It's acknowledged that we require a certain amount of sun exposure in order to manufacture our essential Vitamin D stores. Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
During periods of sunlight, vitamin D is stored in fat and then released when sunlight is not available.
One of the most important roles of vitamin D is supporting immune health, which helps you ward off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Vitamin D directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infections. If you often become sick, especially with colds or the flu, low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor.
Since the introduction of sunscreens the incidence of skin cancer has grown exponentially. Why? Well, perhaps it's a combination of more people feeling they can confidently expose themselves to the sun because they've plastered themselves in this new magic cream or that many sunscreens are laden with toxic carcinogenic chemicals.
This great article by The Environmental Working Group sums this up:
The trouble with ingredients in sunscreens
Damned if you do, damned if you don't?
It is actually possible to strike a healthy balance between getting enough sun exposure to satisfy your body's need to make Vitamin D, and not exposing your skin to damaging UV rays or toxic chemicals. People are wising-up and ethical and natural companies have taken it upon themselves to research ingredients to find natural, harmless and even health-promoting ingredients to make the time that you do have to spend in the sun safe all-round.
It's all about balance
The balance therefore is moderation, as with all things: spend time in the sun when the sun's at its least strong, i.e. not between the hours of 11am and 3pm, to give your skin the chance to synthesise its essential stores of vitamin D, and if you do have to spend more time in the sun, use light protective clothing and a natural sunscreen like Shade™ All-Natural Sunscreen, which has only 4 carefully selected ingredients to offer you the broadest range of sun protection, whilst at the same time conditioning and moisturising your skin and most importantly NOT dosing you or your kids up with dangerous chemicals.
By the way
Vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin. It is produced by the kidneys that helps to control the concentration of calcium in the blood and is vital for the development of strong bones and a healthy immune system.