Q: Does wearing sunscreen put you at risk for a vitamin D deficiency?
A: UVB rays are shortwave rays from the sun that are important for generating vitamin D in your skin, which is a critical vitamin for regulating the amount of calcium in your body. How much vitamin D your skin produces depends on a few factors, including:
- The time of day – your skin produces more vitamin D if you expose it during peak sunlight hours (10am – 3pm)
- Where you live – the closer to the equator you live, the easier it is for you to produce vitamin D from sunlight year round.
- The color of your skin – fair skin makes vitamin D more quickly than darker skin.
- The amount of skin you expose – the more skin your expose the more vitamin D your body will produce.
Sunscreen protects your skin by blocking UVA and UVB rays, so naturally, application of sunscreen will limit the amount of vitamin D your body can produce in a given day. Do not let this discourage you from using sunscreen! Most people apply sunscreen inconsistently and use less than the recommended amount and therefore are not typically deficient in vitamin D. However, if you are still concerned that sunscreen will put you at risk for vitamin D deficiency, ask your doctor to recommend a vitamin D supplement.
If you are looking to purchase some new sunscreen, don’t forget that we carry several moisturizers with built-in sun protection. Call us for more info!
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