common", I wouldn't say) but they are due to accumulated damage from decades ago. Can you really say that those people were being moderate with their sun exposure? Or can it be that they only saw the sun for two weeks per year at a beach resort, where they would bake under the sun all day every day with no protection and minimal coverage? (Where I used to live, we could easily recognise the English on holiday from their bright crimson colour)

The pendulum has swung too far the other way, imho. Slow and steady sun exposure is a good thing. I don't see why you would want to put factor 50 on DC in the winter, when the sun comes out for an hour, for example.

Mumsyblouse Sat 11-May-13 10:17:19

Spanishfly I don't think there is any doubt that sun exposure causes skin cancer, the question is whether not exposing your self to the sun (and becoming Vit d deficient as it is the main source and very hard to get through diet) also causes cancer/neurological diseases.

I feel very sorry for people with skin cancer, I have known three people have patches of skin removed (all were outdoorsy people such as gardeners/sailors/walkers though which contradicts the research on it not being outdoorsy people)- and they all didn't have the more severe form. But I also know people diagnosed with MS and other forms of cancer, and wouldn't it be awful if we find out (as research is starting to suggest) that not going in the sun and being chronically Vit D deficient contributed to their diseases.

It's no longer a tan vs skin cancer debate, it's a cancer vs possible risk of other cancers debate which has only just started.

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 10:17:28

I'm not sure anyone has said they would cover their kids in factor 50 in the winter

EnlightenedOwl Sat 11-May-13 10:18:13

Hi I was diagnosed with melanoma. Still on follow up review. So its not a topic to be flippant about really.

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 10:19:43

Mumsy, yep agreed all round. I guess I'm just frustrated with the "I never burn so I'll be fine" arguments, which is a very dangerous misconception. Skin cancer vs other diseases really is the issue, but people must find the facts before making that decision

Mumsyblouse Sat 11-May-13 10:24:02

Yes, I totally agree with you too Spanish, for every person covering their child with sunscreen before they even leave the house/using hats/UV t-shirts, where there is not enough sun exposure, there are people doing nothing at all, or letting their children burn.

I burnt a lot as a child as I have red hair and sun protection was not around, and even though I wore long t-shirts on the beach/hats, I would burn on ears, on knees, in hairline on cloudy days, on toes! Keeping me protected was just impossible. So, if you have children with a mid skin tone who you can let run around for a while (30 min or so) without sun protection (like I do now, married a foreigner!) you won't have to make so many hard decisions as someone with a very pale child as a lot of us are in the UK.

"I guess I'm just frustrated with the "I never burn so I'll be fine" arguments"

The problem is (in my case anyway and probably a lot of others) - I don't actually know when and what sunscreen I should be using. I have the whitest of white skin, very blonde hair and blue eyes so most would have me covered constantly but I don't burn and don't want to be constantly covered in chemicals every time there's some sun out.

I have no idea what should be right for me.

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 10:44:17

Schro, at least you're smart enough to question it, though. But never burning doesn't mean you're safe. And actually you don't need to be covered in suncream if you're wearing a hat and cover your shoulders. Suncream is then only needed on arms and legs (and face if it's exposed)

I always wear foundation/BB cream/tinted moisturiser and they always have an SPF (the ones I get anyway).

I'm less vigilant with the rest of my body though and admit I have probably been pretty idiotic because I don't burn.

I don't wear hats though, ever. I hate the feel of them.

I tend not to use sun screen at all unless I am somewhere very hot (used it in Florida but had some days where I used a very low SPF) but most of the time I don't bother here.

I've been a bit stupid but I don't know what I should be using and when I am generally safe. confused

I would use a sunscreen (p10) if the UV was 5 or higher.

DS is a different story altogether though, I use baby stuff on him and he's always pretty covered.

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 11:10:56

Hate to break it to you Wuldric but there absolutely are people who have developed skin cancer, in the UK, from normal exposure to the sun. Happened to my grandma. She's only ever been abroad to Ireland and Belgium, neither of which is exactly beach holiday paradise, she's never been a sun worshipper, and all her jobs have been indoors. She's just ginger, that's all. It's common enough, and a look at evolution tells us why.

