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If I take a vitamin or supplement, should I stay out of the sun?


Could one of these vitamins make you sensitive to the sun's effects? Maybe. Thankfully, physician-approved databases are available outlining substances and their positive and negative effects.
Could one of these vitamins make you sensitive to the sun's effects? Maybe. Thankfully, physician-approved databases are available outlining substances and their positive and negative effects.
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Overdone, sunshine and vitamins can get a bad rap. Yet, vitamins, by their very definition, contain the essential items to sustain life. And sunlight provides your body with vitamin D, which allows your skeletal system to become strong, giving your immune system a boost [source: ODS]. The sun even plays a role in making you happier [source: Maloof].

There are instances, however, in which vitamins or supplements make you more prone to danger from those primarily healthy rays. A large group of drugs -- which are occasionally confused with supplements, and vice versa -- can cause sun sensitivity.

Think of supplements in the context of food. Their purpose is to fill in gaps, or supplement, your diet. Drugs or medications are defined by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act as chemicals, other than food, meant to treat or prevent disease [source: FDA]. Occasionally the line between a drug and a vitamin can be blurred.

Retin-A is one drug, often categorized as a vitamin that has been shown to cause sun sensitivity. It's a chemically altered form of vitamin A that's available only by prescription [source: Estridge]. Used to treat acne and other imperfections in the skin, Retin-A is acidic.

Because of its exfoliating properties, it can leave the skin extremely dry, red and more susceptible to sunburn [source: Yerman]. The degree of susceptibility varies from user to user. Retinol is a gentler, over-the-counter skin treatment that's also derived from vitamin A. Some dermatologists argue that it, too, can make the skin sensitive to sunlight [source: Yerman].

Increased sensitivity to the sun doesn't end with Retin-A and retinol. Click ahead for supplements linked to the problem.


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