As schools and early childhood services across Victoria prepare for the cold winter months, SunSmart is encouraging everyone to get some sun exposure during the week to help with vitamin D levels.
Although ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer, it is also the best natural source of vitamin D, essential for strong bones, muscles and overall health.
How much sun is enough?
In Victoria, average UV levels are below three between May and August, making it a great time to get outside for some sun to help with vitamin D levels.
At this low level, the UV is generally not damaging to the skin and sun protection is not required unless in Alpine areas, near highly reflective surfaces such as snow or outside for extended periods.
Students with fair to olive skin should receive two to three hours of sun exposure to face, arms and hands or equivalent area of skin spread across a week.
If students have naturally very dark skin, they will need approximately three to six times this recommended exposure level.
Whenever UV Index levels reach three and above sun protection is required. At that level UV radiation is intense enough to damage the skin and contribute to the risk of skin cancer.
Given UV levels vary across the state, SunSmart recommends checking the SunSmart UV Alert for your region to make sure UV levels are below three.