What is the trade-off between UV skin damage and vitamin D formation?

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Glyn Cowles

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Glyn Cowles  asked the Naked Scientists:

We know that ultraviolet light in sunlight causes skin damage but it also produces vitamin D. So what is the trade off between these positive and negative aspects. I use sunblock as I have fair skin so do I need to take extra Vitamin D from other sources?

What do you think?


Offline Nizzle

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Wiki quote from the 'sunscreen' wiki page:
However, the use of sunscreens is controversial for various reasons. Many do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma (another kind of skin cancer), so people using sunscreens may be getting too much UVA without realizing it. Additionally, sunscreens block UVB, and if used consistently this can cause a deficiency of vitamin D.

So as long as you don't use it consistently, you'll be allright.

This gives me an idea: If companies would start making sunblock creams with ergocalciferol (vit. D2) or cholecalciferol (vit. D3) in it (the two molecules that are metabolized to active Vitamin D by UVB radiation), the sunblock would be a source of Vitamin D, while absorbing UV radiation [;)]
« Last Edit: 06/10/2009 16:16:10 by Nizzle »
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