DOES SUNSCREEN BLOCK
VITAMIN D?

Article Read Duration 6 min read

Discover everything you need to know about Vitamin D, its benefits & why you should wear sunscreen 365 days a year.

Vitamin D is a highly beneficial nutrient that plays an essential role in many processes in the body, from keeping bones and teeth healthy to supporting the immune system. While it’s accurate that sun exposure prompts the body to synthesise vitamin D, there are many misconceptions around this process.

There exists a commonly held idea that wearing sunscreen blocks vitamin D from being synthesised in the skin, however the health risks of skipping SPF far outweigh any possible benefits.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about vitamin D, its benefits and why wearing sunscreen for sun protection every day of the year is the most important step of your morning skincare routine. You’ll also learn how to include alternative sources of vitamin D in your diet. 

What are the benefits of vitamin D?

Despite the name, vitamin D is not technically a vitamin, but rather a prohormone (precursor to a hormone). Vitamins are essential nutrients that can’t be produced by the body, whereas the body can synthesise vitamin D in response to exposure to the sun. There are also many foods high in vitamin D as well as oral dietary supplements available to achieve optimal levels in the body. 

Vitamin D is essential to many bodily functions. These include regulating healthy calcium levels in the bones and teeth and supporting the brain, lungs, cardiovascular system, immune system and nervous system. Research also shows that vitamin D may protect against the development of type one diabetes.

Considering all the benefits of vitamin D, it’s clear that maintaining healthy levels of this nutrient is essential for our health. 

What is a healthy level of vitamin D?

Medical advice shows that adults aged between 19 and 79 should aim to get 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day, although recommendations vary depending on age and other factors. Speak to your healthcare professional to discuss solutions such as supplements or dietary sources if you’re concerned that your vitamin D may be low.

Does sunscreen cause vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is a serious health issue, however there is no evidence that using sunscreen can cause vitamin D deficiency. “Studies don’t show a significant difference between the amount of vitamin D in people who wear sunscreen strictly and those who don’t. “Dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald tells us. Australian research has shown that even when study participants used sunscreen daily, they did not develop suboptimal levels of vitamin D even without supplementing their intake via other sources.  Sunscreen is very effective at preventing sun damage and burning caused by UV radiation, but even SPF50+ formulations let a small percentage of UV through to the skin, which in turn triggers the body’s natural vitamin D synthesis process. Consequently, protecting your skin from UV rays 365 days a year protects your skin from the serious effects of sun damage. 

“If people are particularly concerned or low in vitamin D, I would suggest oral supplementation, which is safe and easy. The other thing we can do is always make sure we’re protecting the areas that are frequently exposed to the sun and the areas where you’re concerned about pigmentation, skin cancer, or signs of ageing, especially the face, but allow some low dose sun exposure on other areas.”  Dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald tells us.

Put simply, the benefits of sun protection outweigh the low risk of vitamin D deficiency.

The importance of sun protection

The damaging effects of UVA and UVB radiation occur all year round, even on gloomy days. Unprotected sun exposure can cause premature visible ageing, burning, DNA damage and skin cancer, so it follows that the benefits of sunscreen far outweigh any vitamin D considerations. La Roche-Posay recommends applying an SPF 50+ sunscreen 365 days a year for optimal protection.

Remember that sun damage is cumulative, every day you don’t protect your skin from UV exposure is another day of cumulative damage for your skin.

All sunscreens in our Anthelios range provide very high broad spectrum protection with an SPF of 50+, with formulas that are designed for everyday wear.

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.

Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.

Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF50+

Our Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF50+ is a favourite of the range and known for its very lightweight texture delivering very high broad spectrum protection with invisible finish. Here is what you have to say on it “I adore this sunscreen - it’s lightweight, has no strong odour and no white cast and doesn’t leave that oily/sticky residue that normal sunscreen can leave behind.” Lozza, Beauty Crew

Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch Facial Sunscreen SPF50+

For acne-prone, combination or oily skin types, our Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch Facial Sunscreen SPF50+ is well suited to provide sun protection with a mattifying texture. The non-greasy formula is shine-free.

Additional sources of vitamin D

Did you know that there are many other ways to increase your vitamin D levels without sun exposure? There are both natural and fortified dietary sources of vitamin D containing suitable amounts to maintain levels of this nutrient. 

Tuna, mackerel and salmon are all naturally rich in vitamin D, as are cheese and egg yolks. There are also several fruits with vitamin D including apricots and peaches. Foods such as milk and bread are also commonly fortified with vitamin D. When consumed together, vitamin D and calcium’s benefits are compounded. For this reason, foods are often fortified with both nutrients.

Now that you’re fully informed about why protecting your skin with broad spectrum sunscreen does not cause vitamin D deficiency, learn more about UV radiation and the importance of SPF by reading our article Why You Need to Wear Sunscreen Every Day.


ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.
Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.

DISCOVER THE
ANTHELIOS RANGE

Anthelios is a pioneering player in the sun care market. Its broad-spectrum, very high protection is the result of almost 30 years of advanced clinical research into sun care and sensitive skin.

TRUE
OR FALSE

SUN CAN MAKE
YOU AGE PREMATURELY.

TRUE

UVA rays disrupt skin’s inner building blocks such as collagen and elastin fibres. Over time,sun exposure causes a loss of plumpness and elasticity as well as wrinkles. UVB rays also stimulate patchy and irregular pigment production leading to dark spots and a sallow complexion. Globally, these changes in the skin are known as photo-ageing.
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NO NEED TO WEAR SUN
PROTECTION WHEN IT'S CLOUDY.

FALSE

Even on a grey and rainy day, skin is exposed to UV rays that will gradually cause the stigmata of photo-ageing to appear. To fully protect your skin, opt for sunscreen every day, not just when it’s warm and sunny. 
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THE EARLIER A SKIN
CANCER IS DETECTED, THE BETTER.

TRUE

TRUE. If detected early, 90% of skin cancers are curable. That is why screening is so important between dermatologist visits, to keep an eye on your moles and those of your loved ones.
And of course, make sunscreen a daily non-negotiable to protect your moles and prevent skin cancer.
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