Vitamin D deficiency may be tied to sunscreen use

May 9, 2012

Sunscreen used as recommended by the World Health Organization may lead to vitamin D deficiency, a small study suggests.

Copenhagen, Denmark - Sunscreen used as recommended by the World Health Organization may lead to vitamin D deficiency, a small study suggests.

The study, conducted among 37 healthy volunteers by investigators with Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, measured serum levels of vitamin D before and after applying sunscreen with a SPF 8 in various thicknesses over approximately 25 percent of the body, HealthDay News reports. Every two to three days, patients received a fixed dose of UVB radiation 20 minutes after applying the sunscreen, receiving a total of four cycles.

Research showed that thinner layers of sunscreen were associated with higher vitamin D serum levels after UVB exposure. But when applied at the thickest level, as recommended by the WHO, vitamin D levels did not significantly rise, according to the study, which was published online in the British Journal of Dermatology.

"Our results suggest that sunscreen use according to the current recommendations by the WHO may be re-evaluated," the authors wrote.

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