Vitamin D and Sunscreen

Now that it’s summer you’re probably ready to lather on the sunscreen. But you may also be wondering about news reports that say sunscreen interferes with the body’s ability to make vitamin D, a nutrient you must have to absorb calcium and build strong bones.

How much vitamin D your body makes depends upon your skin color, the time of year, your age and where you live. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure twice a week without sunscreen may be all you need. Some
experts believe even that may be too much, however. Unprotected exposure to sun increases your risk for skin cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you wear sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 15 whenever you’re outside, even on cloudy days. Supplements and food sources can fulfill your vitamin D requirements.

When you buy sunscreen

Buy products that provide broad spectrum protection, meaning they block UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays. UVB rays make skin turn red and cause sunburn. UVA rays are longer, penetrate skin more deeply, and cause wrinkling and other signs of aging. Both can cause skin cancer.