Very pale skin evolved in the British Isles and areas like it because of the advantage it provides in our climate: it allows people to synthesise Vitamin D from minimal sunlight. So we do have a substantial minority of people whose skin doesn't really offer any protection from the sun, and who are going to burn if they are out in if for any length of time. As the sun is in more than it is out and weak more than it is strong in Britain, it makes sense that people with this trait flourish. The evolutionary advantages to it are stronger than the disadvantage- skin cancer. Skin cancers tend to develop later in life ie after one has reproduced, whereas Vitamin D deficiency can cause problems during the reproductive years, as this thread shows. It is of course true that we are now seeing an increase due to people holidaying in hot places and also the use of tanning booths. The increase in rates is even more worrying when you bear in mind that our population now contains a higher than ever percentage of people who are not white and therefore are at much lower risk. If all else were equal, one would logically expect lower rates to match. However, while our population still contains a substantial number of people who have skin that is optimum for synthesising Vitamin D and therefore very poor at protecting from sun damage, we are always going to see a certain amount of skin cancer even if this population don't sunbathe, go anywhere hot or use sunbeds.

The points being made about people with darker skins are interesting- vitamin D deficiency is particularly a problem there and again evolution tells us why. But it's also worth pointing out that being black doesn't mean you don't need to take any care in the sun if you're not used to it.

valiumredhead Sat 11-May-13 11:17:51

chunderella happened to my Grandad - normal sun exposure, not particularly fair skinned in fact he was dark haired and looked the picture of health with a tan. He hit his 70's and suddenly developed cancers on his head, top of ears and face - all due to spending too long gardening according to his consultant. People don't realise that it can take years before these things start developing.

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 11:18:12

Also I wish people would interrogate the idea that chemicals= bad a little bit. The fact that something is a chemical doesn't mean it shouldn't be put on anyone's skin. Water is a chemical after all. If there's a particular chemical you object to, that's different, but the idea that putting chemicals on the skin is intrinsically A Bad Thing is idiotic. Particularly given that most us live in a country where it falls out of the sky on a regular basis and lands on your skin.

TeWiSavesTheDay Sat 11-May-13 11:18:48

I am one of those that don't burn - I'm not British, but I am white, how likely is it that vitamin D is going to be a problem that might cause me other health problems vs skin cancer?

Nobody seems to have a straight answer for that. It's worth bearing in mind that Britain is a very mixed country and Icing all the advice at white Anglo Saxons who's main risk is skin cancer isn't necessarily the best thing to do.

I think that's why a lot of parents feel it's best to hedge their bets and try and keep vitamin d in mind whilst protecting from sunburn.

Now maybe we're wrong, but we can't know that yet.

Chunderella When I commented about not wanting to be covered in chemicals all the time, it's because I have really sensitive skin and can break out in rashes easily if I put stuff on my skin. The only one that really agrees with me is the P10 stuff and that's expensive.

TeWi I'm half German, may be where my problem lies with the not burning even with pale skin?

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 11:24:07

A good point Valium, my post did focus on very pale people but you don't have to be that pale to be at risk of skin cancer or indeed sun damage. I have seen olive skinned people have sore sunburn too. Its about being used to it as well as skin colour.

TeWiSavesTheDay Sat 11-May-13 11:25:49

Maybe Schro, I do really wonder what difference different genetic mixes will make. There is not one type of white and we are all the same. There's many different types who have evolved in different climates.

That's very true. There are countries where the people are much paler than in some hot countries but seem to have better resistance to the sun.

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 11:38:14

Sure Margery but the expensive cream you have to use is also comprised of chemicals. And your skin gets chemically covered whenever you get in the shower.

On the subject of Vitamin D, I read a hypothesis a while ago that a big part of the reason humans are able to live in areas with little sunlight, which are very different from what we have spent most of our history evolving to, was high fish consumption. Scotland's health stats apparently started to get truly appalling around the same time that the traditional staple of herring stopped being eaten so much. I've never really researched it, but it would make sense that eating a Vitamin D rich diet would be helpful. And of course that is something we can all do, risk free (there is some suggestion that taking too much Vitamin D in supplement form is associated with risks, but not if it comes from your diet).

I know it is but it doesn't break me out in spots and rashes! It's just too expensive to buy all the time, which is a shame.

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 11:41:19

Statistics here about deaths from skin cancer in the uk.

