Does chronic sunscreen use reduce vitamin D production to insufficient levels?

Br J Dermatol. 2009 Oct;161(4):732-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09332.x. Epub 2009 Jun 4.


Exposure to ultraviolet B radiation in sunlight provides the mechanism for more than 90% of the vitamin D production in most individuals. Concern has been expressed in recent years that the widespread use of sunscreens, particularly those with high sun protection factors, may lead to a significant decrease in solar-induced previtamin D(3) in the skin, resulting in a vitamin D level which is considered insufficient for protection against a wide range of diseases. In this article the published evidence to support and to question this view is presented. It is concluded that, although sunscreens can significantly reduce the production of vitamin D under very strictly controlled conditions, their normal usage does not generally result in vitamin D insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Sunscreening Agents / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology*


  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Vitamin D