Study launched into sun exposure thresholds for different skin types
A new study has been launched to examine the optimum threshold levels for vitamin D and ultraviolet light in different skin types.
Researchers from the University of Manchester said that for the first time they will examine the effects of UV and vitamin D in tandem, rather than in separate studies, to determine the level of sun exposure that will deliver enough vitamin D without over-exposure to UV rays for each type of skin.
Professor Lesley Rhodes of the University of Manchester, who is leading the research, told the BBC: “Vitamin D is the best-known beneficial effect of sunlight whereas there’s no doubt that ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is the major cause of skin cancer…For the first time we’re performing a study to examine those hand in hand, we’re looking at risks and benefits within the same study.”
She said that nationally we don’t have all the information to give people the best advice, particularly because sun warnings are geared towards very fair white-skinned people.
“We need to be giving more advice on healthy levels of sun exposure also to people with the more olivey-white skins, brown skins and black skins, and that’s a major objective of our research,” she added.
She said a lot of useful research had already been done but that “the crux of the threshold levels for skin damage – DNA damage that leads to skin cancer – and the threshold levels for vitamin D synthesis in different skin types” had not been examined so far.
The research will involve two types of study: one in the laboratory giving people simulated sunlight and the other more observational, seeing how people are affected by vitamin D and UV during normal sunlight exposure in their daily lives.