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Skin Care and Diseases

Vitamin D and Sun Exposure



I’ve read many places that one should use SPF 50 whenever you go outside. I’ve also heard that there is a growing Vitamin D deficiency being observed and that sun-blockers are contributing to this deficiency. Some say that there is no safe level of sun exposure, others are saying you should expose your skin to the sun a little to help generate Vitamin D and gain other benefits of letting your skin "breathe". What is the proper amount of sun that one should receive (without sunscreen) to gain the benefits of vitamin D generation and still not unduly risk skin cancer? Thank you for the information.


You are correct that this is an area of controversy. My position reflects that of the American Academy of Dermatology and is that we should all be using a broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA as well as UVB protection and a sun protection factor of an least 30. The recommended amt of intake of Vitamin D is generally 400 -600 IU and you can certainly have your Vitamin D blood levels measured by your PCP. If they are low, you can take a supplement to bring them into the normal range.

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Response by:

Neil J Korman, MD, PhD Neil J Korman, MD, PhD
Professor of Dermatology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University