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Does Sunscreen Compromise Vitamin D Levels?

Sunscreen can reduce the sun’s adverse effects, but there are concerns that it might inhibit the body’s production of vitamin D. In a new British Journal of Dermatology study, however, investigators recorded an increase of vitamin D in participants during a week of cloudless weather, with very high UV index, even when sunscreens were used properly and prevented sunburn.

Thursday, May 9, 2019 8:44 am EDT
"Our study, during a week of perfect weather in Tenerife, showed that sunscreens, even when used optimally to prevent sunburn, allowed excellent vitamin D synthesis."

Sunscreen can reduce the sun’s adverse effects, but there are concerns that it might inhibit the body’s production of vitamin D. In a new British Journal of Dermatology study, however, investigators recorded an increase of vitamin D in participants during a week of cloudless weather, with very high UV index, even when sunscreens were used properly and prevented sunburn.

Sunlight contains UVA and UVB radiation, and the latter is essential for vitamin D synthesis. Two sunscreens with the same SPF were compared. Sunscreen with a high UVA protection factor enabled significantly higher vitamin D synthesis than a low UVA protection factor sunscreen, likely because it allows more UVB transmission.

The findings indicate that the benefits of sunscreen use can be obtained without compromising vitamin D levels.

“Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. Sunscreens can prevent sunburn and skin cancer, but there has been a lot of uncertainty about the effects of sunscreens on vitamin D,” said lead author Prof. Antony Young, of King’s College London. “Our study, during a week of perfect weather in Tenerife, showed that sunscreens, even when used optimally to prevent sunburn, allowed excellent vitamin D synthesis.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjd.17888 

About Journal 

British Journal of Dermatology, the official journal of British Association of Dermatologists, publishes evidence-based dermatology, clinical trials, epidemiology, qualitative and outcomes research and translational research. A high impact international journal publishing the highest quality dermatological research that advances the understanding, management and treatment of skin disease. BJD publishes clinical and experimental research spanning a wealth of dermatological disciplines and delivers plain language summaries for patients.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, and our digital learning, assessment, certification and student-lifecycle services and solutions help universities, academic societies, businesses, governments and individuals to achieve their academic and professional goals. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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Penny Smith +44 (0) 1243 770448 (UK)
newsroom@wiley.com

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