It says skin cancer accounts for 1% of deaths due to cancer

So out of 100 people who die from cancer, one will have had skin cancer. I may have interpreted this wrongly, but if not, it does not sound a very common cause of death to me.

Also for every 100,000 deaths in the UK, 3-4 are caused by skin cancer. So that means 999,996 deaths are caused by something other than skin cancer.

I really think people do worry too much about this.

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 11:42:40

And I would add, several people have died from different cancers in my family, including my dad, from bowel cancer, so I'm not trivialising cancer.

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 11:59:12

Excuse you may not be trivialising cancer per se, but you are, I assume accidentally, trivialising skin cancer and the non-fatal effects it has.

My grandma hasn't died of her skin cancer, and isn't likely to even though it keeps coming back every year. She has, however, had half her nose cut out undergoing four painful, scary and invasive procedures to cut out the tumours that keep reappearing. This would have been hard going for someone a third of her age, and certainly was a lot for her to cope with in her mid and late 70s. The procedures each have a temporary but significant impact on her quality of life until she recovers. After the surgery, the area always scabs over, itches like fuck, looks a mess and stings in the wind for a couple of months afterwards. This is a long time when you likely don't have many years left. People who get skin cancer don't usually die of it, but the suffering and physical disfigurement can be awful. Please be aware of this before citing the relatively low death rates and suggesting people worry too much about this.

And my sympathies for your father: bowel cancer is a bastard.

infamouspoo Sat 11-May-13 12:24:02

chunderella youre being deliberately obtuse regarding chemicals. Some are obviously ok, some are not and some turn out not to be.
I try and avoid as much as I can known carconogens while being aware I breathe shit in all the time. I dont dyre my hair knowing the link between hair dye and the cancer from known carcinogens in hair dye. And with sun screen I try and avoid the ones that are absorbed and prefer the barrier ones plus covering up, staying out the sun between 11 and 3. Same with my gingery kids. None have been sunburned. However, 3 were found to be very deficient in vit D and so now take supplements. That was a bit alarming.

fasparent Sat 11-May-13 12:38:23

We look after children and baby's our local NHS Now give free Multivits
for baby's over 6 weeks. , via our community health worker together with a record card,

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 12:39:15

No I'm not. The idea that chemicals=bad is a big part of the natural fallacy, which contributes to poor scientific education and ignorance. That is why it must be challenged, especially as at least one of the posters who has said they don't agree with putting chemicals on the skin has form for the type of thing I mention. There's a great big colossal difference between 'putting chemicals on the skin is bad' and 'putting carcinogens on the skin is bad'.

I'm with you on the rest, though. Does no harm to stay out of the sun at the hottest point, you can still get Vitamin D in the early morning and late afternoon during the summer. And while it's better to get Vitamin D from food rather than supplements, sometimes that's easier said than done with DC. You have to do what you have to do!

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 12:40:07

Chunderella, I don't think there's anything wrong in pointing out the facts about skin cancer deaths, on a thread about skin cancers.

I know people with skin cancer, my FIL has had 2 growths removed from his ears. He's a farmer so has spent his whole working life outside. Slathering sun cream on his ears several times a day, for the last 50 years may have prevented it, but would be highly impractical.

He should have worn a hat on sunny days. That would have prevented his cancer just as well as sun cream and would have been much more convenient.

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 12:59:27

There's nothing wrong with pointing out facts, no. There's a lot wrong with pointing out only some of the facts and following it up with a statement of opinion that people worry too much, whilst ignoring other important information.

People need to know that while skin cancer doesn't usually kill, it can have some extremely debilitating side effects. We all decide for themselves what an appropriate level of worry is, but I would imagine that the majority would consider having to undergo several painful procedures, recovery and losing half a nose in their 70s to be something worth taking into consideration.

infamouspoo Sat 11-May-13 13:33:26

I still cant find any info about skin cancer rates elsewhere where sun screen isnt routinely used, only that its rising in the west/Australia. But then googling on a phone isnt easy cos the screen is small and I've lost my reading glasses.
But when I travelled in various other countries people just didnt use it.

