Background: Global concern about vitamin D deficiency has fuelled debates on photoprotection and the importance of solar exposure to meet vitamin D requirements. Objectives: To review the published evidence to reach a consensus on the influence of photoprotection by sunscreens on vitamin D status, considering other relevant factors. Methods: An international panel of 13 experts in endocrinology, dermatology, photobiology, epidemiology and biological anthropology reviewed the literature prior to a 1-day meeting in June 2017, during which the evidence was discussed. Methods of assessment and determining factors of vitamin D status, and public health perspectives were examined and consequences of sun exposure and the effects of photoprotection were assessed. Results: A serum level of ≥ 50 nmol L−1 25(OH)D is a target for all individuals. Broad-spectrum sunscreens that prevent erythema are unlikely to compromise vitamin D status in healthy populations. Vitamin D screening should be restricted to those at risk of hypovitaminosis, such as patients with photosensitivity disorders, who require rigorous photoprotection. Screening and supplementation are advised for this group. Conclusions: Sunscreen use for daily and recreational photoprotection does not compromise vitamin D synthesis, even when applied under optimal conditions. What's already known about this topic?. Knowledge of the relationship between solar exposure behaviour, sunscreen use and vitamin D is important for public health but there is confusion about optimal vitamin D status and the safest way to achieve this. Practical recommendations on the potential impact of daily and/or recreational sunscreens on vitamin D status are lacking for healthy people. What does this study add?. Judicious use of daily broad-spectrum sunscreens with high ultraviolet (UV) A protection will not compromise vitamin D status in healthy people. However, photoprotection strategies for patients with photosensitivity disorders that include high sun-protection factor sunscreens with high UVA protection, along with protective clothing and shade-seeking behaviour are likely to compromise vitamin D status. Screening for vitamin D status and supplementation are recommended in patients with photosensitivity disorders.
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