Sun Exposure, Sun Screens, Suntan Lotion, Sun Blocks

Sun ExposureDid you know most sunscreens contain potential carcinogens and using them may actually be more dangerous than using no sun screen at all? Sun exposure “experts” are in constant conflict between telling people to stay out of the sun on one end and get plenty of good sun exposure on the other end. We believe that sun exposure is essential to a healthy life. Without light nothing can survive. The key is not to avoid the sun, but to avoid sun burn. Damage to the skin comes from the “Burn” not the exposure. And not all damaging rays can be filtered out by sun tanning products.

The KEY to Preventing Sun Related Skin Cancers is More than Just Sun Blocks

Many “experts” disagree on the dangers of sun exposure. While it is important to limit your exposure to the point where you do not burn it is of equal importance to get the “right amount” of sun exposure on your body. Sun exposure can be very dangerous or very healthy. The sun works with your body’s own cholesterol to produce natural vitamin D. The sun can also help regulate your body’s natural clock (circadian rhythms) improving sleep. This is great news for intermittent insomnia. Other potential benefits from Sun Exposure:

  • Reduced PMS symptoms in women
  • Help for those with skin condition Psoriasis
  • Lower the risk of certain cancers – (Ovarian, Breast and Colon)
  • Depression – sunlight makes you feel better!
  • Skin Cancer! That’s right it may actually reduce your risk of skin cancer!

So what is the “Key”? That’s both a difficult and an easy question to address. Simply put the sun is good for you as long as you do not allow yourself to get burned! The flip side is it’s often difficult for an individual to tell when they have had enough exposure. Furthermore genetics and the color of our natural skin plays a large role in how much sun exposure we need to produce benefits and avoid the pitfalls. Ironically the very UVB rays that produce sun burn are also the rays which tell our body to produce Vitamin D.

So you want the right amount of exposure (Just don’t get burned). Personally I love the sun and try to get at least 15 minutes a day. The position of the sun and time of year determine the strength of the suns rays. The hours of 10am to 2pm mid summer in the northern hemisphere are the hours where the rays tend to be the most powerful (UVB Rays). You’ll feel this in your skin as during these times even when it’s cool outside you can feel the heat the sun generates. Please note that UVA rays are also very dangerous in that they are the rays which cause the premature aging and wrinkling effects in the skin. Unfortunately here in the United States there are very few sunscreens that filter UVA.

What kind of Sun Screen should I use?

The best sunscreen is clothing! I don’t use any sunscreen products preferring to get my sun exposure in limited and measurable quantities. I use a timer to make sure I do not overexpose my skin to the sun. But for those of you who are going to be out and about hiking, cycling, running or playing in the water this may not be an option.

While this is not an expose on the different brands of sunscreens available you will find that the commercial brands are much like commercial cosmetics (full of potentially toxic chemicals which may cause cancer). I can not say they cause cancer simply because there have been so few studies of the ingredients in the products in regard to use in blocking the sun. But you can search the net for sunscreens and cancer and find some studies suggesting that chemicals like PBSA and OMC are actually worse for you than no sunscreen (barring burning of course).

The real problem is these chemicals are tested in laboratory vials not on people. Once they are placed on the skin the reaction of the chemical to the skin can cause other chemicals to form. How does one test for that? Well the short answer is Money! No one is going to spend the money doing this research unless there is a big payoff for someone in the end. So while academia may pursue this venture or the government may offer limited grants to fund limited research don’t look for the big companies behind the commercial sunscreens to do anything more than keep pushing their products.

How about a Specific Brand?

While I like to endorse things I use I have not yet tried but will be trying soon an Organic Sun block called Natural Sun SPF 25 from Aubrey Organics. They also make a sun block specifically for children called Green Tea for Children SPF 25. As of this writing they charge $6.80 and $7.24 per four ounce bottle respectively. Dr Mercola sells this on his site for $6.95 and $7.85, and the company we work with Vitamin Shoppe (You’ll find the link in the upper right navigation bar) sells them for $5.12 and $5.44, but they are special order so it may take longer to receive. Please note by the time you read this the prices will no doubt have changed.

At these prices this product is no more expensive than the potential cancer causing sun screens the big commercial companies are selling. Buy from whomever is most convenient for you. But please remember that the sun can be your friend or your enemy to be on the safe side carry some of this Organic Sunscreen whenever you are not sure how long you will be in the sun.

Again the best sun screen is clothing!

Posted by on Jul 15th, 2008 and filed under Acne / Dermatology / Skin Care, Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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