RooneyMara Sat 11-May-13 14:17:08

It may not be a common killer in terms of other cancers but when it does kill you it's pretty vicious. It's one of the ones that's not particularly treatable, once it has grown deep enough to access lymphatic and venous systems you've basically had it, give or take a few years or unless something else kills you in the interim.

Survival is shit for melanoma, unless it's 'in situ'

morbidity and mortality rates are up there

RooneyMara Sat 11-May-13 14:21:21

'I know people with skin cancer, my FIL has had 2 growths removed from his ears. He's a farmer so has spent his whole working life outside.'

sounds like basal or squamous cell, not the same thing as melanoma obvs - these are unlikely to spread beyond immediate area. You're more likely to get several primaries of this type than a primary then mets.

I will say, I don't know anyone with skin cancer, but I knew someone with it for roughly 9 months after she was diagnosed. And 15 years before she was diagnosed. She died aged 34. I learned a lot in those months.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 14:26:01

Chunderella. I am glad that you are pointing out the dangers of skin cancer, and that you have indicated that it particularly affects white-skinned people.

But forgive me, my DCs are not going to get it. They are mixed race. The chances of them getting it are vanishingly small in the first instance, living, as we do in the UK.

The bigger risk by far for them is the risk associated with Vitamin D deficiency. And you know, this alarmist stuff you are spouting about skin cancer? Does it ever occur to you that it might be worse even for white people living in the UK to cover up all the time? There really is not a lot of sunshine in the UK

RooneyMara Sat 11-May-13 14:29:46

'But forgive me, my DCs are not going to get it. They are mixed race. The chances of them getting it are vanishingly small in the first instance, living, as we do in the UK. '

Erm what an odd thing to be absolutely certain of

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 14:33:10

Look at the statistics.

Just look at them.

Then sneer

RooneyMara Sat 11-May-13 14:33:50


SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 14:36:10

Wuldric, hopefully your children wont get it, but with such a cavalier attitude it'll be purely through luck

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 14:37:42

Sneer?!! How odd.

tomorowisanotherday Sat 11-May-13 14:40:06

I haven't read the whole thread, but recently I got thinking from a link on here.....

mums change to non bio washing powder... but then cover their babies in sun cream.

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 15:05:53

"And you know, this alarmist stuff you are spouting about skin cancer? Does it ever occur to you that it might be worse even for white people living in the UK to cover up all the time? There really is not a lot of sunshine in the UK"

No it's not worse to cover up and you can get sun damage when the sun isn't actually shinning.

As far as your children not beng at risk, I hope you're right but bear in mind that darker-skinned people are more susceptible to acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) (the deadliest type of skin cancer) that typically appears on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 15:11:06

You are saying that it is not worse to cover up

The op has quoted a lecturer in dermatology who suggests that it is worse to cover up. Even for white people.

You are all mental. There is less chance of my dcs getting skin cancer living in the UK than there is of them winning the lottery. I think. I am just going through the statistics now (because I am anal like that and besides, I like statistics).

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 15:13:40

"The op has quoted a lecturer in dermatology who suggests that it is worse to cover up. Even for white people."

Worse than what?

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 15:22:18

Poppy- Strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure.

SpanishFly Sat 11-May-13 15:28:21

Bob Marley died of skin cancer.

lljkk Sat 11-May-13 15:42:45

All things in moderation. Doesn't have to be black and white thinking.

RooneyMara Sat 11-May-13 15:49:58

we're all mental? I think Wuldric that you are possibly the odd one out here.

Pfaffingabout Sat 11-May-13 16:10:19

Have a look at The Vitamin D Solution by Michael Holick. He talks about it here. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a large number of illnesses, including osteoporosis, MS, arthritis, diabetes, depression and more.

Supplements are not nearly as effective as sunlight. And unfortunately, as far north as the UK is, we are not able to synthesize vitamin D at all during winter (Oct - Mar). It's also harder for people with darker skins to get enough vitamin D.

Michael Holick suggests sensible amounts of time to go sun-screen free, based on your latitude and skin type. I can't find his tables online anywhere but for fair skinned, Northern Europeans, safe exposure in May in the UK would be 25-40 minutes before 11:00.

