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AAD Addresses Vitamin D-Sun Myths

Posted: November 25, 2009

With vitamin D becoming a buzzword in the health industry, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has addressed some of the myths and controversies that are associated with the sun, skin and vitamin D.

When it comes to vitamin D, consumers are bombarded with mixed messages about the best source for this essential nutrient. While some may argue that small doses of intentional sun exposure are safe, dermatologists point out that the risk of developing skin cancer from ultraviolet (UV) radiation far outweighs the benefit of stimulating vitamin D production – particularly when enriched foods and supplements are safe and effective sources of this vitamin.

Speaking at the American Academy of Dermatology’s SKIN academy, Washington, D.C., dermatologist Elizabeth L. Tanzi, MD, FAAD, clinical faculty in the department of dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital Center in Baltimore, addressed common myths about sun exposure, sunscreen and vitamin D, and announced the Academy’s increased recommendation on the minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of sunscreen.

“Despite years of ongoing public education efforts on the dangers of UV radiation, a number of misconceptions remain as to how to best protect ourselves from this known carcinogen and whether or not we absolutely need sun exposure for vitamin D production,” said Dr. Tanzi. “The fact is these myths are harmful because sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer, and the consequences of this misinformation could be potentially fatal.”

Myth: Sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is vital for strong bones and a healthy immune system. Deficiency of vitamin D is associated with bone softening in adults, rickets in children and, more recently, with high blood pressure, arthritis, type I diabetes and certain cancers.