Sunscreen may reduce the sun's adverse effects. A sunscreen that is high in UVA radiation enables significantly higher vitamin D synthesis than a low UVA protection factor sunscreen, reveals a new study.
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.
‘Sunscreens can help prevent sunburn, but allow vitamin D synthesis. A higher UVA‐PF sunscreen enables higher vitamin D synthesis than a sunscreen that is low in UVA‐PF.’
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."