The author provides a timely summary of recently published National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) (2016) guidance regarding the risks and benefits of sunlight exposure and capturing the challenges which face healthcare professionals in communicating key messages focusing on safe sunlight exposure. NICE’s latest guidance places emphasis on the role of health professionals to raise patient awareness on acceptable sun exposure levels, as well as the risks. In addition, the author emphasises the importance of aesthetic professionals familiarising themselves with the NICE (2011) guidelines on skin cancer prevention as well as the guideline on vitamin D supplementation for at-risk groups (NICE 2014). Recommendations by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and Vitamin D working group are also discussed. New information relates to the ways in which vitamin D is metabolised, as well as risk factors and consequences of deficient levels. Salient points for aesthetic practitioners concerning environmental, biological and sunlight behavioural factors are summarised, with an explanation as to how the UV spectrum is divided into distinct wavelengths. The author recommends that aesthetic practitioners should feel confident in referring patients for specialist care if vitamin D deficiency is suspected as well as initiating the correct referral pathways regarding patients suspected of early skin cancer.

Risks and benefits of sunlight exposure: putting clinical guidance into practice.
Lavers I.
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Anna Baker

BJN Aesthetic Nurse of the Year 2016.

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