Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Vitamin D is essential for good health, because it helps our bodies to absorb calcium from the diet. There is a lot of evidence that having enough vitamin D can help prevent against many diseases, such as heart disease, bone diseases and cancer. Although vitamins generally come from the diet, in the case of vitamin D, the majority of people actually get most of it from sunlight. National guidance on requirements for vitamin D assumes that casual exposure of limited areas of skin to summer sunlight is sufficient to avoid vitamin D deficiency. Previous studies have shown that a six week course of exposures to simulated summer sunlight while casually dressed (shorts and T-shirt) can produce adequate vitamin D levels in the majority of the UK white Caucasian population. The aim of this study is to determine if exposure of only hands and face can produce a sufficient rise in vitamin D levels to avoid deficiency.
Who can participate?
Healthy white Caucasian adults aged between 20 and 60.
What does the study involve?
All participants undergo a six week course of treatment, in which they are exposed to simulated sunlight (ultraviolet light) wearing clothes that expose only hands and face. Blood samples are taken at the start of the study, and then once a week so that the amount of vitamin D can be measured.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participants will not benefit directly from taking part in this study, however if they are found to have vitamin D deficiency, their GP will be informed in order to offer advice and/or treatment. No notable risks are anticipated, however there may be slight discomfort and bruising following the blood sample.
Where is the study run from?
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (UK)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
November 2015 to October 2016
Who is funding the study?
The British Skin Foundation (UK)
Who is the main contact?
1. Dr Mark Farrar (scientific)
2. Mrs Joanne Osman (public)
Dr Mark Farrar
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Mrs Joanne Osman
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
An experimental photodermatology study examining the impact of hands and face exposure on cutaneous vitamin D production
The aim of this study is to examine the change in vitamin D levels of white Caucasian adults during a course of simulated summer sunlight exposures to the hands and face.
University of Manchester Research Ethics Committee, 22/10/2015, ref: 15440
Non-randomised; Interventional; Design type: Prevention, Treatment
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Non randomised study
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Topic: Dermatology; Subtopic: Skin (all Subtopics); Disease: Dermatology
All participants undergo the intervention involving solar-simulated ultraviolet radiation. A dose of 1.3 SED (standard erythema dose) is given three times a week for 6 weeks. Blood samples are taken at the start of each week, before the first exposure, and one 3 days after the final exposure. Total duration for treatment and follow-up is 6 weeks.
Primary outcome measure
Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration is measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrophotometry (LC-MS/MS) at baseline and then weekly for up to 6 weeks.
Secondary outcome measures
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Aged 20-60 years
4. White Caucasian (sun-reactive skin type I-IV)
5. Willing and capable of participating to the extent and degree required by the protocol
Target number of participants
Planned Sample Size: 40; UK Sample Size: 40
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Sunbathing or sunbed use in the last 3 months
2. Taking photoactive medication or bone active therapies
3. Taking vitamin D, fish oil or calcium supplements
4. History of skin cancer or photosensitivity disorder
5. Pregnancy or lactation
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust Photobiology Unit Stott Lane Salford
British Skin Foundation
Funding Body Type
private sector organisation
Funding Body Subtype
Trusts, charities, foundations (both publically funded and privately funded)
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Primary outcome data will be published once data have been validated and analysed.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
To be made available at a later date
Basic results (scientific)