Sunscreen use may lead to vitamin D deficiency

April 27, 2012
Sunscreen use may lead to vitamin D deficiency

(HealthDay) -- Using the amount and sun protection factor (SPF) of sunscreen recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is associated with little or no vitamin D production, suggesting that regular sunscreen use may lead to vitamin D deficiency, according to research published online April 18 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Annesofie Faurschou, M.D., Ph.D., of Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a study involving 37 healthy volunteers with fair skin to measure serum vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D3) levels before and after exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation following sunscreen application. Sunscreen with an SPF of 8 was applied on approximately 25 percent of body area at a concentration (thickness) of 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, or 2 mg/cm². A fixed dose of UVB of three standard erythema doses was given 20 minutes after sunscreen application every two to three days, for a total of 4 cycles.

The researchers found that thinner sunscreen layers were associated with higher vitamin D serum levels after UVB exposure. However, vitamin D levels did not significantly rise after UVB exposure in those treated with the thickest layer of sunscreen (2 mg/cm²), which is the level recommended by the WHO.

"In this study, we demonstrated that the vitamin D serum level increases in an exponential manner with decreasing thickness of sunscreen layer in response to UVB exposure. To our knowledge, this relation has not previously been described," the authors write. "Our results suggest that sunscreen use according to the current recommendations by the WHO may be re-evaluated."

Explore further: UK advice on sun creams 'not in the interests of public health,' warns DTB

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

UK advice on sun creams 'not in the interests of public health,' warns DTB

June 1, 2011
The strength of sun cream recently recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to stave off sunburn is far too low and "not in the interests of public health," warns the Drug and Therapeutics ...

Preventing the skin cancer, not just the sunburn

March 14, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- With the first day of spring just one week away, anyone who spends time in the sun should be aware of new sunscreen regulations designed to help prevent skin cancer.

High SPF sunscreens assure protection from solar rays

April 17, 2012
(HealthDay) -- An application of water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 70 or higher adequately protects people against skin cancer and photodamage even when applied irregularly, according to a study ...

Recommended for you

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

Higher levels of fluoride in pregnant woman linked to lower intelligence in their children

September 20, 2017
Fluoride in the urine of pregnant women shows a correlation with lower measures of intelligence in their children, according to University of Toronto researchers who conducted the first study of its kind and size to examine ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

freethinking
not rated yet Apr 27, 2012
I've always had a problem with sun screen. Humans were meant to be out in the sun.

I only use sun screen to protect myself against burns and I think that is all it should be used for.
alfie_null
not rated yet Apr 29, 2012
Our results suggest that sunscreen use according to the current recommendations by the WHO may be re-evaluated.

Is there evidence that vitamin D levels have decreased post wide-spread use of sunscreen? If so, are the current levels found to be inadequate (i.e. what are the adverse effects at current levels)? Are there other ways vitamin D can be introduced? Are there other reasons that sunscreen is used that the authors might care to address (or at least acknowledge)?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.