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Skincare Expert, Liz Earle, says ‘get out more’ as she backs charity’s sunlight campaign

British beauty entrepreneur and skincare specialist Liz Earle MBE is backing the National Osteoporosis Society’s Sunlight Campaign and urging people to spend more time outside to boost their vitamin D levels with some safe summer sun.

The Sunlight Campaign reminds people across the UK to get outside for a few minutes every day between May and September to keep their vitamin D levels topped up, because vitamin D is essential for healthy bones.

Liz Earle says:

“Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but so many people still don’t realise that a little bit of sunlight is actually good for us.

For centuries, we have known that vitamin D is beneficial for bone, and that we need vitamin D to absorb calcium from our diet, but too many of us are reluctant to spend any time outdoors without sunscreen, because of very real concerns about skin cancer and ageing. 

But it’s all about using common sense: the key thing to remember is not to burn, so for most people ten minutes once or twice a day in the summer months should be enough to give our vitamin D levels a boost.

I have fair skin, so I try to get 10 minutes of sunlight on my skin each day in the summer – and all it takes is a few changes. Keeping your legs and arms bare, by wearing a skirt or a sleeveless top is an ideal way to boost your vitamin D levels.

I’m very proud to work with the National Osteoporosis Society because osteoporosis is extremely common and affects about three million people, men as well as women, and not just older people.  More people need to understand that we need to look after our bones at all stages of life and not just when we’re older.

Our bones reach their peak when we’re in our mid to late twenties, so we need to build our bones up when we are young with plenty of weight-bearing exercise, a healthy, balanced diet which includes lots of calcium rich foods, and vitamin D through safe sunlight. As we get older, it’s really important to maintain our bone strength because it really will help us to prevent painful broken bones, or fragility fractures, in later life.

Since being involved with the Sunlight campaign I have become far more aware of our bodies’ need for vitamin D and how vital it is for our bones.”

When first creating my eponymous skincare range, I resisted fierce opposition and did not include sunscreens for several good reasons. Firstly, in Northern Europe, you don’t need a sunscreen on a daily basis and, as most moisturisers are applied morning and evening, you certainly don’t need one overnight! Secondly, synthetic chemical sunscreens can trigger skin sensitivity and eczema-prone skin such as mine can’t cope with them. Finally – and perhaps most importantly – the amount of sunscreen in a facial moisturiser is so small that after applying it in the morning, its protective effects will almost certainly have worn off by lunchtime.”

The best source of vitamin D is through safe summer sunlight but for people who can’t get outdoors much, or for those who need to avoid the sun because they have a history of skin cancer, the Department of Health recommends 400IU of vitamin D.

  1. Sunlight is the best natural source of Vitamin D.  Vitamin D helps our bodies to process calcium effectively and is essential for healthy bones.
  2. Exposure to sunlight every day between 11am and 3pm from May until September will increase Vitamin D and help to keep bones healthy.
  3. You should try to get 10 minutes of sun exposure to your bare skin, once or twice a day (depending on skin type), without sunscreen and taking care not to burn.
  4. Always take care not to burn, especially during the strong sunshine in the middle of the day.  Babies and children have very sensitive skin and need careful protection.
  5. Even on cloudy days, your body can still produce Vitamin D from sunlight but it can take a little longer.
  6. Make sure that you are actually outside.  Your body cannot produce Vitamin D even if you are sitting by a window or in a conservatory on a sunny day. You must be outside.
  7. Only a small proportion of vitamin D comes from the food we eat, but it is still important to include vitamin D rich foods in your diet, such as oily fish and eggs.  Many margarines, breakfast cereals and dairy alternatives are fortified, but do check the label.
  8. If you are 65+ years, not exposed to much sun (e.g. housebound or cover-up for cultural reasons) or a pregnant or breast-feeding woman, you should consider taking a daily, 10 micrograms (400IU), vitamin D supplement.

Did you know?

  • Only about 10% of our vitamin D comes from food.
  • If your skin starts to burn, your body will begin to deplete the vitamin D that it has produced so safe sun is always best.
  • If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is at the right angle to produce vitamin D.
  • Your body cannot produce vitamin D thorough windows – you need to be outside.
  • Even on cloudy summer days, we can still produce vitamin D but it can take a little longer.

More information about The Sunlight Campaign »

Image: iStockphoto

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