In this August's issue of the Placebo Journal we did a couple of parodies about the sun industry. One ripped on the dermatologists who despises its existence. The other rips on the tanning institution which is loving all the new evidence of our need for vitamin D. These are very funny so I recommend you check it out. Anyway, the big question is do we need to be outside more? Absolutely! There is more and more evidence showing that we don't get enough sunshine which lowers our vitamin D level. A nice article by John Fauber for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal highlights the conclusions that are coming out about this problem. It seems that the lower your vitamin D level, the higher chance you have from dying. I don't really think we truly understand this phenomenon totally. More research is definitely needed but there is no doubt that something is going on as people are coming down with rickets again! Also, to think we can get all our vitamin D from food is ridiculous.
The bottom line is the the dermatologists were wrong; plain and simple. They needed to feel important and have a cause so that they could save the world and they made the sun evil for everyone. Forget the fact that melanoma may not be related to the sun (though both SCC and BCC are). The truth is that they overstepped their authority by declaring that SPF 1,000,000 is needed at all times and that we should all become moles and live underground.
To all dermatologists: you are needed and help out in many ways. Yes you earn, for some unknown reason, four times what we primary care docs make. That isn't point (though I won't deny my jealousy). I just wanted to tell you that things will be alright. Just leave the sun alone and go back to your jobs.
For everyone else in the world, get the hell outside!