Overview on vitamin D and sunbed use

L. Pierret, M. Suppa, S. Gandini, V. del Marmol, J. Gutermuth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vitamin D seems to be associated with a protective effect in a vast range of diseases, including cardiovascular, autoimmune and oncologic conditions. Since ultraviolet (UV) B light is the most important prerequisite for the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D, sunbeds are able to increase serum vitamin D levels, although only transiently in most cases. In this scenario, the artificial tanning industry relentlessly tries to promote the use of sunbeds as a ‘safe’ therapeutic measure to achieve an adequate serum vitamin D status. The World Health Organization classified UV-emitting tanning devices, as well as the whole UV spectrum, as group-1 carcinogens, as they significantly increase the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. In case of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, the current risk-benefit ratio is therefore in favour of vitamin D supplementation instead of sunbed use. Artificial tanning devices should never be considered as an option to achieve an appropriate vitamin D status. Their supposedly beneficial effects, vastly publicised by the artificial tanning industry, are not worth the carcinogenic risk associated with sunbed use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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