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Updated: Apr 17, 2023

This shouldn’t even be a question, however, in today’s context it needs to be answered!

With the previous & ongoing advertisement and marketing of Sunscreens, people have become wary of going out in the sun.

In fact, if you have travelled on Indian roads, you will find most of the people riding their two-wheelers with a long glove-like thing to cover their exposed hands so that they don’t get the tan!



Since the mid-1980s there has been increased emphasis worldwide on the importance of teaching proper sun care habits. While the core message behind teaching sun care is legitimate and necessary, much of recent public discussion about sun care falls in the category of over-stated hyperbole we call “sun scare”.

  • The correct spirit of sun care means teaching people to minimize the risks of overexposure to sunlight while still allowing them to take advantage of the benefits of regular exposure to the sun, “sun scare” stretches the science beyond the data, creating an all-out marketing blitz to unnecessarily scare people about any sun exposure.

  • In the 1970s sunscreens were first introduced as a way to prevent sunburning. The sunscreens contained UVB-absorbing chemicals such as para-aminobenzoic acid because it was believed that only UVB radiation damaged the skin and caused skin cancer. It is now realized that UVA radiation not only alters the immune system making it more immunotolerant but also increases the risk for non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers. Over the past four decades with very little thought as to its consequences, several national and international health organizations have condemned any direct sun exposure.

The American Academy of Dermatology has taken the extreme position of recommending that no one should ever be exposed to direct sunlight without sun protection. This radical view of sunlight and UVB radiation has led to its designation as a carcinogen. To suggest that one should never be exposed to sunlight because excessive exposure to sunlight is linked to an increased risk for non-melanoma skin cancer is like suggesting that because breathing 100% oxygen can cause lung damage and death, no one should breathe an atmosphere that contains 20% oxygen.


Vitamin D is metabolized sequentially in the liver and kidneys into 25-hydroxy vitamin D which is a major circulating form and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D which is the biologically active form respectively.

Most cells and organs in the body have a vitamin D receptor and many cells and organs are able to produce 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D.

There has been a lot of discussion as to whether ingesting vitamin D from the diet or from a supplement is the same as producing vitamin D3 in the skin. Because it takes approximately ~8 h for pre-vitamin D3 in the skin to fully convert to vitamin D3 and it takes additional time for the vitamin D3 to enter the dermal capillary bed this is at least 2 of the explanations for why it was observed that vitamin D3 produced in the skin last 2–3 times longer in the circulation when compared with ingesting it orally.

Furthermore when vitamin D3 is produced in the skin 100% of it is potentially bound to the vitamin D binding protein.

When vitamin D3 is ingested from the diet or supplement it gets incorporated into chylomicrons which are transported into the lymphatic system and then into the venous system where approximately 60% of the vitamin D3 is bound to the vitamin D binding protein and 40% is rapidly cleared in the lipoprotein bound fraction.


In a country like India, where there is no dearth of sunlight, people are deficient in Vit D3, particularly in the urban areas. Part of the problem is being in their office space from 9-5! And if ever they get the chance to be in the Sun, they put on their sunscreens or cover themselves up fully so as not to get tanned.

This trend has increased the overall consumption of supplemental D3, which is somewhat sub-optimal as far as functions are concerned but still better than being deficient and facing much more severe problems.

Our tip: Try exposing your body (with the least covering) in the sun at least on the weekends for 30-45 mins in the time frame of 8 am-3.30 pm!

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