No such thing as a safe tan, say experts
Published 09/02/2016 | 08:27
There is no such thing as a safe tan, a health watchdog has warned as it published new guidance on the risks and benefits of sunlight.
The report - from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) - said adults needed between six and eight teaspoons (35ml) of sun cream per application and should always aim for an SPF of 15 or higher.
It said "there is no safe or healthy way to get a tan from sunlight", adding that a tan provides little protection against further exposure to the sun.
It said while people should expose their arms and legs to the sun for short periods in order to build up vitamin D, this had to be balanced against the risks of skin cancer.
The report said it was not possible to get enough vitamin D by sitting next to a closed sunny window and it was also not possible to get enough vitamin D from sunlight between October and March in Ireland.
It stopped short of recommending a specific amount of time people should stay out without sun cream to build up vitamin D. However, experts agreed that "short (less than the time it takes for skin to redden or burn), frequent periods of sunlight exposure are best for vitamin D synthesis.
It said this type of exposure was also "less likely to result in skin cancer".
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to musculoskeletal conditions such as rickets - which is re-emerging among children - and lack of muscle strength and function.