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5.03.2012

Happy Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Sunburns are bad.  Especially when you get them because your spouse is a slacker.
Here are some things you may not have been aware of.

  • An estimated 3/4 of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.
  • Your skin doesn't make vitamin D when you have sunscreen on.
  • Vitamin D is a huge key to preventing cancers INCLUDING melanoma.
  • Your body doesn't efficiently use the vitamin D in most supplements.
  • While no one knows the exact ratio, some of the vitamin D your skin creates is created on the surface of your skin in your skin's oils and are absorbed for up to 48 hours after sun exposure.  Showering with soap removes your skin's oils and with them the vitamin D.  Yet another reason NOT to shower every day:)
  • Many of the substances used in sunscreens actually CAUSE cancer (oxybenzone, retinylpalmitate, nano particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide).
  • Besides being linked to cancer, vitamin D deficiency is also thought to be linked to mood disorders, heart disease, skin disease, immune deficiencies, and more.
  • But don't worry, burns are still bad.  We still need to avoid them.  That much is true.
What am I saying?  Avoid sunscreen.  But it's more complicated than that.  If you're eating the standard American diet and not eating enough healthy fat and antioxidants, this would be dangerous.  If you suddenly go to California at the end of a midwest winter, you will burn.  Sun exposure needs to be built up gradually, as the melanin your skin makes (you know, that tan!) protects your skin.

But there are much better sources than me out there.  For starters, here are some informative blog posts that link to a lot more information.

Kitchen Stewardship- Sun, Sunscreen, Skin Cancer and Safety: How Much do You Need?

Kitchen Stewardship- Sunblock reviews 


Mommypotamus- Confessions of a Sunbather (and click around her site, she has some other good info on sun and sun protection)

What do I do?  I avoid sunscreen, build up sun exposure gradually, make sure we eat our healthy fats every single day (including coconut oil and cod liver oil), and use clothing to protect sensitive areas during peak sun.  We try to avoid being in the sun for extended periods from 11-3.  And when I need to use sunscreen, I use one of the top 3 listed sunscreens described in the sunscreen review post.

1 comment:

Jenn the Greenmom said...

Our MO has turned into something like--sunscreen well at the beginning of the outing, don't reapply, be conscious of how much high-intensity time is actually spent in the sun. So there's usually a little bit of color that comes on throughout the summer, but it never gets dramatic. (That picture is hilarious--exactly the kind of thing my husband would do.)

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