In recent years, we have been bombarded with reports on the dangers of the sun, and the need for sunscreen to protect ourselves from skin cancer. Sales of sunscreen and products containing sunscreen have skyrocketed; yet the incidence of skin cancer in the U.S. has tripled in recent years.
Being concerned about skin cancer is valid; however, most sunscreen products can do more harm than good. Some sunscreen products contain toxic chemicals that penetrate the skin, and can actually increase the risk of disease. Chemicals you may wish to avoid include: PABA, Dioxybenzone, Oxybenzone, and Titanium Dioxide. [If you insist on using sunscreen, consider a safer, natural sunscreen product.]
Another major problem with sunscreen is that is blocks the skin’s ability to make vitamin D by more than 95 percent. Vitamin D is important for strong bones, proper calcium absorption, proper cell growth, and a healthy heart. There is a strong association between increased blood levels of vitamin D and decreased risk of many forms of cancer. Sun exposure is the best way to make sure you get adequate vitamin D. The body automatically regulates vitamin D intake, so don’t worry about too much vitamin D from the sun. This doesn’t mean unlimited sun exposure is good – it’s still important to protect your skin from burning.
Stay out of the sun when it is the most intense. There are many articles that indicate the sun is most extreme during 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., but this data is heavily dependent upon where one lives (e.g. Alaska or Arizona). Use shade, hats, and clothing to protect yourself if you are outside for extended periods or when sun is intense.
Eat more fresh vegetables and berries to increase your antioxidant level which helps protect your skin naturally. Studies on vitamin C have demonstrated that it offers protection from UVA radiation. Be sure to take a vitamin C product that contains bioflavonoids and is additive-free. Grape Seed Extract is another powerful antioxidant, which may be far more effective in combating free radicals (unstable molecules) which are created from over-exposure to UV radiation. [Copyright © 2004 World Image Naturals, Inc. www.worldimage.com ]