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Oh come on, make your minds up why don’t you? About sun exposure, that is. Today’s news forecasts a dramatic U turn by Cancer Research UK in its advice on sun protection and exposure. Apparently, the charity is just days from changing its current advice – that is, to avoid exposure to summer sunlight between the hours of 11am and 3pm – because experts now think the whole sun protection thing is making people deficient in vitamin D (that’s the vitamin your skin makes when it’s exposed to the sun’s rays).

Now, thanks to The Independent, which broke this story yesterday (oops, apologies for my not keeping up), we’re set for even more confusion about when and when not to venture out sans SPF. Apparently, a few minutes in the midday sun, unprotected from UV rays, could do us the power of good, since getting enough vitamin D in your diet is practically impossible (hello, supplements anyone?).

The draft document allegedly states:“Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign encourages people to enjoy the sun safely and avoid exposures that lead to sunburn. However, for most people, sunlight is also an important source of vitamin D, which is essential for good bone health. It is important to ensure that skin cancer prevention messages are balanced with the need to make enough vitamin D.”

Er, okay.

I look at this kind of thing all day, every day, and I’m still confused. But I think the key word in all this is MINUTES. In other words, this is no excuse to strip off and sunbathe from dawn till dusk. Be sensible. And whatever you do, don’t let your skin burn. So if you’re pale and freckly like me, a quick blast of UV is enough (personally I prefer to protect my skin but get my vitamin D in pill form… but that’s another story).