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New Sunscreen Protects Against Skin Cancer, Allows Body To Produce Vitamin D

BOSTON (CBS) - Many people are getting the message loud and clear. That sunscreen helps protect you against skin cancer. But some experts say all that sunscreen is creating another problem.

"That is the major cause for the vitamin D epidemic worldwide," says Dr. Michael F. Holick, an endocrinologist at the BU School of Medicine.

"Sunscreen absorbs ultraviolet light and ultraviolet light makes vitamin D in your skin, and if you put a sunscreen on with an SPF of 30 and it absorbs about 97-98% of the UV light, it will reduce the ability to make vitamin D in your skin by 97-98%," says Dr. Willett.

That can lead to a host of problems including rickets, osteoporosis, diabetes, and memory loss.

So how can we get the cancer blocking effects of sunscreen without depriving our bodies of vitamin D? Solar D. A specially formulated sunscreen that blocks harmful ultraviolet rays but allows the vitamin D-permitting rays to get through to your skin.

Dr. Holick helped design the product and says research shows it works.

"You can have your cake and eat it too is to take advantage of the sun protection factor as well as making some vitamin D in your skin," says Dr. Holick.

Solar D has been approved by the FDA and should be available on store shelves in the United States this spring. With an SPF of 30, it is expected to cost about the same as traditional sunscreens.

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