Sunscreen Is Not Making You Vitamin D Deficient

by Melanie Richtman

One of the most popular ways people rationalize not wearing sunscreen is by saying that they need to soak up vitamin D, but will sunscreen make you vitamin D deficient? While it is true that humans absorb vitamin D from the sun, it doesn't give you a free pass to completely avoid sunscreen and damage your skin with the sun's harmful rays. The final answer? No.

First of all, sunscreen alone won't make you vitamin D deficient. There are plenty of people who forgo sunscreen every day that are still vitamin D deficient. The sun's rays are not the only source of vitamin D, even though a lot of people emphasize that it's the "sunshine vitamin." You can get vitamin D from a variety of sources, food being one of them. So maybe instead of aging your skin to absorb a little vitamin D, you instead eat them. Some foods high in vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and eel (sushi anyone?), fortified milk, egg yolks, and certain mushrooms. Doesn't sound like a bad plan to me.

On top of the fact that you can be vitamin D deficient even if you are soaking up UV rays, and you get get adequate amounts of vitamin D from a plethora of yummy foods, if you are sitting in the sun to get the vitamin, you're setting yourself up for skin cancer and aging skin, even if you're only exposed for 30 minutes.

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The positive of getting vitamin D from the sun is vastly outweighed by the negative of increasing your risk of getting skin cancer. They say everything in moderation, but maybe you shouldn't sit in direct sunlight sans sunscreen on purpose to get vitamin D. Just an idea.

Image Credit: @CoppertoneUSA, @neutrogena/Instagram