Does Tanning Affect Vitamin D Production?

Does Tanning Affect Vitamin D Production?Whether it’s true or not, tanned skin seems to elicit perceptions of vitality and good health. In reality, we’ve come to understand that tanned skin is an indication of excessive sun exposure, which can increase the risk of skin cancer. At the same time, according to a recent study, tanning may also affect vitamin D production in a negative way.
Blocking UV Rays
The body’s natural reaction to sun exposure, tanning offers low to moderate protection from sun burns and UV radiation. To see if this protection was enough to hamper the body’s ability to produce vitamin D, researchers from the University of Pernambuco Medical School in Recife, Brazil recruited 1,000 subjects between the ages of 13 and 82. All participants boasted tanned skin due to significant daily sun exposure and none took vitamin D supplements or used sunscreen on a regular basis.
After testing the vitamin D levels in each subject’s blood, the researchers determined that 72 percent were deficient – a surprising fact, considering how much sunlight the participants received on a daily basis.
What it Means
Because tanned skin indicates sun damage, experts strongly recommend that people avoid sun exposure. At the same time, this study indicates that people who do choose to tan may benefit from vitamin D supplementation.
Likewise, this research also raises concerns about the vitamin D levels in people who regularly use UV-blocking sunscreen. Since a number of studies have linked vitamin D deficiencies to an increased risk of bone problems and certain forms of cancer, many people are having difficulty balancing their concerns about skin cancer risk and vitamin D deficiencies.
What You Can Do
Because vitamin D appears to play such an important role in our health, some health experts suggest that people allow themselves to receive 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to sunlight three times a week. On the other hand, dermatologists have balked at this recommendation, because any UV exposure advances the risk of skin cancer.
Supplementation seems to be a safer way to meet daily requirements of vitamin D, especially since one person dies of melanoma every 52 minutes. If you would like to begin a vitamin D supplementation regimen, talk to your doctor about an appropriate strategy based on your age, lifestyle and individual health concerns.
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, vitamin D can be toxic when taken at high amounts, so be sure to meet with your doctor before beginning any new supplementation program, especially if you have preexisting health conditions.

Health News + Events

TikTok Health Hacks: Safe or Sham?

No matter your preferred social media channel, you’ve likely seen viral health hacks for everything from congestion to snoring to weight loss. We turned to our team of certified  Read More

How to Treat a Dog Bite

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excit  Read More

Top Health Concerns For Men

Did you know that the average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman? That’s according to Harvard Medical School, which also states that men are more likely  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Patient
Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Patient
Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Patient
Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Patient
Somers, NY