“Wait, what?! Did you just say that?!”
I know, it sounds against everything you’ve ever heard or read, right? How did our ancestors ever survive without slathering on gobs of sunblock? What about the people who are super white (like me) who burn easily? What about those who are prone to burning? This can’t be right, right!?
Let’s expand our minds for a little bit.
I remember when I was younger gobbing on sunblock before getting into my parents pool. I was a junk food ridden kid. I had issues. I did not even taste a vegetable until I was fifteen, but that’s a whole different story. I remember when I would put sunblock on it would burn my face, badly. I don’t mean sun burn I mean it was a chemical burn. It hurt. Looking back I know that my face was sensitive to these chemicals and I was having a bad reaction. I used to have to avoid putting it on my face and swim with a cap instead, that’s how bad the sun block would hurt. Strange how you remember certain things looking back.
Like most Americans up until about a year ago- I slathered on sun block like nobody’s business. If I was going to be in the sun for more than twenty minutes- I had on a ton of sun block. I would be red, red, RED if I didn’t. I would still be red sometimes even with sun block. My husband never did. Even if he did get red- it went away pretty quickly. He has a nice olive skin. I always asked him to put on sun block and he never would, but he also never peeled, and never got super red. I always thought “wow, he must be one of the lucky ones.” He always said it just seemed unnatural to him. After I thought about it for a while, I decided to investigate. Surely, it couldn’t just be my genes could it? Naturally, I started researching it.
What I found was interesting and alarming.
- Can the sun really be dangerous to humans? If so, how did humans survive for the last 350,000 years on planet Earth?
- What is the environmental impact of sunscreen chemicals washing off into the ocean, a lake, a swimming pool or being washed down the drain in your shower?
- If sunlight is so dangerous, then why is virtually every living creature on planet Earth dependent on sunlight for survival? Plants use sunlight to generate their nutrition, too, and most animals eat either plants or other animals that originally ate plants. Nearly all life on planet Earth is powered by sunlight. Why does the cancer industry believe sunlight causes death when, in reality, sunlight delivers life?
Ultraviolet (UV) light is divided into 3 bands or wavelength ranges, which are referred to as UV-C, UV-B and UV-A.6 UV-C is the most energetic and shortest of the UV bands. It will burn human skin rapidly in extremely small doses. Fortunately, it is completely absorbed by the ozone layer. However, UV-C is present in some lights. For this reason, fluorescent and halogen and other specialty lights may contribute to skin cancer.
UV-A, known as the “tanning ray,” is primarily responsible for darkening the pigment in our skin. Most tanning bulbs have a high UV-A output, with a small percentage of UV-B. UV-A is less energetic than UV-B, so exposure to UV-A will not result in a burn, unless the skin is photosensitive or excessive doses are used. UV-A penetrates more deeply into the skin than UV-B, due to its longer wavelength. Until recently, UV-A was not blocked by sunscreens. It is now considered to be a major contributor to the high incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers.7 Seventy-eight percent of UV-A penetrates glass so windows do not offer protection.
The ultraviolet wavelength that stimulates our bodies to produce vitamin D is UV-B. It is sometimes called the “burning ray” because it is the primary cause of sunburn (erythema). However, UV-B initiates beneficial responses, stimulating the production of vitamin D that the body uses in many important processes. Although UV-B causes sunburn, it also causes special skin cells called melanocytes to produce melanin, which is protective. UV-B also stimulates the production of Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH), an important hormone in weight loss and energy production.
The current suggested exposure of hands, face and arms for 10-20 minutes, three times a week, provides only 200-400 IU of vitamin D each time or an average of 100-200 IU per day during the summer months.
In order to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D, 85 percent of body surface needs exposure to prime midday sun. (About 100-200 IU of vitamin D is produced for each 5 percent of body surface exposed, we want 4,000 iu.) Light skinned people need 10-20 minutes of exposure while dark skinned people need 90-120 minutes.
Sun exposure at higher latitudes before 10 am or after 2 pm will cause burning from UV-A before it will supply adequate vitamin D from UV-B. This finding may surprise you, as it did the researchers. It means that sunning must occur between the hours we have been told to avoid.
Only sunning between 10 am and 2 pm during summer months (or winter months in southern latitudes) for 20-120 minutes, depending on skin type and color, will form adequate vitamin D before burning occurs.
It takes about 24 hours for UV-B-stimulated vitamin D to show up as maximum levels of vitamin D in the blood. Cholesterol-containing body oils are critical to this absorption process. Because the body needs 30-60 minutes to absorb these vitamin-D-containing oils, it is best to delay showering or bathing for one hour after exposure. The skin oils in which vitamin D is produced can also be removed by chlorine in swimming pools.
In much of the US, which is between 30° and 45° latitude, six months or more during each year have insufficient UV-B sunlight to produce optimal D levels.
Nearly all conventional sun screens have cancer causing chemicals.
You will not be able to pronounce most of the chemicals found in the ingredients list. That’s because most sunscreen products are formulated with cancer-causing fragrance chemicals, parabens, harsh alcohols, toxic chemical solvents and petroleum oils. A typical sunscreen product is actually an assault on your body. That’s why research shows that using sunscreen actually causes more cancer than it prevents.
70% of the population is vitamin D deficient, and sun screen blocks vitamin D production.
