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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.

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.

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'

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

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

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.

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.

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

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'.

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

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

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.

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.

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

That's really interesting, thanks Chunderella

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.

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.

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 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.

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

Sorry if I offended you Poppy.

But it was very important that I corrected your mistake.

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.

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.

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

Bit snippy there Poppy

You need some sunshine smile

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 17:45:35

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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