With the Spring Equinox now behind us, and the Summer Solstice ahead, you may feel ready to venture back outside and spend some time in the sun. As I often report, you need regular exposure to the sun to maintain and achieve good health. In fact, healthy sun exposure activates the natural production of vitamin D in your skin.
So make sure to spend just 10 to 15 minutes outside in the sun without sunscreen every day between April and October. This will help keep your vitamin D at a healthy level. And if you want to spend more than 15 minutes in the sun, four simple tips can help you safely and naturally protect your skin, as I’ll explain in a moment.
Of course, the cosmetics industry, some narrow-minded medical specialists, and clueless public health “experts” continue to generate ill-informed hysteria over sun exposure. But real scientific research links low sun exposure and/or low vitamin D levels with higher levels of the malignant skin cancer, against which all the photophobics try to protect us.
The fact is, only 9 percent of “skin cancers” are truly “malignant” melanomas that invade and metastasize. By contrast, 91 percent of what most mainstream dermatologists call “skin cancers” are really just skin “growths.” These common skin growths almost never invade or metastasize like a real cancer. And doctors can easily detect and remove them before they ever cause problems.
Plus, science links low sun exposure and/or low vitamin D with virtually every common medical problem, such as other common cancers, dementia, Type II diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, as well as mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Without a doubt, vitamin D is an essential nutrient. But the Institute of Medicine (IOM) only recommends adult men and women up to age 70 take 600 IU of it daily. Of course, there was some real news, as I reported earlier this month, that researchers at University of California San Diego and Creighton University in Nebraska discovered the IOM’s ridiculous Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is too low by a factor of 10.
The science shows you need vitamin D. And an easy way to get more of it between April and October is to spend some time outside. But you want to avoid burning, which can harm your skin.
So how can you protect yourself from burning while getting the sun exposure you need?
Here are a few tips to try:
- Sunscreen can wait
A lot of “experts” tell you to apply sunscreen before leaving the house. But as I mentioned earlier, you can spend the first 10 to 15 minutes outside without sunscreen. This will activate some vitamin D production in your skin. So take your sunscreen with you and apply it after you’ve given your skin some time to soak up some healthy rays.
- Don’t assume higher SPF is better
Many consumers believe they can spend more time in the sun if they use sunscreen with a higher sun protection factor (SPF). And they assume sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 100 offers twice as much protection as sunscreen with SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection against ultraviolet rays is negligible. And using these higher SPF sunscreens gives sunbathers a false sense of protection, which leads to harmful burns. Plus, these higher SPF sunscreens may also contain additional toxic chemicals.
- You only need SPF 20
Science shows that you only need sunscreen with an SPF of 20. It provides maximum blockage of ultraviolet sunlight. Anything beyond SPF 20 is a meaningless marketing gimmick.
- Try products with plant oils
Many natural plant oils provide protection against the sun for reasonable amounts of time. Plus, they still allow sufficient sunlight to reach the skin so it can make vitamin D naturally. Furthermore, they improve the look and feel of your skin.
Carrot seed oil has a unique earthy, nutty aroma. Some people find it a little strong, but it naturally filters the sun’s rays. In fact, it has all the sun protection of an SPF 20 sunscreen. Plus, it allows your skin to naturally build its own protection from melanin and imparts a natural light orange-tan color. Best of all, it contains plenty of alpha- and beta-carotenes.
Red raspberry oil is another option. It too has all the protection of a sunscreen. And it’s high in vitamin E, which heals and protects the skin.
Wheat germ oil is right on the spot with an SPF factor estimated at 20. It’s inexpensive and has no scent. Plus, it’s lighter and less oily than carrot seed or red raspberry oil.
More natural oils with their SPF factors are: Almond (5), Avocado (4 – 10, up to 15), Coconut (2 – 8), Hemp seed (6), Jojoba (4), Macadamia (6), Olive (2 – 8), Sesame seed (4), Shea butter (3 – 6), Soybean/Non-GMO (10).
This spring and summer, make sure to spend some quality time in the sun without sunscreen. And when you do cover up, choose carefully. On Friday, I’ll tell you about two dangerous sunscreen chemicals under safety review by the FDA.
- “Natural Sunscreen Agents: A Review,” Sch. Acad. J. Pharm., 2013; 2(6):458-463