Confused about sunscreens, sun and vitamin D?
I am sure you have noticed that many health related topics have conflicting information. Health has become complicated. We invent something to solve one problem, and find it creates a different problem entirely. I often find myself sifting through the information through the Nurse part of my brain (I have been a nurse for 25+ years) and my Holistic Health Coach part of my brain, and I usually find that there does exist a logic somewhere in-between the two. So here is what I have been musing over as it relates to sun, sunscreen and vitamin D.
(Inside my brain is a scary place but come along anyhow!) First, there is more and more evidence that as a society we are becoming very deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is made by a wondrous reaction when your skin is exposed to sun. HOWEVER.. There has been a steady rise in melanoma, a type of skin cancer linked to sun damage. I think the Key phrase … SUN DAMAGE. Substitute here words like burning, baking till your skin looks like shoe leather, over exposure!! Many studies are now saying a little bit of sun, without sunscreen, might be a good thing after all. What is a little sun? Just enough to start to see a change in color. This can be 10 minutes if you are fair-skinned, a little longer if you are darker complected…think sun kissed! But it is June and beach weather.
I encourage you to spend time outside for so many mental and physical benefits. When you are out for long periods of time then what? What about sunscreens? Sunscreens, are designed to block out the damaging sun rays; that is a good thing right? … but alas ..they also block the ability for the body to create vitamin D so the answer most Health Practitioners give is to take vitamin D supplements.. problems Solved! NOT SO FAST- that may take care of the vitamin D issue, but now comes the Detox Coach Part of my brain. Your skin is your biggest organ, and what you put on your body is absorbed into your body, add some heat to open those pores and you are just sucking up those sunscreen chemicals, add a little friction as you rub it all in and you are sure to get some Triethanolamine , Benzoophenones or Octyl Methoxycinnamate ( one of the worst chemicals) absorbed into your body. The plethora of chemicals in most commercial sunscreens may prevent UVA and UVB exposure but WHAT is it doing to the other parts of your body? Not to mention that many are now happily inhaling these chemicals as they spray sunscreen from head to toe. Now I am NOT saying go out without sun protection! Skin Cancers are real!! and you do need to protect yourself from skin damage.
So here is my approach: Look for sunscreens with natural elements instead of chemicals that create their own set of problems. Look for ingredients like Titanium dioxide,and zinc oxide. Stay away from nano particles even if the ingredients are natural. This new fangled way of processing sunscreens shrinks particles so it is not absorbed and does not show white on your skin, but do you really want that stuff absorbed into your body. Clothing is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun so cover up or get in the shade!! Have fun this summer, keep your skin burn free and the inside of your body toxin free!!