Tag Archive: Vitamin D

This is a great post on the Personal Care Truth or Scare website concerning the EWG. I’ve touched on the EWG and their special interests in previous blog posts, but thought this one was worth adding….. View full article »

Here is a good overview on sunscreen from a very good website. It doesn’t get in to great detail but does a good job of answering some of those general questions most of us have about sunscreen……

Click here for Personal Care Truth or Scare

When I first started delving into sun protection it appeared the Environmental Working Group (EWG) was a stern advocate of the consumer, especially when it came to personal care ingredients. I have since learned this group is essentially a lobbying firm out to promote their own political agendas. My concern over their criticism of sunscreen use is that they use scare tactics and fear mongering to progress their internal objectives. This could be done at the expense of the consumer, possibly influencing their decision to not use a product like sunscreen, to protect themselves from UV damage and possibly skin cancer. I have read all of their claims as they relate to sunscreen and sunscreen ingredients. I will post more here as I deem fit, but for now, it is important to know they are not the noble consumer advocates they lead you to believe they are…..

Here is a link to the Skin Cancer Foundations web page that addresses some of the EWG’s recent claims. Please keep your mind open and wear sunscreen. Protect yourself and your kids from the harmful rays of the sun….


If you have 45 minutes, this lecture is extremely interesting and informative and correlates Vitamin D production, UVB/UVA irradiants, malignant melanoma and the use of sunscreens. A couple of noteworthy items that I pulled from the data and discussion:

  • Malignant melanoma is a disease of higher latitudes and developed economies
  • Ozone and sulfur dioxide (common pollutant) absorb UVB (the radiation required for vitamin D production in the body)
  • Areas where ozone levels are highest see a higher incidence of melanoma
  • UVA is a likely carcinogen responsible for melanoma
  • Some of the common chemical UV filters block UVB rays but fluoresce the energy into the UVA spectrum
  • The FDA has not done any randomized control trials on chemical UV filters.

I welcome comments and questions on this lecture and subject matter in the blog. Dr. Gorham has done some interesting work here and it’s very telling.

There is a lot of recent talk about Vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. population, especially in children. Poor diet, lack of exercise and participation of outdoor activities are a few of the reasons being cited. I’ll steer away from the diet side of things and speak very briefly on the topic of sun exposure.

First, lets understand that the human body can produce its own Vitamin D with the help of UVB rays from the sun. UVB penetrates the skin and converts cutaneous 7-dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D3, which is then converted to Vitamin D3. How much sun exposure needed for this process to occur, and the body to produce the RDA of Vitamin D, is hard to pin down. Variables that affect this process include geographic latitude, skin type (melanin content), time spent outdoors and cloud cover, to name a few. As a result, someone living in upstate New York in the winter months would not produce the same amount of Vitamin D as someone living in Florida during the same time of year (all else being equal). The general guideline is that anyone living south of a line from Los Angeles to Columbia, South Carolina (latitudes below 34 degrees north) would have the ability to get adequate UVB exposure, year-round, to produce enough Vitamin D on their own. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure between 10am-3pm, at least twice a week, to the face, arms, legs or back is sufficient for Vitamin D synthesis.

There has been concern published over the use of sunscreens and their ability to inhibit UVB exposure and, ultimately, the production of Vitamin D in the body. Recall in my earlier blog post (Is Higher SPF Better?) that there’s not a sunscreen product that can offer 100% protection from the sun. Moreover, people rarely use the enough sunscreen and often times do not cover themselves completely so there’s UVB getting through to the skin, in most cases, even if sunscreen is being used. I will continue to evaluate the Vitamin D dilemma, but it’s apparent Vitamin D deficiency is not about wearing, or not wearing, sunscreen. It’s about outdoor frequency and diet. You need to be protecting yourself when out in the sun. Don’t let the rumor mill compel you or your children to not wear sun protection regularly.