Thankfully, these days we are well aware of the damage the sun can cause us. From premature aging (or as my girlfriend and I like to call it - 'leather skin'!) to skin cancer, the picture that has been painted for us is pretty damn grim.
Nowadays many of us lather up the sunscreen and make sure we stay in the shade where possible on a daily basis.
But did you know that by avoiding the sun all together we may in fact be doing ourselves more harm than good?
You see the sun produces a lovely little thing called vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, is required for bone growth, and is essential for the human body to function properly.
Whilst you can get vitamin D from foods such as fish, dairy, margarine, ready-to-eat cereals, liver and beef, the best, most effective way to get your daily hit of vitamin D is simply by sitting out in the sun!
Now I'm not saying go and bake yourself on the beach for 5 hours until you start to resemble a lobster. Here in Australia (in the often not-so-sunny Melbourne) getting yourself around 10-15 minutes sunshine daily in Summer, and a little more (aim for 30-40 minutes) during Winter months is all you need. And even if it's just some rays on your legs and arms, that's all you need!
Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or greater will block UV rays that produce vitamin D so try to get your dose of sunshine before you lather up.
Just because I feel like I'm seriously lacking some vitamin D I'm heading off to Port Douglas this week!
7 whole days of sun, swimming, sleep and ice cream - I can't wait! :)