Sun – Skin Cancer, Sunscreen & Vitamin D Deficiency

Sun, Sunscreen & Children’s Health?

Instead of learning to love and respect the sun; kids today are being taught to cover up and beware “as it is dangerous”.

Its a crying shame that kids are coping the brunt of this exaggerated misconception and as a result fallen victim to the sunscreen deception.

I cringe when I see well-meaning mothers smothering babies and small children with sunscreen.

I greatly urge all mothers to rethink their chemical sunscreen for a more natural product, or at the very least be pro-active and research ingredients and/or opt for a hat and shirt instead of a chemical.

Or, do what every other animal does on the planet when the sun is strong; sit in the shade or under a tree.

The Sun is not our Enemy…

We are supposed to grow up running around in the sun, by building tolerance slowly, burning will become less frequent and less severe, for some it will become a non-issue.

By eating sun ripened produce (which for a lot of families has become rare or non-existent) children will develop internal sun protection from that food.

Fresh produce can be exposed to the sun all day every day and not burn; its those same nutrients that protect us from the sun when we consume them.

In saying that I don’t mean 30+ … I mean it provides us some internal sun protection to some degree.


Before 1950 melanoma was rarely diagnosed; numbers didn’t start rising until the late 1960’s (not long after tanning lotion was introduced into the market).

Is this a coincidence? probably not!

Back then the idea of the tanning lotion was that it enabled someone to lay in the sun longer to achieve a darker tan without burning. Since then skin cancer rates have skyrocketed.

Skin Cancer Scare Tactics

For decades, doctors and the media have strongly advised we apply sunscreen before going outside. It has been brainwashed into us that we must protect ourselves from the sun’s evil ultraviolet rays.

We have been told the sun is a trigger for skin cancer and promotes wrinkles and premature aging.

We probably need to remind ourselves that the sun is the only true source of energy for the entire planet throughout all of history, life would simply not exist without it.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin,” is different from other vitamins in that it influences the entire body.   Although thought of as a vitamin, it is actually a steroid hormone.  Its obtained from sun exposure, food sources and supplementation.

Vitamin D receptors have been found in almost every type of human cell.

Melanin is a natural pigment that affects the shade of skin; the more melanin in the body, the darker the skin.  The darker the skin the more protection it provides you from sunburn; think of it as “natural sunscreen”.

The melanin also affects the amount of vitamin D someone can produce.

Darker skin requires more exposure than fairer to get the same amount of Vitamin D. Adequate exposure can be obtained from as little as; (for extremely fair) 5 – 10 minutes a day up to an hour for darker skin shades.

Health Benefits of Sun Exposure

It’s no secret that the sun provides all sorts of health benefits.

Vitamin D essential for metabolic balance and essential for the utilisation of calcium in the body.

The most compelling reason for getting regular, sensible sun exposure on bare skin is that it promotes optimal physical and psychological health and helps prevent chronic diseases of all kinds.

It also:
• Stimulates immune function
• Promotes stronger bones
• Enhances mood and cognition
• Balances high blood pressure
• Promotes deeper sleep

Unfortunately, dermatologists and the media do the public a great dis-service by recommending avoiding the sun to decrease skin cancers.

What these so called experts fail to realise that avoiding the sun and applying sunscreens is contributing to people to become vitamin D deficient.

The lack of natural sun exposure and sunscreen overuse has seen deficiency become extremely common.

Risk Factor for skin Cancer

There is a greater risk factor for getting skin cancer from “infrequent and / or over exposure to strong sun” to the point of burning; or, getting continually burned.

Appropriate sun exposure means avoiding sunburn; this will provide the full benefits of the sun exposure.

When obtained sensibly sun exposure can help prevent skin cancer and illness.

Chronic Vitamin D Deficiency

Chronic deficiency not only increases your risk of skin cancers and melanoma but many of the most common cancers as well.

Breast and prostate cancers are just two examples where low sun exposure or vitamin D renders someone more vulnerable to more aggressive forms of the disease.

Low vitamin D also raises the risk for:
• Chronic pain
• Allergies and Asthma
• Depression
Stress & Anxiety
Blood pressure Imbalance
• Insomnia
• Autoimmune diseases
• Skin disorders

The Issue!

Sunscreen use has risen dramatically over the last 4 decades. Coincidentally; in this same period so has skin cancers and the plethora of other possibly related conditions.

Sunscreens are recommended to reduce burning, skin aging and the risk of skin cancer.  Although, many products have the opposite effect as they filter only UVB and not the more dangerous UVA.

Many of the toxic chemicals in sunscreens can be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream and tissue in the body; creating all sorts of havoc.

These chemicals may increase the risk of skin cancer, add to compounding toxic buildup in the body and disrupt hormonal balance.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals that the chemicals used frequently in most sunscreen are endocrine disruptors, estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid and other hormone processes in the body.

73 Percent of Products Rate Poorly for Skin Protection or Worrisome Ingredients.

Eating your Sunscreen

Aside from paying careful attention to covering up before getting burned, we are able to reduce the risk of sunburn by eating plenty of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables.  These contain beta-carotene and retinol (bioavailable source of vitamin A).

Also consider taking an astaxanthin supplement.  Astaxanthin is a very powerful antioxidant, many times more potent than vitamin E. This means that the skin is protected in the dermal layers, from free radical damage, responsible for the ageing process.

In addition, astaxanthin protects the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays, plus it improves the elasticity of the skin, helping it to stay plump and wrinkle-free.

I haven’t even touched on the havoc that sunscreen is having on the natural environment.  The waterways, water plants and coral reefs, the wild life that is being threatened and feeling its toxic repercussions… this is for another post.

But at the end of the day, the health benefits of the sun far outweigh any potential dangers.

In my opinion having sensible sun exposure on bare skin is the one of the most important things we can do for our health.