Blood Vessel Health May Improve with Sunscreen Use

Blood vessel health sunscreen useSunscreen isn’t just for the summertime. In fact, it should be worn 365 days a year to protect your skin from UV rays, which are always present. But there may be another reason to wear sunscreen, as new research suggests that sunscreen use may help protect blood vessels.

UV rays have been known to increase the risk of skin cancer and speed up skin aging, but researchers were intrigued to better understand the relationship between UV rays and the performance of blood vessels in the skin.


Previous studies have shown that UV rays influence how blood vessels in the skin behave, explicitly reducing the level of vasodilation which nitric oxide mediates.

Nitric oxide is important to help relax the blood vessels, which increases blood flow.

Vasodilation of the skins blood vessels is necessary to keep the body cool and maintain proper temperature. All skin types are able to produce nitric oxide, but a chemical known as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) helps this process. Researchers believe that UV rays reduce 5-MTHF availability, which decreases vasodilation.

Researchers looked to determine how sunscreen can play a role in blocking UV rays to prevent the reduction of 5-MTHF.

The study involved 13 healthy participants. One arm was exposed to UV rays, and the other arm was not. Each participant underwent three tests: UV alone, UV with sunscreen, and UV with sweat.


The arm exposed to UV rays with sunscreen and with sweat did not show a reduction of nitric oxide vasodilation. Wearing sunscreen was also associated with boosted vasodilation compared to the sweat arm and control arm.

First author S. Tony Wolf said, “For those who spend a lot of time working, exercising, or participating in other various activities outdoors, using sunscreen may protect not only against skin cancer but also against reductions in skin vascular function.”

Aside from promoting vasodilation, wearing sunscreen is always important to help protect the skin and slow down the appearance of aging.

Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.