Life on earth evolved with the sun. Plants, the base of the food chain, harness solar power through photosynthesis in leaves. Animals live off the energy and nutrients in plants. Over billions of years, plants and animals have perfected their relationship with the sun. Living things have evolved safeguards to benefit from the sun without succumbing to its power.
Exposure to sunlight promotes good health. The more sun exposure we get, the better our bodies function. Preventing sunburn during the hottest part of the day is a good idea. Sunburn damages the skin. But with all of the evidence that sunlight is beneficial in the prevention of cancer and heart disease, maintaining a strong immune system, and building bones, no one should be using sunscreens on a routine or daily basis. By gradually exposing your skin to the sun on a regular, limited basis, you will eventually develop tolerance to it, even if you are prone to burning. And by supplementing with the antioxidant astaxanthin, which functions as a type of natural “sunscreen” that protects your skin from the oxidative damage caused by too much sun exposure, you will increase your sun tolerance even further, to the point that you may even stop burning under moderate exposure conditions
If natural sunlight exposure is not feasible on a daily basis, which is common for most people during the wintertime when the sun’s decreased angle prevents an adequate amount of UVB rays from reaching the skin, daily supplementation with vitamin D3 is the next best option. The Council suggests taking anywhere between 1,000 and 6,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 a day, depending on your age.
Shocking: A new report issued by the consumer protection organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals that many popular sunscreens contain ingredients known to spur the growth and spread of skin cancer cells, which defeats their stated purpose of preventing skin cancer. Data indicates that the sun’s rays combine with certain sunscreen ingredients in the skin and damage skin cells, which can lead to lesions and tumors — and worst of all, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allegedly been aware of this critical information for the past ten years, but has done absolutely nothing to warn people about it.
According to a report by AOL News, about half of the sunscreens tested contained vitamin A ingredients and derivatives like retinol and retinyl palmitate, which FDA’s own studies have shown are photocarcinogenic, meaning they become toxic when exposed to sunlight. In fact, an older FDA report explains that sunscreens containing vitamin A ingredients cause tumors and lesions to develop and spread 21 percent faster than sunscreens that do not contain vitamin A ingredients.
Ask somebody about sunscreen and you’re likely to receive an earful of disinformation from a person who has been repeatedly misinformed by health authorities and the mainstream media. Almost nothing you hear about sunscreen from traditional media channels is accurate. So here’s a quick guide to the 7 most important things you need to know about sunscreen, sunlight and vitamin D:
#1) The FDA refuses to allow natural sunscreen ingredients to be used in sunblock / sunscreen products. It’s true: If you create a truly natural sunscreen product using exotic botanicals with powerful sunscreen properties, you will never be able to market it as a “sunscreen” product. That’s because the FDA decides what can be used as sunscreen and what can’t, regardless of what really works in the real world. And there are really only two natural ingredients the FDA has allowed to be sold as sunscreen: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Any other non-chemical sunscreen ingredients, if sold as “sunscreen,” would be considered mislabeled by the FDA and result in your products being confiscated… even if they offer fantastic sunscreen protection!
Not surprisingly, this whole monopoly over sunscreen chemicals is designed to protect the profits of the chemical companies while marginalizing the natural product companies which could easily formulate far better solutions. I have personally spoken to the founders of several health product companies who have figured out amazing sunscreen formulations using nothing but natural botanicals, but the FDA won’t let them market their products as sunscreen products!
It’s just another example of the FDA standing in the way of health innovation.
#2) Nearly all conventional sunscreen products contain cancer-causing chemicals. Read the ingredients list of any sunscreen product sold at Wal-Mart, or Walgreens, or any other mainstream store. I dare ya!
You will not be able to pronounce most of the chemicals found in the ingredients list. That’s because most sunscreen products are formulated with cancer-causing fragrance chemicals, parabens, harsh alcohols, toxic chemical solvents and petroleum oils. A typical sunscreen product is actually a chemical assault on your body. That’s why research shows that using sunscreen actually causes more cancer than it prevents
#3) In a nation where over 70% of the population is vitamin D deficiency, sunscreen actually blocks vitamin D production. Vitamin D deficiency is perhaps the most widespread vitamin deficiency in North America. According to the research, 70 percent of whites are deficient in vitamin D, and up to 97 percent of blacks are deficient
Chronic vitamin D deficiency promotes cancer, winter flu and infections, depression, osteoporosis and hormonal imbalances. Depending on whom you believe, vitamin D alone can prevent anywhere from 50% to nearly 80% of all cancers. By blocking vitamin D production in the skin, sunscreen products actually contribute to cancer-promoting nutritional deficiencies.
This doesn’t mean you should never wear a sunscreen product, of course. If your skin is really pale and you’re planning a day on the beach in Hawaii, you will obviously benefit from some level of sun protection using a truly natural sunscreen product. But an informed health-conscious person would try to allow their skin to achieve a natural, healthy tan (yes, a tan truly is healthy if it’s combined with good nutrition, see below) through sensible exposure levels that activate vitamin D production in the skin.
#4) You can boost your internal sun resistance by changing what you eat. Here’s the real secret about sun exposure that no one in conventional medicine is talking about (because, as usual, they are woefully ignorant about nutrition): You can boost your internal sunscreen by eating antioxidant-rich foods and superfoods.
The supplement astaxanthin, for example, is very well known for boosting your skin’s natural resistance to sunburn. Its fat-soluble carotenoids are actually transported to skin cells where they protect those cells from UV exposure.
The more natural antioxidants you have in your diet, the more sunlight your skin will be able to handle without burning. Nearly everyone mistakenly believes that a person’s sunlight burn response is purely a genetic factor. They’re wrong. You can radically improve your resistance to UV exposure through radical dietary changes.
