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Sunscreen may block skin from producing vitamin D

Category: Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment

With summer upon us, millions of people across the country are forming plans to get outside and in the sun. While exposure to ultraviolet rays can increase an individual’s vitamin D levels, experts warn that slathering on too much sunscreen can interfere with this process, increasing the risk of receiving an unhealthy vitamin D test.

Few health experts would advise spending too much time out in the sun without protection. It is well established that this can increase an individual’s risk of skin cancer. However, a certain amount of direct sun exposure is key to maintaining health levels of vitamin D.

Therefore, pharmacy operators Joe and Teresa Graedon recently wrote in St. Louis Today that individuals may want to consider spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun before applying sunscreen. This may help their skin produce all the vitamin D they need without causing the kind of damage that can lead to skin cancer.

A recent study published in the Archives of Adolescent and Pediatric Medicine estimated that as much as 24 percent of youths may be vitamin D deficient, underscoring the importance of taking steps to maintain healthy levels. 

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