My mother has had a melanoma removed and I have been very careful about letting my children go out in the sun unprotected. I now realise that I may have set them up for a lifetime of other problems - p4. (paraphrased) a girl having lived in northern latitudes up to age 10 has a 100% increased risk of developing MS no matter where she lives for the rest of her life. Also increased risk of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, preeclampsia, unplanned C-section and having a child who will suffer from schizophrenia, not to mention increased risk of internal cancers, hypertension, osteoporosis, arthritis, depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia ...

I have been tested and am vitamin D deficient but struggle to get out into the sun because I work full time in an office. And it rains at weekends!

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sat 11-May-13 16:13:25

The new heart disease research is about nitric oxide production triggered by sun exposure, which is not something that can be substituted by simply taking a vitamin pill.

My general view is that I am descended from people who moved up from Africa to the north, and whose offspring evolved a useful light skinned mutation. I wouldn't be this colour if thousands of ancestors hadn't proved that it was broadly better this way to get as much as possible of the tragic excuse for sunshine we have in this country. Unfortunately the price we pay for this advantage at reproductive age is skin cancer at an older age, so we need to try and strike a balance. Skin cancer treatment is not something I want, but I don't want MS, breast cancer or colo-rectal cancer either (or prostate cancer for my son) and those are increasingly persuasively linked to low sun exposure.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 16:21:24

Yes, I'm aware that Bob Marley died of skin cancer. I am not aware of a single case of any black-skinned person dying of skin cancer who lives in the UK, where the skies are mostly grey. Perhaps Chunderella or someone who works in this field might be able to enlighten me.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 16:30:29

Slightly frustrated not to be able to get any proper statistics on this, but the McMillan website says this:

"Black- or brown-skinned people have an extremely low risk of developing skin cancer because the pigment melanin in their skin gives them protection."

What I am really looking for is studes showing what proportion of UK resident individuals get cancer, further broken down by ethnicity. Can anyone help? <nerd alert>

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 17:05:36

"Poppy- Strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure."

I assume you mean due to Vitamin D deficiency - in which case, as it's been said repeatedly on this thread, take a supplement.

D3 is widely available, affordable (free for children through the NHS, I believe) and safe so there's your problem solved.

In fact, if your concern is deficiency, you must know that it's not possible to "store" it, therefore your sporadic 15 minutes a week in the sun unprotected is not going to make a difference. It might however put you risk of skin cancer.

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 17:06:17

*apologies for the number of typos

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 17:14:01

So, you are suggesting that people who can get enough vitamin d quite naturally from sunlight should cover up (either by staying indoors or by putting chemical blockers on the skin) and make up the deficiency of vitamin d by taking supplements (which have their own issues).

Does it ever occur to you how unnatural all this is? How fundamentally wrong?

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 17:16:16

Poppy, I quoted those illnesses from the study the OP has linked to. It's nothing to do with me.

The study concluded that sunlight helped these illnesses, not a deficiency in vit D.

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 17:18:27

There so much nonsense on this thread, it's quite ridiculous.

I do wonder if people have actually read the study this thread is referring to. And this study isn't the first to say that sunlight is GOOD for people, including children.

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 17:26:21

No, you can't. I live in Scotland and it's virtually impossible to get adequate levels of Vitamin D, through sun exposure alone.

I have no patience for this "chemical" vs "natural" argument, it's reductive nonsense and in most cases ignorant.

In fact, the amount of dangerous misconceptions based mostly on anecdotal evidence on this thread is frankly scary. I knew British people were very uneducated on the dangers of unprotected sun exposure, but am honestly shocked at how bad the public perception seems to be.

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 17:27:56

Poppy Have you read the research linked to by the OP?

TattyDevine Sat 11-May-13 17:31:15

I hate sunscreen. I'd rather cover up with clothing and a hat, and limit my exposure, than slather myself in it. Its great stuff I know but I hate the grease! Tried all sorts of brands, cheap, expensive, and everything in between. But I've never liked sitting out in the sun and its probably because my skin type says I shouldn't.

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 17:32:53

Excuse, no I read the BBC link the OP linked to.

From what I could glean, it's a recent study which hasn't been published yet, with a small sample of 24 volunteers that suggests the benefits of sun exposure may outweigh the risks.

On the other side of the balance, you have a fact: unprotected sun exposure puts you at risk of skin cancer, which is in a lot of cases fatal.

