Dermatologist Questions Vitamin D Deficiency

Does sunscreen prevent me from absorbing vitamin D?

I have a Vitamin D deficiency and very sensitive skin. Usually, I burn after only 20-30 minutes of sun exposure. How can I make the most of sun exposure without doing harm to my skin?

14 Answers

Real world studies show no reduced production of vitamin D from the sun when using sunscreen. In many climates the amount of sun exposure you need to produce a blood level of Vitamin D may far exceed the safe amounts of sun you can get depending on your skin type in terms of aging and risk of skin cancer. Take a vitamin D supplement daily and work on moderating your sun exposure.
This is an excellent question. The use of sunscreen in patient with all skin types is most important to prevent skin cancer and aging plus photosensitireaction to meds etc.
I don't know your vitamin D level to begin with so I would ask your doctor if you need to supplement vitamin D and keep using sunscreen.
You must take measures to protect yourself from sun exposure as it is the number one cause of skin aging and skin cancer. If you are vitamin D deficient you can take an oral supplement to help increase your levels.
Yes, sunscreen will interfere with your skin absorbing UV light to make Vitamin D. Here's the thing: there is no safe level of sun exposure. We live in an age when the ozone layer has been depleted and there is less tree canopy in most places. Just take your Vitamin D3, along with some Vitamin K2. I recommend 5000 units per day on the Vitamin D3. It performs so many important functions, you do not want to be deficient in Vitamin D!
Yes Sun screens do block absorption of vitamin D. Sun screens are important so take vit d by mouth
Any sun block reduces Vit D production but tablet source of vit D is better and without risk. There is no Vit D in UV from the sun. It helps your body produce Vit D. Sun also does thermal damage to skin and enhance aging.
All sun exposure for prolonged periods will do harm. Eat vit D tablets and avoid direct sun.
A 5 Minutes exposure is sufficient for vitamin D
You're probably very fair skin , sunburn should be avoid cause it will increase your risk of skin cancer later in life
You'll always have to protect your skin
Without skin protection you should always never have long exposure
The best thing for you is to get your vitamin D through your diet. The amount of sun exposure is unreliable but if you wanted a few minutes per day, do it before 10 am or after 4pm.
My belief and studies show that zinc and titanium are your best sunblockers. They are physical blockers and they reflect the sun rather than absorb it so you will get less rays through. It is important to wear sun protective clothing as well. Most importantly, it is important to reapply your sunblock. Sunblock works to allow you to stay outside for just a certain amount of time longer before you burn. A proper amount of block is 2 ounces per application for the entire body. Stay away from the chemical sunscreens if you have sensitive skin.
Yes it does, but not completely. Even surfers in Hawaii get Vit D deficient. We need to take supplements or increase our dietary consumption of oily fish like sardines, mackerel and wild salmon, to achieve normal Vit D levels..
Sunscreen does block some of your ability to make vitamin D. Most people made adequate vitamin D with 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure about 3 times a week. You likely need vitamin D supplementation if you are not able to do this due to time constraints, weather, or inability for your skin to tolerate this. Discuss with your doctor the need for vitamin D supplementation.
Having Vitamin D deficiency isn't' causing you to burn, you should get atleast 15 min of sun a day. To increase that however, you should wear sunblock of only SPF 20 when you do that. If you have sensitive skin, I do not recommend more than 15 min and with that sunblock, you should do great.
The best way to elevate your Vitamin D level is to take a daily supplement of Vitamin D3, available over the counter. Heliocare, an OTC supplement for sun protection, can help you avoid getting burned. It is not, however, a replacement for sunscreen and good sun habits.

Barry I. Resnik, MD
Resnik Skin Institute
Hello, Most clinicians consider that exposing for 10 minutes per day will be enough to trigger the production of our daily needs. Sun blocks and sunscreens protect by reducing the intensity of the sun rays, but there is still some reaching our skin. Just extend the exposure time lightly, considering that the heaviest sunscreens give you between 50 and 80% blockage. Best regards.