As a skin therapist I promote skin health and advise all of my clients to use a moisturiser with an SPF to protect the skin against UV which can lead to premature aging, pigmentation, skin damage and Cancer.
Skin cancer risk factors (Cancer Research website)
There are now so many products on the market containing Skin Protection Factor to shield our skins against UV, and this is something that I promote to my clients with Dermalogica's vast range of SPF skin products!
One of my clients recently was diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency. I knew about about the condition because my mum also suffered from the condition. More and more people seem to be being diagnosed with it which is worrying. Vitamin D is absorbed through the skin from the sun. We need vitamin D so that our bodies can absorb calcium for healthy bones. Catch 22 situation! Protect our skins from UV to prevent cancer but can protecting too much lead to Vitamin D deficiency?
With my lab coat on I went on a mission to find out a bit more about this condition and to find out if using a moisturiser or other skin product with SPF in it can make you deficient in Vitamin D!
Vitamin D maintains proper calcium levels in the body. The bones, nervous system and immune system depend on calcium for proper functioning. Without vitamin D, the body is unable to absorb and use calcium efficiently. Vitamin D deficiency weakens bones and leads to osteoporosis and rickets. People with vitamin D deficiency are prone to infection because of a poorly functioning immune system and are at an increased risk for cardiovascular complications.
Vitamin D and Sun
Your body manufactures vitamin D in a three-step process. The ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from sunlight stimulates skin cells to produce vitamin D precursors. The liver converts these precursors to calcidiol, which the kidneys change into the active form of vitamin D that the body can use. You may also obtain vitamin D through diet, although few foods naturally contain vitamin D.
What's the solution?
Only 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily provides adequate levels of vitamin D. People who stay indoors, wear high-SPF sunscreens or have dark skin pigmentation may not absorb enough vitamin D from sunlight and may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. These people should increase their dietary vitamin D. Fish oil and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna contain the highest amounts of naturally occurring vitamin D, with smaller amounts found in egg yolks, beef liver and cheese. Dietary vitamin D is also found in fortified foods, such as milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals, and nutritional supplements. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD), getting vitamin D from supplements is preferable to synthesis in the skin from sun exposure.
The AAD also states that unprotected UV exposure is not a safe method by which to obtain vitamin D. According to the Academy, “While UV radiation is one source of vitamin D, dermatologists argue that it is not the best source because the benefits of obtaining vitamin D through UV exposure cannot be separated from an increased risk of skin cancer.”
So does sunscreen block vitamin D production? Yes, but not enough to significantly impact vitamin D levels—and the benefits of wearing sunscreen far outweigh any perceived risk of inadequate vitamin D.
What does the International Dermal Institute at Dermalogica say....
I spoke to Dermalogica about this as they have a range of SPF products that I recommend to my clients. They explained that
"All our SPFs are protection from UVA & UVB Rays, not 100% block therefore will still allow vitamin D from the sun to filter through. The SPF protects from ageing and burning rays. The client could use Daily Defence SPF15, Skin Perfect Primer SPF30, Sheer Tint SPF20 or Redness Relief Primer as they have lower SPFs but obviously bear in mind that SPF 50 moisturisers (Dynamic Skin Recovery and Pure Light) really do help to prevent ageing and pigmentation. The body absorbs its daily intake of vitamin D in less time than it takes for the skin to burn".
For further reading about skin cancer risk factors click on the Cancer Research website link below.