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Safe Tanning

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Firstly being safe means avoiding toxic sun creams.  Shocked? Read on!

It's wonderful to see how the sun lifts everyone's mood.  At all times of year, 20 minutes a day with arms exposed ensures good vitamin D and a smile on your face.   Vitamin D prevents many, many diseases, and it's a fact that many people are deficient in this vital micronutrient. In the winter, safe, careful sun bed use can resolve the problems this causes.  

It's natural and normal to enjoy the sunshine, and a foundation for good health. In the summer, the feel good factor is enhanced, but you MUST take care. 

Skin cancer was extremely rare before the 1930s yet we spent more time outside, with no "protection".  Today indoor workers have a higher risk of skin cancer than those who work outside. And regular sun exposure without burning actually reduces risk.  And remember that sunshine prevents many other types of cancer.  

Yet rates of skin cancer are soaring, even though we are indoors more of the time, and more "protected" when outdoors... clearly, its not about the sun exposure.

It's also worth mentioning too that protocols for sun exposore in the UK were based on Australian recommendations, but Australia has higher levels, of a much hotter sun, all year round, so how can these recommendations be suitable?

 

How To Stay Safe

*****Firstly, please don't ever, ever burn, this is absolutely vital*****

And those that are very fair or red headed, and young children should be even more careful.

Ideally, stay out of the sun between 11.30 and 2pm, or stay covered / in the shade. There's a reason why they siesta in hot countries!  Try to fit your busy activities in the early morning or late afternoon  / evening.

Build up your exposure gradually to ensure the greatest health protection for your skin, and the natural glow that many people love. Natural, gentle tanning protects against skin cancer.

Let's get back to the tanning products.  Just like most skin "care" products on the market, most sun creams are packed with an array of chemicals.  But in terms of tanning, there are certain chemicals that have a specific role in terms of blocking the sun's rays.

Quoting Dr Keith Scott-Mumby

"All chemical sun blocks work by ‘absorbing’ some of the sun’s radiation. The chemicals lock the rays up into their structure, thus the skin is not directly impacted by the sun’s radiation, as much. Great idea, one would think. However, by locking up or concentrating this radiation into the chemical molecules, we are turning these molecules into miniature nuclear power plants, which then radiate back at us and cause immense damage. One could call it ‘point blank’ radiation of the skin cells.

Think about it, under normal sun exposure without a sunscreen, the sun’s rays get absorbed by millions of skin cells as well as penetrating the body tissue under the skin. Therefore, the radiation from the sun becomes dispersed over millions of molecules of skin and body tissue (which is the way we are designed to receive the sun’s rays). No ‘one’ cell gets overloaded with concentrated radiation.  On the other hand, when you put on a chemical ‘radiation absorbing’ sun block, you are concentrating the radiation into a very small amount of surface skin cells by way of the chemicals in the cream sitting on and in the cells"

Even the FDA has stated that certain chemicals cause photosensitivity, and this can increase burning risk, and subsequently skin cancer risk.  And sunsreens are just one of many products that contain these chemicals (as do many modern products).

 

What about natural sunscreens?

So, normal chemical sunscreens are certainly not for us! But there are some natural options. If you need to be outside for long periods of time, then a cool long sleeved white shirt, and a wide brimmed hat is the best solution. 

If you do want to expose skin, then our first advice would be build that up slowly.  Or, use a more natural sun screen, the ones from companies such as Green People tick most boxes.  Do remember that organic does not necessarily mean natural, and organic skin care can legally contain synthetic ingredients; this may or may not be important to you!

But to go one step further, look for ones that are Zinc Oxide based screens, these are the only ones that truly block UVA, UVB and UVC.  These will typically look white on the skin, and that's because they are effective! One of the best we have found is the Badger range - just Google "Badger Sunscreens".  Do note that "non-whitening" zinc oxide sunscreens have been chemically processed, and are no longer the best option.

 

Want more?

If you want to read more on this subject, see the Handling the Heat Naturally article which covers the risks of Ibuprofen when hot, jumping in cold swimming pools, hydration and the importance of Salt. Also see new article on the option of Sun Beds for Vitamin D in the winter. 

 

Diet and Skin Cancer

So we now know that it is burning not the sun itself that is the issue. But we must also highlight the modern diet and its associated nutritional deficiencies  has a role to play alongside the chemical sun creams.  And whilst the Cancer Act 1939 basically prevents us giving good advice here (what a crazy world we live in),  the basic advice is to make your diet as natural as possible. So that's free from processed foods (especially vegetable oils) and packed with naturally protective antioxidants, especially vitamin C, D and E, and plenty of omega oils.

 

Stay Safe and Have Fun!

We hope this article has been of use to you.  As ever, any questions, do let us know.  Have a wonderful summer, and we all hope you enjoy these glorious sunny days!

 

References

Can sunshine prevent cancer? Dr Damien Downing MBBS, MIBiol

Sunlight and Melanoma by William Campbell Douglass, MD

Sunlight Robbery by Oliver Gillie

The Sun and Skin Cancer: Examining the Truths, Pseudo-Truths and Lies of Mainstream Science By Dr. Michelle Kmiec

Get Tanned Not Skin Cancer! Dr Keith Scott-Mumby

Virtual Medicine by Dr Keith Scott-Mumby

Is there more than one road to melanoma? Jason K Rivers FRCPC. The Lancet Volume 363, Issue 9410, Pages 728 - 730, 28 February 2004

Newton-Bishop, J et. al. Relationship between sun exposure and melanoma risk for tumours in different body sites in a large case-control study in a temperate climate. European Journal of Cancer 2011; 4 7; 7 3 2 –7 4 1

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