Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 83 (2), 459-63

Darkness at Noon: Sunscreens and Vitamin D3


Darkness at Noon: Sunscreens and Vitamin D3

Robert M Sayre et al. Photochem Photobiol.


We are assured by responsible scientific and governmental organizations that sunscreens should be routinely worn to reduce skin cancer risk. We are also advised that wearing sunscreens will not hinder our ability to produce sufficient previtamin D3 (preD3) from casual sunlight exposure. We report the examination of a series of 166 solar spectra, obtained on different days throughout a year, evaluated for erythemic and preD3 effectiveness and the relative effects of recommended Sun protection factor (SPF) 15 sunscreen. The results show that the sunscreen is much more effective in blocking the formation of preD3, than its labeled SPF for preventing sunburn. In fact with sunscreen applied only miniscule amounts of preD3 are predicted to be made outdoors even with extensive exposure. This raises important questions regarding the safest way to use sunlight exposure to promote healthy vitamin D3 levels and suggests the need to modify the public safety "Safe Sun" messages.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 6 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

LinkOut - more resources