University Of Tasmania
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Skin photosensitivity is associated with 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and BMD but not fractures independent of melanin density in older caucasian adults

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Whether skin photosensitivity modulates sun exposure behaviours, consequent vitamin D status and skeletal health outcomes independently of constitutive pigmentation have not been systematically investigated. 1072 community-dwelling adults aged 50-80 years had skin photosensitivity quantified by questionnaire and melanin density by spectrophotometry. Bone mineral density (BMD), falls risk and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) were measured using DXA, short form physiological profile assessment and radioimmunoassay, respectively. Sun exposure and symptomatic fractures were assessed by questionnaire. Participants were followed up at 2.5 (n = 879), 5 (n = 767) and 10 (n = 571) years. Higher resistance to sunburn and greater ability to tan were associated with reduced sun protection behaviours (RR 0.87, p < 0.001 & RR 0.88, p < 0.001), higher lifetime discretionary sun exposure in summer (RR 1.05, p = 0.001 & RR 1.07, p = 0.001) and winter (RR 1.07, p = 0.001 & RR 1.08, p = 0.02) and fewer lifetime sunburns (RR 0.86, p < 0.001 & RR 0.91, p = 0.001). Higher resistance to sunburn was associated with lower total body (β = - 0.006, p = 0.047) and femoral neck (β = - 0.006, p = 0.038) BMD, but paradoxically, fewer prevalent fractures (RR 0.94, p = 0.042). Greater ability to tan was associated with higher 25OHD (β = 1.43, p = 0.04), lumbar spine (β = 0.014, p = 0.046) and total body (β = 0.013, p = 0.006) BMD, but not fracture or falls risk. These associations were independent of constitutive melanin density. Cutaneous photosensitivity was associated with sun exposure behaviours, cutaneous sequelae and, consequently, 25OHD and BMD in older Caucasian adults independent of constitutive melanin density. There was no consistent association with fracture outcomes, suggesting environmental factors are at least as important.


Publication title

Calcified Tissue International






Menzies Institute for Medical Research



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175 Fifth Ave, New York, USA, Ny, 10010

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

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Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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