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Approved Research

Sunlight, skin colour and health outcomes

Principal Investigator: Dr Richard Weller
Approved Research ID: 82526
Approval date: April 13th 2022

Lay summary

Excessive sunlight has well recognised harmful effects, such as increasing the risk of developing skin cancer and causing skin ageing. Less well recognised, and less studied are its health enhancing properties.  Skin colour is the major factor determining how sunlight affects health. We know that people with dark skin colours are much less likely to develop sunlight induced skin cancers than people with white skin, but they are also less likely to get a beneficial fall in BP with sunlight exposure.  There are no studies looking at the overall balance of effects of sunlight on health, and none on how it is altered by different skin colours. 

In this study we will look at the link between sun exposure and a number of diseases which we think relate to this, including cardiovascular disease and COVID. We will also look at death from any cause to establish if sunlight exposure affects this. We will then look at how this link between sunlight and disease is altered by skin colour.