Some health experts, like Dr. Al Sears, tell us that we have been deceived by the sun lotion industry to believe the sun is bad for us for their commercial gain. Sunscreen was initially created to allow people to get a suntan without getting a sunburn, not because we needed protection from the sun. When they realized how profitable it was, the sun suddenly became our enemy.
Dr. Sears tells us that “the sun is our best friend when it comes to feeling good, staying fit and avoiding disease, (even skin cancer”) because it is our primary source of vitamin D. Cholesterol is converted into vitamin D when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
It is lack of sunshine that leads to cancer, and it also contributes to heart disease, depression, lowered libido, autoimmune disorders, lowered immunity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, cavities, fatigue, poor bone and joint health, inflammatory bowel diseases and weight gain to name just a few.
Vitamin D may, in fact, be the single most important nutrient your body needs. It protects you from cancer, viruses and bacteria, regulates blood sugar and insulin, reduces inflammation, makes muscles stronger, lowers risk for type 2 diabetes, boosts mental performance, helps you lose weight and sleep better, boosts serotonin levels which prevents depression, addiction, cravings for sugar, anxiety and much more.
Dr. Al Sears states, “any evidence that exposing yourself to the sun is harmful evaporates under scrutiny. It’s nothing more than conjecture and slivers of evidence blown out of proportion for commercial interests. What’s worse; if you follow this “no safe level of sun exposure” dogma, you’ll put yourself at greater risk of numerous deadly cancers, depression, bone loss, heart disease, diabetes and more.”
“Our natural environment is the outdoors. Since the beginning of time until only recently we have lived and worked in harmony with the sun. The move from outdoor to indoor living began with the invention of the light bulb in 1879. It was soon after that cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases (that our ancestors never experienced) became prevalent.
Skin cancer has increased in the last 30 years, not because of sun exposure, but because of the wrong foods we eat (high in omega-6 and low in antioxidants, and the use of sunscreen. After the development of sunscreen, cases of melanoma skyrocketed. Office workers have higher levels of melanoma than construction workers and lifeguards. As a matter of fact, people who spend the most time in the sun, like lifeguards and construction workers, have the lowest incidence of melanoma.
“A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2005, confirmed that exposure to the sun reduces the risk of skin cancer. An overview of all of the published research reported in the International Journal of Cancer revealed that multiple studies show that people with “heavy occupational exposure” to the sun have significantly lower risk of melanoma. Additional studies performed at the British Columbia Cancer Agency confirmed that the higher your lifetime recreational sun exposure, the lower your risk of melanoma.
Furthermore, most sunscreens only protect you from UV-B rays, the ones that cause sunburn and trigger vitamin D synthesis. But they offer no protection for UVA rays, the ones that penetrate deeper into the skin and are associated with skin cancer. Therefore, many people spend excessive amounts of time in the sun falsely believing they are protected. Even chemical sunscreen products that claim they have UVA protection only have an SPF of about 4. Sears feels “sunscreen could very well be the primary cause of the increase in skin cancer.”
With that being said here are seven more reasons you should avoid sunscreen:
- Sunscreen contains as many as 5 carcinogenic chemicals
- An SPF above 8 blocks your vitamin D production by more than 95%, which leads to vitamin D deficiency
- Sunscreens are at least partially responsible for the increase in skin cancer
- Many sunscreens contain harmful endocrine/hormone disruptors thus damaging your endocrine and hormonal systems that can result in a vast array of debilitating health conditions
- They block the bodies production of melanin, a natural occurring substance that protects you from sunburn
- Women with consistent sun exposure are much less likely to die of breast cancer
- Men exposed to high levels of sunshine cut their risk of prostate cancer in half
Yes it is true, “over exposure” to the sun is harmful. It can cause skin damage and lead to two kinds of superficial skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma), but it does not lead to the most dangerous form of skin cancer; melanoma. The sun actually prevents melanoma and aids in the healing process if it is acquired.
A large study from Harvard concluded that “basal cell carcinoma comes from “blistering sunburn” and is proportional to lifetime sunburn accumulation.” Squamous cell carcinoma is associated with cumulative sun exposure, intermittent sunburns, and people who have fair skin and it usually develops in old age.” Both basal cell and squamous cell are easy to treat and rarely fatal.
No, you should not sunbathe for an entire day and you should avoid sunburns; however, complete avoidance of the sun is dangerous for your health. Dr Sears tells us that fair skinned people should have about 10-20 minutes of sun exposure daily, while those with moderate pigmentation should get 20 to 40 minutes and those with darker pigments may need up to 2 hours.
You should not wear sunglasses or sunscreen when getting your daily supply of sun. Be sure that an adequate amount of skin is exposed (e.g. face, neck, arms). If you’re going to be out in the sun for long periods of time, then use an umbrella, wear a wide-brimmed hat, protect yourself with clothing and try to take cover now and then. If a sunscreen lotion must be used, be sure to use one that is natural and free of cancer causing chemicals.
Increase your exposure to the sun by opening your curtains and letting the sun shine. You can’t get vitamin D this way as the glass interferes in the process. However, you can still get a boost to mood and other positive effects.
I have taken all these fascinating sunscreen facts from a fabulous book by Dr. Al Sears, *Your Best Health Under the Sun. It is a must read for everyone. I encourage you to relearn the truth about the sun and how it is critical for maintaining optimal health.
The bottom line, as Dr. Sears tells us; “less sunshine means more disease.”