The Sun Is Your Friend

sun

Winter is over! Blue Skies, warm temperatures and outdoor activities soaking up the sun. At least that is my plan. From the research, I am in the minority. How else do you explain a staggering 75% of adults and teenagers in the U.S. having inadequate levels of Vitamin D. The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) estimates the number of people deficient globally at over 1 billion.

Every summer we hear about studies showing a correlation between skin cancer and the effects of the sun. Every time you visit the dermatologist they are promoting the use of and defending the use of sunscreens. We have been scared into believing the sun is evil so we continue to lather ourselves in chemical sunscreens, cover our skin with long sleeves, long pants and hats with brims the size of an umbrella.

Are we mistaken? Have we been taken advantage up and programmed to view a false reality? As a species we survived countless generations living, and dare I say thriving in the presence of the sun. We have numerous studies correlating low vitamin D being linked to heart and kidney disease, several types of cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and being overweight.

Many people think that vitamins are only available from food. In fact,  Vitamin D is so important it can be synthesized in the body from cholesterol through UVB sunlight contacting the skin. How cool is that…talk about intelligent design!!

Our body has a natural defensive mechanism built in. Consider native populations around the world, those closest to the equator that have more sun exposure tend to be darker than those in the far  northern and southern reaches. Melanin is amazing stuff!

How can both be right? Can the sun be both evil and good at the same time? Maybe, just maybe, the sun is not so evil. Maybe what is needed is some common sense. Maybe the medical advice we have been listening to is wrong?

Personally, I tend to believe in nature. I also believe in common sense, though I think a more appropriate term is platinum sense as platinum is one of the rarest precious metals on earth.

According to the HSPH we need at least 15 minutes of sun exposure a day to reduce the risk of a deficiency. That is to reduce a deficiency, that is not to reach optimal levels. I would image that more is better, up to a point. That skin darkening mentioned earlier, those with naturally darker skin such as African-Americans and others would require even more sun exposure to synthesize vitamin D.

Most people are aware of their complexion and how their body reacts to sun exposure from past experiences. If you have a propensity to burn with sun exposure, avoid overexposure. Start with 5 minutes or even less daily. Slowly build up a base and tolerance. Stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm when the suns rays are strongest unless you have a solid base tan or your skin is adequately covered. In other words, DON’T GET BURNED!

If you are darker skinned or have an olive complexion, you are probably pretty safe jumping outside and welcoming the sun. Of course, early in the season, I would encourage a general awareness of the time and not overdoing it.

You may have noticed that I encouraged self-responsibility and awareness of time exposed to the sun over lathering on sunscreens. The reason is that I discourage the use of most sunscreens as they are a blending of many toxic ingredients. One such ingredient is the chemical oxybenzone a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and can disrupt the hormone system. Many contain nano particles that will readily absorb into the skin yet have never been tested for safety. Most store-bought brands also contain Retinyl palmitate, a known skin cancer hazard.

Is it possible that while this chemical concoction blocks the suns rays in an effort to “reduce” skin cancer, it may actually be catalyst for forms of cancer? I know, pretty radical thinking….I can’t help myself sometimes.

What can you do? First don’t get burned, that is pretty much platinum sense. Don’t just believe what I say, even though it may make sense. Investigate it. You may want to wander over to http://www.ewg.org and check out their 2013 Guide to sunscreens. It should prove enlightening and offer much less toxic products.

Are There Natural Alternatives? Surprisingly yes. You may want to pack some extra virgin coconut oil with you when you head outside. Plus, no toxicity concerns. You probably don’t realize that coconut oil has been used for by pacific islanders for many generations.

There are two types of UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun, UVA and UVB. UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin damage from “excessive” sun exposure that can lead to cancer and premature skin aging. While UVB rays can also damage the skin and cause sunburn, they are needed for your body to produce Vitamin D which protects the body from cancer.

Bruce Fife, ND, is the author of Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut Oil. He explains that coconut oil applied on the skin protects against sunburn and cancer. Unlike a typical sunscreen that blocks all UVB rays, unprocessed coconut oil does not while it also protects the skin and underlying tissue from burning and damage. Fife asserts that “Consuming coconut oil also strengthens the skin and makes it more resilient and less prone to sunburn.”

Marketing the Sun Protection Factor (SPF). The following is an excerpt from a 2012 CNN article. “The EWG said consumers should not purchase sunscreens with SPF greater than 50. SPF works by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays on the skin. It is very misleading to put high SPF numbers on labels because it gives consumers a false sense of security and doesn’t offer a lot more protection.”

Studies show that sunscreen with an SPF of 15 can block about 93% of incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98%. “A product with SPF 100+ blocks 99.1 percent of the UVB rays. You don’t really need a high number. They end up being more expensive and don’t offer more protection than SPF 50. Keep in mind, SPF protects only against UVB rays.” Coconut oil has an SPF of 10. This means it blocks 90 percent of the UVB rays which help produce vitamin D.

Considering that a sunscreens SPF does not indicate any protection from UVA rays, why does The American Cancer Society advise us to apply generous amounts of toxic sunscreens 30 minutes before sun exposure and minimally every two hours, reapplying after being in water, sweating or towel drying?

I am going to leave that last paragraph alone and not bother to give my thoughts as to why an organization that wants to “end” cancer and find a “cure” for cancer promotes products not just sunscreens, that can be catalysts for cancer or directly cause cancer.

Until next time, embrace the sun and use some platinum sense.

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