A handful of dermatologists we speak to say that a good amount of patients end up asking them the following… “Is sunscreen bad for you?” The patients’ reasoning: If sunscreen is protecting you from all the effects of the sun, could it be preventing you from getting your daily dose of vitamin D?
So what’s the deal with vitamin D and sunscreen? If you wear SPF every day, will you miss out on getting your essential dose of vitamin D? Long story short: Nope! Keep reading to find out how you can wear sunscreen and get the vitamin D you need.
You’ll still most likely get your daily dose of vitamin D even if you wear SPF every day.
Keep this in mind: Vitamin D and sunscreen are not mutually exclusive. The idea that sunscreen can interfere with getting the amount of vitamin D your body needs is a misconception. The amount of healthy vitamin D you need is absorbed after only 10 minutes of being in the sun, so it doesn’t take long.
This sun exposure you receive can even be accidental, meaning it can result from not applying your SPF as generously or frequently as you need to be. Furthermore, SPF 50 will never protect you from 100% of the sun’s rays (the actual percentage is 98%), so just getting out there and living in the sunshine – SPF included – means you’ll be getting your dose.
The point of sunscreen isn’t to prevent you from going out in the sun.
When people start asking is sunscreen bad for you, we get disheartened. It’s important to remember that we didn’t create sunscreen so you would sit inside all day and start to fear the sun. We created such hard-working and feel-good sunscreens so you can get out there and own the day, while protecting your skin in the process.
If you’re still worried about getting vitamin D, there are safer ways to ensure you get enough.
“You’re weighing the risk of not getting enough vitamin D versus the risk of getting skin cancer,” says NYC-based dermatologist Liza Levin. “If you’re worried about your vitamin D intake, I recommend getting it from your diet.”
While normal daily activities should be enough of a vitamin D boost (even when wearing sunscreen), there are a lot of yummy ways you can incorporate it into your diet. You can get it from eating salmon, mushrooms and eggs. If that’s not enough, take a vitamin D supplement to the tune of 600-800 intl. units per day.
The bottom line
Remember: 90 percent of the signs of aging are caused by the sun and it’s also the biggest culprit when it comes to developing skin cancer. On the flip side, it’s totally possible to get the right amount of vitamin D while still wearing sunscreen! So we really wouldn’t suggesting taking any chances.
+ Have more questions about sunscreen and vitamin D? Leave all your questions below!