Vitamin D and Your Skin Tone
Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus play an important role in our bone health.
Sun and Vitamin D
Sun's UVB radiation kick starts the synthesis of vitamin D in our skin. Vitamin D generated in our skin is an inactive form of Vitamin D. From the skin, it makes its way to the liver and kidneys. This is where it gets converted to the active form of Vitamin D.
Your skin tone and vitamin D
The synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin is dependent on skin tone. Melanin is a pigment found in the skin. It acts as an umbrella against the sun's rays. The amount of melanin is higher in darker skin toned people. Higher melanin means more protection from the sun's rays. Higher melanin means your skin produces less vitamin D (because higher melanin means more protection from the sun's rays). This is why darker skin toned people synthesise less Vitamin D.
Will not using sunscreen help me synthesise more Vitamin D?
Question: By using sunscreen am I not further reducing the intensity of the sun's rays that can reach me? If I give sunscreen a miss won't I be synthesising more Vitamin D?
Just typing those sentences about not using sunscreen, has caused immense pain to my mind, heart and fingers.This is what most expert advice leans towards when it comes to Vitamin D:
- The risk of skin cancer is high when no sunscreen is used. Gaining vitamin D at the risk of skin cancer is not worth it. Go out when the sun is out - but never without sunscreen. Never without sunscreen.
- If you are getting less vitamin D from the sun, it can be effectively gained from supplements. Consult a doctor for the right supplements.