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Could applying high factor sunscreen to children be doing more harm than good?

As the weather starts to get better and the nights are drawing out, parents are applying high factor sunscreen to their children. But could they be doing more harm than good? 


In a recent story published in the Daily Mail, Suzi Head had been smothering her 6 year old son in factor 50 sunscreen every time he went to play out. This resulted in him developing joint pain which was later diagnosed with serious vitamin D deficiency and rickets.


Rickets was almost eradicated in Britain by the distribution of vitamin D rich cod liver oil supplements.


Leading Paediatric surgeon Professor Nick Clarke said: ‘Practically the only available source of Vitamin D is from sunshine.  Most children don’t like oily fish and that is practically the only food which contains high levels of it. If you’re protecting against the sun by using a factor 50 sunscreen you will not generate any vitamin D.’ He continues to say ‘there is a growing problem because children are outside much less than they used to be. They are texting each other instead of playing outside and parent often drive them to and from school. They are outdoors less than ever.  This can have important consequences for adult life and we are now linking vitamin D deficiency to multiple sclerosis.’


Last updated: 15-05-2013