Sun Safety

STAYING SAFE IN THE SUN

In this section there are three areas:

1. The main ways to avoid sun damage

2. Sunscreens available on prescription in the UK

3.Vitamin D advice

1.  THE MAIN WAYS TO AVOID SUN DAMAGE

If you have vitiligo, your affected skin has no melanocytes and so tends to respond to the sun by burning.  Some people report a small amount of re-pigmentation in the summer, from the sun’s action on their skin, and in our “Treatments” section you will also see that people pursue re-pigmentation actively in the high sun environment of the Dead Sea.  But generally, it is safer to avoid burning by:

Avoiding the sun between 11 and 3 when its sunny  

Using the shade to protect you from the full sun

Using loose clothing, a parasol or a hat with an all-round brim to cover up 

Using a 30SPF or higher on exposed areas, including the face, neck and hands all year round

Wearing sun glasses to protect your eyes

Taking care in the car with windows down and sun roofs open

 

An App to help you!

You can also download the World UV App free for either Android or iPhone.  This app was designed by the Met Office and the British Association of Dermatologists and gives you, via GPS tracking, advice on your UV risk where you are.  It contains other useful advice on sun protection, including working out your skin type and how best to protect it from the sun.

2.  Sunscreens on prescription in the UK

When you go to see your GP, and have vitiligo extensively, for example on your hands, feet and face, you are entitled to ask for one from a small range of sunscreens to be prescribed for you.

The information on this can easily be found in the British National Formularywhich is the prescribing bible for GPs.  It is currently in Section 13.8.1.

Usually sunscreens are what is called a “Borderline substance”, leaving it to the discretion of each doctor to see if there’s a case for prescribing.

EXCEPT they “are regarded as drugs when prescribed for skin protection against ultraviolet radiation in abnormal cutaneous photosensitivity resulting from genetic disorders or photodermatoses, including vitiligo ..“

This means that the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances has given authority for doctors to prescribe. 

Please ask your GP politely but do be assured that you can get sunscreen.  

They may need to write ‘ACBS’ on the prescription to indicate that there’s approval to prescribe.

The recommendation is for all sunscreens to be 30SPF or over.

Here’s the ones you can get (pictures are illustration only and you may get a different product on prescription):

Anthelios® (L’Oréal Active) for example:

sunscreen loreal

 

Sunsense® Ultra (Crawford), for example:

The 500ml pump is available and is an economical option if you pay for prescriptions.  

You can get small bottles to decant it into, and then carry some around in your bag or briefcase or pocket.

sunsense 50

Uvistat® (LPC), for example:

uvistat

The full advice from the British National Formulary can be found here

3.  Vitamin D Advice

In July 2016 the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition updated its advice on Vitamin D for the population as a whole.
It advised that, because it is hard to get sufficient naturally rich food sources of Vitamin D into your diet, people should take a supplement.

If you have vitiligo, wear camouflage and/or sunscreen or avoid the sun, you are even less likely to be able to produce sufficient levels of Vitamin D from exposure to sunshine.

We therefore echo the government’s advice to take a Vitamin D supplement.

The government report stated that the amount to take was recommended to be “10 μg/d (400 IU/d)… for the UK population aged 4y and above”

This means, when purchasing a supplement, you should look for one that has 400 IU in it, of cholecalciferol or vitamin D3. So, for example, search for “Vitamin D3 400 iu”.  For example, on Amazon there are a number of supplements you can purchase that fit that requirement.