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SPF 50 Sunscreen Causes 12-Year-Old’s Painful Vitamin D Deficiency

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by emrankChildren need exposure to the sun

Children need exposure to the sun

Modern parents are afraid of the sun. The fear of sun damage, particularly skin cancer, causes parents to slather their children in high potency sunscreens. Unfortunately, these sunscreens work a little too well, as in the case of British 12-year-old Tyler Attril.

Mail Online reports:

By smothering her daughter in factor-50 sun screen she deprived the youngster of vitamin D, which is produced by the body as a reaction to sunlight on the skin.

If left untreated, Tyler could have developed rickets, which causes bowed legs and curvature of the spin…

But experts said Tyler was one of a growing number of children found to be suffering from the condition or associated vitamin deficiencies attributed to a combination of less active modern lifestyles and a tendency to cover up more in the sun.

Tyler struggled in severe pain for years before her problem was eventually diagnosed in November, after tests were carried out to establish why the schoolgirl was struggling to recovery properly from an unrelated operation on her leg.

British health officials now recommend people spend 15 minutes outside during peak sun hours three times a week to prevent vitamin D deficiency, as sunlight is responsible for 90 percent of our vitamin D intake.

As a new mother, my midwives advised me to expose my newborn child the sun each day for five to ten minutes a day.  They said it helped prevent jaundice.

I’ve always allowed my children time outside without sunscreen.  There have been times when I have admittedly waited to long until applying sunscreen, but as with anything to do with parenting, it’s all about balance.

There’s also the concern that the chemicals in sunscreens may actually cause skin cancer.

The importance of vitamin D has been in the news more and more over the recent years. From flu to obesity prevention, we can’t discredit the sun’s importance in maintaining our health.


  1. The issue of whether sun screens cause cancer or prevent cancer is really interesting but unfortunately not very clear yet.

    I have been following it for some time, and just about the only conclusion I have definitely come to is that very high SPF values are unlikely to be helpful and very likely to be harmful.

    I am not sure that you would ever need more than 15 and I have a feeling that we should probably be looking at about 5 or 6 most of the time.

  2. I never put sunscreen on my daughter. Even if she is outdoors in peak hours for the whole peak time (3-4 hours) she almost never burns. So I just don’t bother, and watch her shoulders for pinkness. Vitamin D is a key ingredient in our health, and covering our bodies with toxic crap to block out what is natural and has been around for millions of years is just silly to me. I will put sunscreen on myself if I know I’m going to be outside for a while, but my complexion is much darker than my daughter’s. Thank you for this.


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