Vitamin D is critical to health in many ways. But if UVB rays stimulate your skin's vitamin D production, is sunscreen preventing you from getting enough of this vital nutrient?
Technically, the answer is yes. But luckily, many other factors come into play, so don't stop using sunscreen. Let’s go through the full vitamin D details.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that human beings must get from outside sources. Your body activates vitamin D and turns it into a hormone known as 'calcitriol'.
Most vitamin D comes from UVB exposure, but you can also get vitamin D from:
- Fortified foods, including milk, orange juice, and cereal
- Naturally vitamin-D-rich foods, such as fish and beef
So there’s no reason to worry about your sunscreen blocking vitamin D as long as you consume the right foods or supplement your diet.
However, up to 58% of the population is thought to be deficient in vitamin D. If you're concerned that you might be one of these people, definitely consult your doctor.
So sunscreen DOES prevent vitamin D production?
While sunscreen does prevent you from manufacturing vitamin D via those otherwise harmful UVB rays, tonnes of other factors also inhibit natural vitamin D production.
For example, depending on where you live, you may not be producing any vitamin D from the months of October to February, particularly if you're far from the Equator. The closer to the Equator you are, the more sun you’ll get.
Quite a few other factors inhibit vitamin D exposure, including air quality in your area, your age, and the amount of melanin in your skin. With all that said, sunscreen is the least of your vitamin D problems, especially since most people don’t apply or reapply nearly enough product to fully protect their skin.
So, with absolutely perfect application, yes, sunscreen could cause some issues with vitamin D. However, with all the other factors at play preventing vitamin D absorption, it’s likely your sunscreen isn’t significantly interfering with your D.
If you want to increase your vitamin D intake, check out this article on foods rich in vitamin D, or add a supplement to your diet. But before doing any of that, be sure to check with your physician about what is and is not safe for you take, and what your vitamin D levels actually look like.
So breathe a sigh of relief: no real worries about your sunscreen! Keep rocking it, and if you need a new one, check out all of our options. Adore Beauty offers everything from sunscreen oils to powders to high-quality body creams. We’re here to keep you protected, no matter what the season.