#5) UV exposure alone does not cause skin cancer. It is a complete medical myth that “UV exposure causes skin cancer.” This false idea is a total fabrication by the ignorant medical community (dermatologists) and the profit-driven sunscreen companies.
The truth is actually more complicated: Skin cancer can only be caused when UV exposure is combined with chronic nutritional deficiencies that create skin vulnerabilities.
To create skin cancer, in other words, you have to eat a junk food diet, avoid protective antioxidants, and then also experience excessive UV exposure. All three of those elements are required. Conventional medicine completely ignores the dietary influences and focuses entirely on just one factor: Sunscreen vs. no sunscreen. This is a one-dimensional approach to the issue that’s grossly oversimplified to the point of being misleading.
The medical industry, it seems, does not want people to figure out they can literally eat their way to healthier skin. It’s amazing, actually: Your skin is made entirely out of the food you eat, so how could your diet not affect your skin health? Yet no one in conventional medicine — not the dermatologists, not the doctors and not the health regulators — has the intellectual honesty to admit that what you eat largely determines how your skin reacts to UV exposure.
#6) Not all “natural” sunscreen products are really natural. Be careful when shopping for so-called “natural” sunscreen products. While there are some good ones out there, many are just examples of greenwashing, where they use terms like “natural” or “organic” but still contain loads of synthetic chemicals anyway.
A good guide for checking on sunscreen products is the Environmental Working Group guide (EWG) at: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
The evidence that sunscreen protects you against skin cancer is weak and inconsistent. More than two million Americans develop skin cancer annually, and the incidence of this condition is rising. In fact, some studies have found an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, among those who use more sunscreen. However, evidence indicates that sunscreen lowers the risk of slower-growing squamous cell carcinoma. While conventional sunscreens offer protection from UVB rays, they don’t block UVA rays. What’s the difference, you ask? UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, to the base layer of the skin where most skin cancers occur. UVA rays also play a part in aging and cause wrinkles. UVB rays, on the other hand, only damage the top layers of the skin and are best know for creating the redness associated with sunburns. Conventional sunscreens might prevent sunburn-causing UVB rays from penetrating the skin, but they’re letting through the cancer-causing UVA rays!
Some of the products that are truly natural include Loving Naturals sunscreen and Badger All Natural Sunscreen. Read the ingredients labels to see for yourself. Don’t use any sunscreen product containing ingredients that sound like chemicals:
Always buy unscented sunscreen unless for some reason you just enjoy coating your skin with artificial perfume chemicals. A typical sunscreen product is made with over a dozen cancer-causing fragrance chemicals, and they’re absorbed right through your skin. Most sunscreens, when applied as directed, are really just toxic chemical baths that heavily burden your liver and can give you cancer.
#7) Many “chemical free” sunscreens are loaded with chemicals.
Beware the dis-information minefield surrounding sunscreen products. Perhaps more with sunscreen than any other personal care product, the “official” information distributed through the mainstream media is hopelessly misleading (if not downright false). Remarkably, no one in the media or the government is even willing to admit that fragrance chemicals are bad for your health. Similarly, no one is willing to admit that the chemicals you put on your skin get ABSORBED by your skin.
Without those two truths being acknowledged right up front, the rest of whatever they say about sunscreen is worthless babble. Any honest talk about sunscreen must acknowledge the simple truth that the chemicals you put on your skin get absorbed into your skin, and that most sunscreen products are made out of a chemical cocktail of cancer-causing substances.
This is the truth about sunscreen that both the sunscreen industry and the cancer industry doesn’t want you to hear. It’s the dirty little secret of sunscreen: The more you use, the more you CAUSE cancer in your body! (And the more money the cancer centers make “treating” your cancer with yet more deadly chemicals known as chemotherapy.)
So buyer beware. Sunscreen products are a minefield of lies, fraud and disinformation designed to keep you ignorant of the importance of sun exposure as well as the health risks associated with using cancer-causing chemicals on your skin.
Stick with truly natural sunscreen products (when needed) and try to build up a healthy tan while consuming large quantities of superfoods and antioxidants in your diet. Consider taking astaxanthin or other fat-soluble nutrients on a regular basis. Engage in daily juicing of fresh fruits and vegetables which are loaded with living nutrients. Time your sun exposure to build up a healthy tan so that you don’t need sunscreen at all. Contrary to all the misinformation we’ve all been fed, a healthy tan is actually a good sign that you’re achieving adequate vitamin D synthesis in your own skin.
Please read your sunscreen ingredients. Learn what they are and your effect on your body and the oceans. Despite their “water-proof” claims, many conventional sunscreens wash off swimmers and into the oceans where they can damage aquatic life—especially coral reefs. Common sunscreen ingredients such as parabens, octinoxate, oxybenzone, cinnamate and camphor cause serious damage to coral. The chemicals activate dormant viruses in algae called zooxanthellae (which live in the coral, feed surrounding animals and give the coral its vibrant colors) causing the algae to explode and die.
It is very important to avoid getting sunburned, which does increase your risk of melanoma. You can do this by gradually building up to longer sun exposure as your body generates its natural defense against the sun’s potential to damage skin. Be sure to get out of the sun into the shade and/or cover up with protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat before you get sunburned. If you decide to use a sunscreen, use one of the Environmental Working Group’s top picks. Never use indoor tanning beds, which produce way more UV rays than the sun does.
Formulating your summer sun strategy can be a complex balancing act. The right choices for you depend on any history of skin cancer, the kinds of outdoor activities you enjoy, how much time you spend outside, where you live, your personal characteristics (such as age and skin color), and more. This is an important decision, so get as much information as you can before you act.
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