Okay so please don’t open your bottle of Banana Boat and start sucking it down! In this post we are going to discuss the dangers of sunscreen, the importance of sun and the best ways to protect your skin from a burn. If you know me, you know I have one brown skinned child and one very pale, fair skinned child. I follow the same rule for both-NO SUNSCREEN. Why? Well I am a Vitamin D connoisseur, I love Vitamin D and the best and most economical way to get it is from the sun.
First let me explain that our skin absorbs every toxin we put on it, and it goes directly into our blood stream. In fact, our body absorbs toxins through our skin, quicker than when we ingest toxins through our food/beverages. Most sunscreens on the market are extremely toxic and far from protective. Did you know that UVA rays are what cause cancer and 95% of sunscreens don’t filter UVA!? UVB is what allows our bodies to make Vitamin D, and ironically the over the counter sunscreens do filter UVB. Wearing any sunscreen blocks the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D, which is vital for hundreds of reactions in the body including the protection against cancer.
So here is the deal, sunburn is a type of inflammation, and diet has a tremendous impact on inflammation in the body. As such, addressing diet is much more important that just slathering on the sunscreen. Additionally dietary improvements can improve other areas of health as well. So what can you eat to prevent sunburn?
Lets look 2 types of foods to prevent sunburn:
#1: Omega 3 Fatty Acids: grass fed meat, wild caught fish, free range chicken, organic pastured eggs. Omega 3 fats prevent inflammation which can cause sunburn. Omega 3 fatty acids also help with redness from sunburn as well as the aging effects of sun. When we are going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, we double up on our dose of fermented cod liver oil as an anti-inflammatory boost! We take fermented cod liver oil everyday as a part of our routine. Taking it regularly is most effective in protecting against sunburns and any inflammatory disease.
#2 Phyto-Nutrients which are antioxidants: most any type of brightly colored fruits and veggies. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, mangoes, beets, red peppers, kale, tomatoes, sweet potatoes. Lets look at the top 3 phyto nutrients…
Lutein, a phyto-nutrient found in deep green and orange fruits and vegetables, protects skin from UV (sun) damage, and also boosts hydration, skin elasticity, and superficial lipids. Kale, spinach, chard, carrots, orange peppers, pumpkin, and other squashes are all good examples of places to find lutein.
Beta-carotene, along with other carotenoids, accumulate in the skin and provide 24-hour protection against sun damage. These carotenoids are also important for vision, immune function, and bone health. They are found in yellow and orange fruits, and dark, leafy greens: squash, sweet potato, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, spinach, kale, etc.
Lycopenes enhance the use of stored vitamin D and protect the skin from sun damage. Lycopenes are found in red fruits, such as tomatoes, papayas, and watermelon.
The best news is that all of these wonderful foods are immune-boosters, filled with important anti-oxidants and much-needed fiber, and just plain good for you. And, of course, they’re delicious, so you can’t go wrong by including a few servings in your diet every day.
Lets look at 2 types of foods which lead to inflammation, increasing your risk of sunburn:
Excess glucose leads to inflammation. What is glucose you ask? Carbohydrates and sugar turn into glucose in our system. Now don't get me wrong, glucose is very necessary for good health, but not in the quantities that the 'Standard American Diet' promotes. We should get the majority of our glucose from fresh vegetables and fruits and some properly prepared grains. Grains and sugar are the leading culprits to excess glucose. Look at the above pictures-these are the most commonly consumed meals for most American's-in fact the recommended breakfast by our American Dietetics Association is cereal, toast and orange juice. Other than the very small piece of butter on the toast, that breakfast IS ALL GLUCOSE aka SUGAR which=INFLAMMATION.
We don't wear sunscreen, unless we are out in the direct sunlight for more than 1 hour, and we don't get sunburns, but that is because first and foremost we follow a very anti-inflammatory diet devoid of excess glucose. However, unless you choose to 'Eat your Sunscreen' you will likely continue to experience sunburns. So rather than taking a dangerous 'band aid' approach, by slathering your kids up in toxins, be preventive, change your diet and soak up that vitamin D!
Now, if you still feel the need to have sunscreen on hand, here are a few rules to live by: the best sunscreen is a hat and shirt. Cotton clothing provides SPF 15 protection. Use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which are very natural minerals that just create a physical barrier between your skin and sun. There are a few brands of healthy sunscreen options on the market, devoid of toxins:
HELICHRYSUM: Click Here
COCONUT OIL: Click Here(coconut oil can be used as light protection as it is naturally about an SPF 5)
BADGER Sunblock: Click Here
CALIFORNIA BABY Sunblock: Click Here
ALL TERRAIN Sunblock: Click Here
What to avoid in a sunscreen:
Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate): The sunscreen industry uses vitamin A in its formulations because it is an anti-oxidant that is thought to slow skin aging. However, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study found that a form of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, when used in sunscreen and therefore exposed to sunlight may actually speed the development of skin lesions and tumors.
Oxybenzone: Sixty-five percent of non mineral sunscreens on the U.S. market contain oxybenzone. This chemical penetrates your skin in large amounts, potentially triggering allergic reactions. Oxybenzone is also a potential endocrine-disrupting chemical that can cause hormone disruption and cell damage.
Happy 'pinking,' soak up that vitamin D baby!
For more information please check out Dr. Mercola’s site.