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November 1995

Regular Use of Sunscreen on Vitamin D Levels

Author Affiliations

Director, Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Laboratory Department of Medicine Boston University Medical Center 80 E Concord St Boston, MA 02118

Philadelphia, Pa

Dr Matsuoka is affiliated with the Department of Dermatology, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia

Springfield, Ill

Dr Wortsman is affiliated with the Department of Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield.

Arch Dermatol. 1995;131(11):1337-1338. doi:10.1001/archderm.1995.01690230119023

We congratulate Marks and his colleagues1 for their article in the April 1995 issue of the Archives that presented a carefully controlled study assessing the effect of regular sunscreen use on vitamin D levels in an Australian population. Their results support their conclusion that when a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 17 is applied daily (at least most of the time) to the head, neck, forearms, and the dorsal aspect of the hands at least once in the morning, before going outdoors, that there was no significant effect on the vitamin D status of their subjects as determined by measuring serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D) levels. This study is consistent with our previous observation that patients with skin cancer, who always wear a sunscreen, had low serum levels of 25-OH-D.2

One of the explanations for why there may not have been any significant difference in the change in