Sun worshippers can no longer use their need for vitamin D as an excuse to avoid sun cream, reports Anna Hunter
First we reported that sunscreen holds wrinkles at bay , now we’re extolling another virtue of this lifesaving lotion. Or rather, we shall dispel a falsehood associated with it; sun cream does not, in fact, prevent the absorption of vitamin D as previously thought.
A comprehensive new study part-funded by Boots and conducted by St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London, recruited 79 men and women holidaying on a sunny Tenerife beach (tough gig) and measured the vitamin D levels of sunscreen wearers before and after sun exposure. All participants had “adequate” baseline vitamin D levels of approximately 50nmol/l prior to applying sunscreen and playing on the playa. After sun exposure, professor of experimental photobiology Anthony Young revealed that:
“Despite the use of sunscreen, participants experienced an average increase to their baseline vitamin D levels of an additional 16nmol/l, indicating that the use of sunscreen still allows the body to produce significant amounts of vitamin D from sunlight exposure.”
This news is especially heartening for those who need a boost to their vitamin D levels, as we make 90% of our vitamin D through sunlight (we source only 10% from our diets). Although supplements are always an option for the D deficient, there’s now absolutely no excuse to scrimp on the sun cream in an effort to increase your vitamin intake.
Lucky too, as nature’s vitality vitamin regulates cell growth and the balance of nutrients in the body to maintain healthy bones and teeth, in addition to protecting neuromuscular and immune function. It’s even more important to keep vitamin D levels up during pregnancy and childhood, so if you’re expecting or have young ones in tow feel free to frolic in the sunshine - just make sure you’re well protected against the sun’s nastier side.