Sunscreen: The Problem or the Solution?

Fall is here and the days are getting shorter – and therefore we’re getting less incidental exposure to sunlight. Think that’s good news for you and your skin? Think again.

In “the old days” (100 years ago) people worked predominantly outdoors, exposed to direct sunlight for more than eight hours a day without sunscreen. Skin cancer only effected 1% of the population back then, and the more sunlight they got, the healthier they were. Boy, have times changed. Today, we work predominately indoors and are so fearful of sunlight that we cake on loads of sunscreens to protect ourselves from skin cancer. Yet, more people have gotten skin cancer than ever before. It is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer today.

New studies are showing that it may be what’s in the sunscreen that’s creating a problem for us. Titanium oxide is the main ingredient in most sunscreens on the market. These studies have shown that titanium oxide causes the brain to make chemicals that will be protective in the short term but cause damage in the long term. Sunscreen can be damaging for this reason, but also because most of the ingredients in the most common sunscreens are full of chemicals that you are putting directly onto your skin. So, it is not the sunlight that’s harming you, it’s the sunscreen.

Another interesting fact is that skin cancer has a direct correlation to the kind of fats we get in our diet. First, the oils we use for cooking now a day include corn, safflower, canola and sesame. These oils are so high in omega 6 fatty acids that it distorts the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio out of balance. This ratio is important to the resistance of cancers, especially skin cancer. The ideal ratio is about 1:1, yet the typical American is about 15:1!

Hydrogenated oils are more present than ever these days and also play a large part in skin cancer. Research has shown that people who consume margarine have a 700% increase risk of skin cancer over those who don’t. Note that these oils did not even exist 100 years ago, so it’s no wonder it has a direct correlation to today’s skin cancer epidemic. The good news is, when you switch to healthy oils like high quality olive oil and coconut oil, the health benefits of sunlight are enormous!

If you are a frequent sunscreen user, try these simple suggestions to help get more sunlight into your body, the greatest source of vitamin D on the planet. Start getting more sun exposure slowly so you don’t get burned. Try 10 minutes a day in direct sunlight. Ease into this and switch out hydrogenated oils for high quality oils at the same time. Most of us have consumed way too much of the bad oil so we need to make this a gradual process. Also be mindful of getting these oils in their raw state as heat damages oils. It may take up to 6-8 months for your body to adjust.

You should try to work up to 20 minutes a day of direct sunlight with as much skin exposed as possible. All sunlight has health benefits, but the best sunlight for building and regenerating health purposes is between 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. Working up a sweat during this time increases the benefits even more.

Vitamin D is essential for life. The sun should not be feared but rather looked at as a natural and FREE vitamin that will lead to a happier, healthier and longer life.

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