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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Constant sunscreen use causes vitamin D deficiency, says study

The study found that spending 5–30 minutes in midday sun twice per week can maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.

Image: Shutterstock/paultarasenko

CONSTANTLY USING SUNSCREEN when out in the sunshine can lead to vitamin D deficiency.

That’s according to research on Vitamin D deficiency published in the ‘Journal of the American Osteopathic Association‘.

Kim Pfotenhauer, assistant professor at Touro University and researcher on the study, said, “People are spending less time outside and, when they do go out, they’re typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.

While we want people to protect themselves against skin cancer, there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure that can be very helpful in boosting vitamin D.

The study found that increasing and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels can be as easy as spending 5–30 minutes in midday sun twice per week.

It also added that it’s important to forgo sunscreen during these sessions because SPF 15 or greater decreases vitamin D3 production by 99%. Pfotenhauer said:

You don’t need to go sunbathing at the beach to get the benefits … a simple walk with arms and legs exposed is enough for most people.

The appropriate time depends on a person’s geographic location and skin pigmentation—lighter skin synthesizes more vitamin D than darker skin.

It comes as a separate study from Trinity College Dublin last month revealed that Irish weather provides enough vitamin D during the winter months, contrary to popular belief.

Read: There’s enough Irish sunshine for Vitamin D needs all year round – but big differences depending where you live>

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