Over the past few years, it has been priority for many people to avoid the sun at all costs due to a belief that it causes cancer. New research has shown that we need to change our thinking – there are actually benefits to getting some sunshine, including decreases in depression/anxiety, decreases in autoimmune disease and a decrease in cancer.
The British Journal of Dermatology followed a group of people from 1994-2004 and found the increase in skin cancer was due to certain lesions being classified as melanoma but were in fact non-cancerous. This has driven the numbers up substantially they say, when none of these cases should have been seen as cancerous.
What is the cause of skin cancer then? According to studies, the lack of sunshine, exposure to toxic sunscreen and low vitamin D levels are the big contributors. In a recent study, it was shown that our children are absorbing massive amounts of toxic chemicals through their skin when they apply many of these sunscreens. The FDA put out a warning to be careful with these chemicals as they are UNSURE at which level is safe for exposure in children. I think they should protect us first until the testing can be done to know the effects of toxic sunscreens.
The best way to help your body is to get the proper dose of sun exposure daily. Get as much sun as you can without burning – a good rule of thumb is to come in when your skin turns a slight pink color. You will also need more than your face and hands exposed to really reap the benefits of the sun. Typically, the peak time of day is around 1 pm, so the safest time to expose your non-sun screened skin to the sun is late morning from 10 am until 1 pm. If you are out in the sun for long periods of time and still want to wear sunscreen I recommend going to EWG.org and look at their list of safe and effective sunscreens to reduce your overall toxic exposure.
There are ways to help your body from the inside to minimize damage done from too much sun exposure. Fish oil and collagen are important for the health of the cells that make up your skin. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables provide you with antioxidants which help the body corral any of those cancer-causing molecules. We also like to have our patients supplement their diet with our Dynamic Fruits and Greens to help them get the necessary amount of antioxidants they need in their diet.
Remember the sun is needed for your overall health, it is not to be feared but rather embraced for all of its health benefits. Now get out there and get some sun.