Sun–Friend or Foe?

We get vitamin D from the sun. We can also get skin cancer. Where’s the balance? How about all those toxic, cancer-causing chemicals in sunscreens? Are we trading one cancer for another?

People have lived, worked, and played in the sun since the beginning of time without using chemical-laden sunscreens. They ate antioxidant-rich foods that protected them, like an internal “sunscreen”. These foods include carrots, tomatoes, watermelon, berries, and other beautiful, colorful, summer fruits. God created seasonal fruits and vegetables for a purpose. Summer produce is naturally high in the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. Sun-protective factor (SPF) also occurs in varying amounts in oils like olive, wheat germ, grape seed, avocado, jojoba, and coconut, as well as in beeswax and shea butter. Zinc oxide powder and many essential oils also contain SPF. None are toxic. Note: citrus oils like lemon, orange, and lime have sun sensitivity properties, so it is best to avoid these during sun exposure.

Many commercial sunscreens contain the following chemicals:

avobenzone–linked to cancer when it breaks down in sunlight, so other toxic ingredients are added to stabilize it.
oxybenzone–most common ingredient used; acts like estrogen, can alter sperm count, linked to endometriosis.
homosalate–can interfere with estrogen and progesterone production.
octocrylene–causes a high rate of skin allergies.
octisalate–an environmental toxin.

On top of that, if you use a spray-on sunscreen, you run the risk of irritating the lungs and respiratory tract through inhalation. To learn how to make a non-toxic sunscreen and sunburn relief remedies, attend one of my Natural Healthcare Toolbox Classes in July. Find class dates and registration at www.cfbc.org/sports under the “Nutrition” link.

Sun exposure helps to make vitamin D, which is actually a hormone needed for a strong immune system, bone strength, and hormone production. Build up by exposing your skin to the sun for one minute. The next day make it two. Do this until you can enjoy the sun for up to one-half hour a day without sunscreen. Be sure to eat antioxidant-rich foods prior to sun exposure and drink a cup or two of water. Never let your skin burn! If you get too “pink”, stay at that time limit until you no longer are sensitive. Of course, if you are prone to skin cancer, seek the advice of your health care professional before following this recommendation. For prolonged exposure, use a natural sunscreen made by The Honest Company or Burt’s Bees.

Happy summer!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist
www.learningtobehealthy.com
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”