Meet the sunscreen that allows body to produce vitamin D


vitamin d and sunscreen

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Vitamin D and sunlight go hand-in-hand. If you don't get enough sun exposure, you may have vitamin D deficiency.

Widespread use of sunscreen has been cited as one of the reasons we may not be catching enough rays. When properly applied, an SPF of 30 reduces the capacity of the skin to produce vitamin D by almost 98%. Obviously, the answer is not to stop using sunscreen. But is there a way around this quandary? Researchers at the Boston University Medical Center may have hit on a solution.

The team has developed a process for altering the ingredients in sunscreen without affecting its sun protection factor (SPF) that allows the body to produce vitamin D. The findings, published in the peer reviewed journal PLOS ONE, has led to the production of a new sunscreen called Solar D.

According to the researchers, there are several chemical compounds that are typically used in a sunscreen that efficiently absorbed varying wavelengths of UVB radiation. After removing certain ingredients the researchers compared Solar D, which has an SPF of 30, to a popular commercial sunscreen with the same SPF, and found Solar D allowed for up to 50% more production of vitamin D in-vitro.

"Solar D was designed with compounds with differing filter compositions to maximize vitamin D production while maintaining its sun protection for reducing erythema or burning of the skin," explained corresponding author Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine and an endocrinologist at Boston Medical Center.

Solar D is currently available in Australia and will be available in the U.S. summer 2016.