Everything you need to know about vitamin D, sun damage and skin cancer


During the summer, people tend to sunbathe for longer, whether in places like the beach, the pool or just on the beach. Thus, there is a certain relationship between obtaining vitamin D, sun damage and the development of skin cancer.

This Monday, June 21, the summer officially kicks off. It is an ideal time of year to increase the levels of vitamin D in the body, since its main source is the ultraviolet rays of the sun, to which people should be exposed in extreme moderation.

And it is that the damages of the solar rays can be highly harmful to health, being one of the main factors for the appearance of skin cancer.

In this sense, experts from the Ruber International Hospital in Madrid report that skin cancer is the most common in the world. As a figure, 50% of all tumors that are diagnosed each year are skin cancer, so it is essential to influence their prevention.

Skin cancer arises in 99% of cases due to accumulated sun exposure over the years and due to sunburn. In this regard, the head of the Dermatology Unit of the Ruber International Hospital of Madrid, Luis Pastor, offers some clues.

Types of skin cancer

Some of the most common skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma (70%), squamous cell carcinoma 15% and melanoma 5%. Although, in the latter case, its malignancy is inversely proportional to its frequency.

skin cancer
Skin cancer

«Basal cell carcinoma is the most frequent, it affects 80% of the face, but it only affects the skin and adjacent structures, destroying them, but it does not migrate outside of it (it does not cause metastasis). For this reason, his treatment of choice is Mohs Surgery, which obtains optimal results, ”explains Luis Pastor.

Regarding squamous cell carcinoma, it indicates that it affects to a greater extent the scalp of bald men, ears and lower lip; being able to originate metastasis in 15 percent of the cases. Its treatment would also be surgical.

Finally, regarding melanoma, he states that “it is the least frequent of the three, but it metastasizes very frequently, depending mainly on its depth in the skin. His treatment is also surgical ».

Vitamin D and skin cancer

The main way to prevent skin cancer is to minimize sun exposure. However, sun exposure is key to increasing vitamin D levels, something that can be obtained with a moderate dose of sun.

Thus, being brown for cosmetic reasons is one of the most important factors for the development of skin cancer. Therefore, it should be noted that sunbathing in moderation is essential for vitamin D levels and also reduces the risk of skin cancer.

As explained by Dr. Luis Pastor, the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UVR) are the cause of the alteration of cellular DNA that leads to the formation of aging and skin cancer, which is why the ultraviolet rays from tanning booths help to induce skin cancer.

In short, for these specialists the best prevention of skin cancer is to avoid direct sun exposure to the skin, whether for work, social, sport or sunbathing on the beach. Similarly, it is essential to avoid the middle hours of the day.

When we are outdoors, for example at the beach this summer, it is advisable to use 50+ sunscreen and apply every three hours. In addition, it will also be effective measures to use protective caps such as hats, caps or visors.

«It is important to observe changes in the usual lesions, warts, nevus or moles and consult a dermatologist who will inform the risk and frequency of the reviews that each one should do according to their skin type (the whiter the risk), the number and type or the morphology of their nevus or moles and the history of long sun exposures or sunburns “, concludes the dermatologist Luis Pastor.

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