Sunlight exposure: risks and benefits

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Excessive exposure to sunlight is linked to sunburn, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Not enough exposure to sunlight can lead to low vitamin D status. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with rickets, osteomalacia, falls, and lack of muscle strength and function. It has been reported that the incidence of rickets is re-emerging among children in the UK. Conflicting advice on sunlight exposure shows there is a need to communicate balanced information to patients.

This Guidelines summary provides recommendations for those at risk of over‑ or under- exposure to sunlight, and includes supporting information for practitioners.

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