Q: As I have very fair skin, I apply factor-30 sunblock every day come rain or shine, as my dermatologist suggested. But what about getting enough vitamin D, for which I believe you need sunlight? Is solving one problem just going to result in a different one?
A: Fortunately you only have to have a short exposure to the summer sun to develop sufficient vitamin D; about 15 minutes a day is thought to be enough.
In addition those with fairer skins, such as you, convert vitamin D faster than those with darker skins.
Even with your diligent application of sunscreen, as long as you spend a reasonable time outdoors each day in the summer, you should have sufficient exposure.
Some vitamin D can be obtained from diet (eg eggs, dairy products and oily fish), but it is thought that at least 90% of it comes from sun exposure in the summer months. There is not enough UV light in the winter to do the job so in high latitude countries we rely on body stores to get us through to spring.
If you are very concerned about your vitamin D levels you can have them measured on a blood test and take a supplement if the levels are low.
Read more about staying safe in the sun
Read our guide to vitamin D
Don't take risks with the sun
Vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter
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