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Protecting the skin from the sun doesn’t increase fracture risk
- By Kelly Bilodeau, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Research we’re watching
Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, because exposure to the sun’s rays increases its levels in your body. Getting enough vitamin D is crucial to bone health, so a group of researchers wondered: could taking measures to protect yourself from sun exposure put you at higher risk for bone thinning or a bone break?
The answer, they concluded, was no, according to the study, which was published online October 27, 2021, by JAMA Dermatology. They looked at data from 3,418 adults, ages 20 and older, from a health and nutrition study. They compared the people who said they engaged in sun-protective behaviors — such as seeking shade on sunny days, wearing long sleeves outside, and using sunscreen — with those who did not take as many measures to protect themselves from the sun. Those who practiced sun-safe behaviors, the researchers found, did not have lower bone density levels or a higher risk of bone fractures related to the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis. This is good news for people who shun the sun and slather on the sunscreen. You don’t have to choose between your skin and bone health.Image: © Filipovic018/Getty Images
About the Author
Kelly Bilodeau, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
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