CharlieMumma Sat 11-May-13 17:35:44

Considering a school colleague of mine has died this month at the age of 28 from malignant malenoma after being diagnosed in sept last year then yabu to allow dc sun cream free time. Takes two seconds to splat a bit on them and off u go and enjoy the sun safely or am i missing something?

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 17:39:55

"On the other side of the balance, you have a fact: unprotected sun exposure puts you at risk of skin cancer, *which is in a lot of cases fatal*"

What a load of utter nonsense.

For most types of skin cancer, it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 17:45:35

Anyway, I am glad the OP has started this thread.

Disappointed not to get any reliable statistics, but hey ho.

I'm glad there is a bit of rebalancing against all this slathering in sunscreen in the UK. Because it was a teensy bit nuts.

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 17:46:45

Did I say the opposite?

I said "a lot of cases", which doesn't specify a percentage.

I know English isn't my first language, but I think I'm sufficiently proficient to make myself understood?

This line of conversation isn't productive so I'm not interested in debating semantics with you.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 17:59:23

Bit snippy there Poppy

You need some sunshine smile

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 18:07:37

The big problem for people with dark skin living in the UK is that of necessity, any advice you get is going to be somewhat experimental. Although there've been a few black and brown skinned people in Britain for thousands of years, they've never been here in any great number until very recently. We just plain don't know what the balance is. Clearly people with more melanin are at less risk of skin cancer, but we don't know how relevant it is that even dark skinned people who spend their lives here don't get used to getting much sun. This is before we even start to consider Vitamin D deficiency. And given that this can be a problem for light skinned people who have adaptation to climate on their side, logic would suggest it's going to be worse for dark skinned people. It could even be that there's no non-dangerous way here. You choose your poison, as it were. Evolution not being perfect, sometimes that's the way it works. Perhaps there's no amount of sun that doesn't lead you to risk skin cancer, ME or both.

Of course, the mere fact of having pale skin doesn't necessarily mean you're well adapted to the lack of sunlight either. It's worth pointing out, though, that the older people who are getting little cancers that don't spread, like my grandma, are mostly of a generation that didn't really go abroad in their childhoods. And yet it still happens. On the subject of age, elderly black and brown people living in the UK were mostly born somewhere with stronger sun, so the UK is much weaker sun than they're used to. That's not true of their children and grandchildren who were born here. It may even be that we see an increase in skin cancer from darker skinned people who have spent their lives here, as that generation grows older.

Chunderella Sat 11-May-13 18:15:05

And Wuldric given that the vast majority of the UK population have white skin and some of those who don't aren't used to the sun anyway, the idea that slathering in sunscreen is a teeny bit nuts is, well, a bit surprising. I can absolutely understand black and brown skinned people and their parents thinking things might be different for them, and being frustrated about the lack of information. It's not like there've never been any problems in the UK with recognition of health problems specifically affecting ethnic minorities, after all. Probably it would be a good idea to aim advice about sunscreen at white people in particular. Although Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly a problem for all ethnic groups because people simply don't spend that much time outside, so that's something we all need to be aware of. But sun cream can be a lifesaver for some of us, particularly those people who can't avoid being outside in the middle of the day.

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 18:22:16

Sorry if I offended you Poppy.

But it was very important that I corrected your mistake.

badguider Sat 11-May-13 18:42:38

I've got pretty middling coloured caucasian skin and i'll be using suncream in the summer in the UK and trying really hard to get outside in the winter.
I think this study should have been press released in October as the clocks go back because most people struggle to get enough daylight in winter, not in summer. You can't just bask in the sunshine through july and hope that'll keep your vitD levels up through Jan and Dec if you're stuck indoors for all the hours of daylight in thoses months.

Wuldric Sat 11-May-13 18:47:20

Here's a link from the NHS that explains that in the UK we are not able to get vitamin D from sunlight in winter

badguider Sat 11-May-13 19:08:30

Thanks. Useful to know. I didn't know it was only UVB that was useful in making vitD. Another reason to get my yearly ski holiday to the southern Alps smile

However, having checked this recent UofE study, it seems the blood pressure reducing compound isn't linked to VitD so it would be interesting to know what type of UV rays are important for that.

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 20:08:19

"Sorry if I offended you Poppy.
But it was very important that I corrected your mistake."

