Does Sunscreen Cause A Vitamin-D Defiency?

If you’re a dark skinned Indian like me, you’ve practically grown up with people telling you at least one of these sayings: “Stay out of the sun!” or “Wear lots of sunscreen!”

I have worn lots of sunscreen, but it didn’t stop my tanning. I’d like to think the sunscreen has helped me somehow though. :))

But are the chemicals from sunscreen just… chemicals? Do they have any negative side effects? If the sun helps your body to produce Vitamin-D, then does wearing sunscreen prevent that production?

Here’s what I’ll talk about today:

How Do We Get Vitamin D?

To produce Vitamin D, you need a certain type of UV ray: UVB. UVB is the main cause of sunburns and most skin damage (b for burning!!) When UVB is absorbed by your skin, it interacts with a protein in your skin called 7-DHC and is converted into the active form of Vitamin D.

There is also another type of UV ray called UVA. This is responsible for tanning and aging (a for aging!). UVA is usually the most common UV ray in tanning beds, so if you’re planning to get your Vitamin D source from a tanning bed, it won’t work and it will only hurt your skin more.

Ok, I know what you’re probably thinking: “Is Vitamin D even worth it??”

Vitamin D is important because it helps your body absorb calcium and phosphate to promote healthy bones.

Without Vitamin D, you’re more susceptible to getting breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart diseases, depression, weight gain, Rickets (under developed bones in children), or osteoporosis (deteriorating bones in adults).

Basically you can get cancer by being in the sun and also out of the sun :))

Most adults need about 10-15 micrograms of Vitamin D per day, this can be fulfilled with just 30 minutes outside in direct sunlight. Keep in mind though, that this time will vary depending on factors like skin color (darker skinned people don’t absorb as much sun light as light skinned), fat content, etc.

If you feel like you’re short of Vitamin D, other sources include:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, etc)
  • Liver
  • Egg yolk
  • Supplements
  • Etc

How Can You Tell If You’re Short Of Vitamin D?

You could just send a blood sample to get tested- that’s probably the only accurate way you can tell if you have 10-15 micrograms of Vitamin D… but that’s going to take more time and effort than what I think any of us really want to do.

Generally, symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Getting sick often- signs of weakened immune system
  • Fatigue- though this is common and not always linked to vitamin D deficiency
  • Bone/Back Pain
  • Depression
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Etc
How I feel knowing that skin damage is inevitable no matter how much sunscreen you apply…

Does Sunscreen Block The Sun-Rays We Need?

If you use Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen, about 80% of the sun’s rays aren’t being absorbed by your skin. And if you have darker skin, your melanin also prevents your skin from absorbing some of the sun’s rays. So, yes, sunscreen does its job of protecting your skin from UV rays.

There are two ways sunscreen does this:

  1. Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s UV rays. Active ingredients usually include: Oxybenzone, avobenzone, etc. Usually those with darker skin should go with chemical sunscreens if they want to avoid a white cast on their skin.
  2. Physical sunscreens usually include zinc, which causes the sunscreen’s white cast on darker skinned tones. Physical sunscreens physically block or reflect UV rays.

Are there Any Negative Side Effects Of Sunscreen?

It’s been proven that what our skin absorbs is spread throughout our body by our bloodstream. The FDA doesn’t have enough studies about whether or not we apply enough sunscreen for it be absorbed by our skin and cause harm to our body. So far, they claim that it safe and advise to keep wearing sunscreen, or if you don’t want to, just stay out of the sun as much as you can.

Conclusion: Does Sunscreen Prevent Vitamin-D production?

Yes, it does.

But, really, you only need to worry about that if you apply a LOT of sunscreen every two hours the proper way. The proper way is applying 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of your face every two hours (this statistic is based off of the efficiency of sunscreen over a length of time). But who’s counting?

Plus, sunscreen doesn’t block 100% of the sun’s rays, so you should be getting a sufficient amount of UV rays to make vitamin D.

In conclusion, keep wearing sunscreen!!

That’s the end of this post! Sorry for the late upload :))

Please Like, Comment, and Subscribe!

Love, Moe ❤

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Blog about Skin and Self Care

4 thoughts on “Does Sunscreen Cause A Vitamin-D Defiency?

  1. Oo interesting, I didn’t know that it is recommended to apply sunscreen every 2 hours. I will keep that in mind the next time I’m out in the sun! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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