Does sunscreen compromise vitamin D levels?

sunscreen
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

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 newBritish Journal of Dermatologystudy, 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 usedproperly 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 , 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."


Explore further

Smart steps for sun protection

More information: A.R. Young et al. Optimal sunscreen use, during a sun‐holiday with a very high UV index, allows vitamin D synthesis without sunburn, British Journal of Dermatology (2019). DOI: 10.1111/bjd.17888
Journal information: British Journal of Dermatology

Provided by Wiley
Citation: Does sunscreen compromise vitamin D levels? (2019, May 9) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-05-sunscreen-compromise-vitamin-d.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

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