By blocking vitamin D production in the skin, sunscreen products actually contribute to cancer-promoting nutritional deficiencies.
Obesity and vitamin D deficiency?!
Did you ever wonder why some people can eat all they want and not get fat, while others are constantly battling extra pounds? The answer may have to do with vitamin D and calcium status. Sunlight, UV-B, and vitamin D normalize food intake and normalize blood sugar. Weight normalization is associated with higher levels of vitamin D and adequate calcium. Obesity is associated with vitamin-D deficiency. In fact, obese persons have impaired production of UV-B-stimulated D and impaired absorption of food source and supplemental D.
When the diet lacks calcium, whether from D or calcium deficiency, there is an increase in fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. Higher levels of calcium with adequate vitamin D inhibit fatty acid synthase while diets low in calcium increase fatty acid synthase by as much as five-fold. In one study, genetically obese rats lost 60 percent of their body fat in six weeks on a diet that had moderate calorie reduction but was high in calcium. All rats supplemented with calcium showed increased body temperature indicating a shift from calorie storage to calorie burning (thermogenesis).
UV exposure alone does not cause skin cancer.
It is a complete medical myth that “UV exposure causes skin cancer.” This false idea is a total fabrication by dermatologists and the profit-driven sunscreen companies.
The truth is actually more complicated: Skin cancer can only be caused when UV exposure is combined with chronic nutritional deficiencies that create skin vulnerabilities.
To create skin cancer, in other words, you have to eat a junk food diet, avoid protective antioxidants, and then also experience excessive UV exposure. All three of those elements are required. Conventional medicine completely ignores the dietary influences and focuses entirely on just one factor: Sunscreen vs. no sunscreen. This is a one-dimensional approach to the issue that’s grossly oversimplified to the point of being misleading.
What you eat largely determines how your skin reacts to UV exposure.
Modern diets usually do not provide adequate amounts of vitamin D; partly because of the trend to low fat foods and partly because we no longer eat vitamin-D-rich foods like naturally reared poultry and fatty fish such as kippers, and herring. Often we are advised to consume the egg white while the D is in the yolk or we eat the flesh of the fish avoiding the D containing skin, organs and fat. Sun avoidance combined with reduction in food sources contribute to escalating D deficiencies. Vegetarian and vegan diets are exceptionally poor or completely lacking in vitamin D predisposing to an absolute need for UV-B sunlight. Using food as one’s primary source of D is difficult to impossible.
How do I prevent burning then and optimize vitamin D absorbtion?
Certain oils provide sun shielding properties when applied topically, including:
– Raspberry seed oil (SPF 30-50)
– Wheat germ oil (SPF 20)
– Shea butter (SPF 6-10)
– Coconut oil (SPF 4-10)
– Macadamia oil (SPF 6)
– Jojoba oil (SPF 4)
– Avocado oil (SPF 4)
I have been making a really nice lotion with beeswax, shea butter and vitamin E since I have been pregnant. I put it on nearly every day, and hey- I’m 7 months pregnant and without stretchmarks. : )
Healthy fats and omegas.
The body needs healthy fats saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and Omega-3 fats, to regenerate skin tissue, and these fats are the preferred building blocks in the body.
These figures demonstrate the difficulty in obtaining 4,000 IU vitamin D per day from ordinary foods in the American diet. Three servings of herring, oysters, catfish, mackerel or sardines plus generous amounts of butter, egg yolk, lard or bacon fat and 2 teaspoons cod liver oil (500 iu per teaspoon) yield about 4,000 IU vitamin D—a very rich diet indeed!
Cod Liver Oil
Lard (Pork Fat)
Atlantic Herring (Pickled)
Eastern Oysters (Steamed)
Skinless Sardines (Water Packed)
Smoked Chinook Salmon
Egg Yolk (Fresh)
(One yolk contains about 24 IU)
Lamb Liver (Braised)
Pork Liver (Braised)
Beef Liver (Fried)
Beef Tripe (Raw)
Beef Kidney (Simmered)
Chicken Livers (Simmered)
Small Clams (Steamed/Cooked Moist)
Blue Crab (Steamed)
Northern Lobster (Steamed)
4Gradual sunlight.Yes, being in the sun for ten hours without sun block or shade can be problematic. I am not claiming you will not burn- you probably will. There are optimum times to get some sun during the day and times when the sun is harsher.
While the sun is very beneficial because it helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, sunburn is certainly not beneficial. The easiest way to avoid sunburn naturally is to increase sun exposure gradually, while eating a healthy diet. For most people, 15-30 minutes is enough at first, though many can work up to several hours without a problem.
If your activity level requires you to be out for longer than this, wear protective clothing or find some shade!
What are some supplements and fats I can incorporate for sun exposure?
Raw milk or butter
Fermented cod liver oil
These days, I’m in the sun for ten minutes to two hours per day, depending. Now that I live in Florida and have a pool I am in the sun more than I used to be. But I have not had any bad burns.
Since incorporating raw milk into my diet I have seen improvements. I also use aloe vera to shave instead of shaving cream, and I drink aloe vera every night as well. It’s a precious little healing plant with lots to offer (another post on this soon, aloe deserves its own post.) Flax seeds every night give me a good dose of omegas. I will soon be adding cod liver oil into my diet.
Now, I slather on my homemade lotion of shea butter, beeswax and vitamin E instead of putting those nasty sunscreen chemicals into my body.