‘If I use sun protection creams will I still get enough vitamin D’?

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What is Vitamin D?
Most of our Vitamin D is made in our skin on exposure to sunlight. About 90% of Vitamin D comes from sun exposure and the rest comes from what we eat.
The importance of Vitamin D

  • Lack of vitamin D can lead to weakening and softening of the bones. In children it can lead to rickets. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium from the diet.
  • Vitamin D reduces the risk of certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Vitamin D plays an important role in mental health and depression.
  • Vitamin D results in improved function of the immune system
  • Vitamin D can help with rheumatolic conditions such as arthritis

So can you stay safe in the sun and still get enough Vitamin D?
With the present knowledge about biology, the only known benefit from UV light on the skin is Vitamin D.
A recent study has shown that you can make Vitamin D whilst you are wearing sunscreen. The study was carried out by Dr Anotony Young at the st Johns Institute of Dermatology in Kings College London. In this study the participant had an increased level of Vitamin D despite the use of sunscreens.

The study shows that some UVB rays are able to filter into the skin through the sun protection cream therefore still allowing our bodies to produce vitamin D.

Sun creams do reduce the amount of Vitamin D your body produces, however we are shown that you are still able to produce some Vitamin D through sunscreen. It all depends on where you live in the world, for instance in London you probably won’t produce enough Vitamin D through your sun cream.

Our advice is to protect delicate skin on the Face, Neck and Hands with sun cream and keep other areas free to allow your body to produce enough Vitamin D.

The skin around the face and eyes is thinner than other areas of the body therefore it should be protected.
Also this small area does not contribute much to Vitamin D production. It is therefore very important to protect the face area as it is at a higher risk of photo damage and ageing.

Exposing just your head and arms for 15 minutes a day in the summer months is sufficient to give your body enough Vitamin D. However, this does depend on your skin type.

The paler your skin the more it will produce Vitamin D. The darker your skin the more melanin you have. Melanin protects against skin damage from too much UVB exposure. With less UVB penetrating the skin the less Vitamin D is produced each minute. So darker skins will have to stay out longer to produce enough Vitamin D and we also find darker skin more at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Paler skins can get their Vitamin D in as little as 15 minutes where as very dark skin can take a couple of hours.

You can also increase your dietary Vitamin D. Fish oil and fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel contains the highest amounts of naturally occurring Vitamin D. Eggs are another food that contain Vitamin D in small amounts. Eating one egg daily will provide you with 10% of your recommended daily needs.
It is best to ingest Vitamin D orally by taking supplements. Your body get the most of the vitamins and minerals it needs from the foods that you eat. However, there are only a few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D, so it’s almost impossible to get what your body needs from just food. So taking a supplement is an effective way to get the Vitamin D your body needs.

So here’s our Advice

  • When out in the sun always protect your Face, Neck and Hands. Photo damage from the sun’s harmful rays is irreversible. Let’s face it who wants to look Aged………………..
  • Expose your head, arms, legs in the summer months without sun cream for a short period of time daily. Expose the body area until your skin turns the lightest shade of pink. It’s tricky business trying to work out exactly how many minutes of sun you need to produce enough Vitamin D, it all depends on a number of factors.
  • Eat more Vitamin D rich foods, such as tuna, sardines, mackerel.
  • Take Vitamin D supplements orally.



Heliocare Ultra-D Oral Capsules provide all of the benefits of Heliocare Ultra Oral Capsules but with the additional supplement of Vitamin D. Ideal for those looking for protection from UV damage who are also concerned about Vitamin D levels. A capsule in the morning and repeated 4-6 hours later during periods of high risk can provide anti-oxidant protection and enhancement of the underlying skin-architecture and help protect the skin’s immunological functions and cellular DNA.

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