You didn't and I made no mistake, you're just obsessed with semantics for reasons best known to yourself.

I said "unprotected sun exposure puts you at risk of skin cancer, which is in a lot of cases fatal" and to my knowledge this is not a mistake.

In 2010, in the UK 2,203 people died of skin cancer and I feel that in an abstract sense that's a lot of fatalities (you might disagree, but I'm sure the families of the victims don't). So in a colloquial language, I used the word "lots".

I hope this makes sense to you, because I feel debating my use of English (as I said, not my first language) is tedious and not productive when people are trying to have a serious debate.

PoppyAmex Sat 11-May-13 20:10:02

That's really interesting, thanks Chunderella

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-May-13 22:48:40

Poppy, you can say in obsessed with symantics. I was actually just trying to reassure others reading this thread, that if you get skin cancer your chances of survival is actually very high when compared with other cancers.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 12-May-13 00:03:39

my mum has had 4 skin cancers removed or treated, must never be exposed to the sun without hat and gloves (advice from dermatologist) she haas only ever had normal day to day exposure in the uk.

I burn, in the uk, in march. I have the only glow white (creamy) children in school at the moment. this is because there is no shade at school and I can not control their exposure. they get plenty of exposure to sunlight in the evening.

valiumredhead Sun 12-May-13 11:31:11

Worth reading for anyone who thinks having dark skin will protect them

specialsubject Sun 12-May-13 13:05:16

wow, even a GP is talking the 'nasty chemicals' nonsense. Should be deregistered instantly for scientific ignorance.

and still we hear 'I only wear suncream when it is hot'.

PoppyAmex Sun 12-May-13 13:12:30

I like two arguments in this thread:

1. chemical=bad / natural=good
2. all is ok in moderation

I'm sure all these mothers will stand by this when their teenagers get caught smoking pot (natural) as long as it's in moderation grin

Wuldric Sun 12-May-13 13:42:23

I take the point valium but the article you have posted acknowledges that darker skin does give substantial additional protection. Also it is an article published in the US, where in many states, there is quite a lot of sunshine. In the UK, we have leaden skies pretty well all year round.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 12-May-13 14:04:43

Suncream has some not very nice chemicals in.I even read an article not so long ago saying some scientists avoid it.

Covering up is surely better anyway as you don't need to continuously keep reapplying.You're supposed to put a shot glass full each time of the chemical type,I suspect even the zealous uber vat appliers don't put on what they're supposed to.

Letting children have some exposure,then covering up and keeping in the shade during the peak hours is surely a balanced approach.

I have never used chemical cream on my 3 and very little of the organic stuff,they have never burned.

BedHanger Sun 12-May-13 17:21:18

I like LadyIsabella's view about balance. Makes a lot of sense.

Leafmould Mon 13-May-13 01:30:34

Hello wuldric, there are one or 2 of us up thread commenting on lack of specific advice for dark skinned people.

Chunderella, I do not believe that the 'experimental' nature of advice for dark skinned people is by 'necessity'

All it takes is for cancer researchers and funders of research to be interested in researching skin cancer amongst dark skinned people.

I can't find any advice which is specific for my children, let alone 'experimental advice'

Chunderella Mon 13-May-13 11:34:24

Of course it's by necessity Leafmould because it's only very recently that we have had very many dark skinned people living in Britain. There only started to be substantial numbers being born in the UK in the 1950s- people here before that eg those that came on the Windrush were much more likely to be adults of working age when they arrived. We would need to look at a cohort who had spent their lives in the UK, across their whole lives. This is because so many diseases, whether related to too much or too little sun, appear disproportionately in later life. And because we would want to know whether having only ever lived in the British climate would make a difference. It's plausible enough that someone who was used to a high level of Vitamin D until they emigrated at 20 might be different in this respect from someone with the same level of melanin who had only ever had access to low levels. That's not to say we can't glean anything at all from looking at people who came here as adults or who were born here and are young, but not as much.

So with the best will in the world, which clearly doesn't exist, nobody can tell you with certainty what your dark skinned children ought to be doing because not enough dark skinned people have lived their whole lives out in Britain yet. As such, any advice you get would have to be experimental. This is a separate issue from the fact that you don't seem to be getting even that.

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