by Laurie Lynch, ND.
that beautiful sunny whether is back and I just got my first sunburn of the
season, itís time to consider sun burn protection. Coming from
a family of fair-skinned blonds with
serious sun-sensitivities, I have continuously researched information on the
beneficial and harmful effects of the sun, and experimented with the various
types of sun burn prevention and remedies. So I'd like to share this
information with you so you can safely protect yourself and your family from
sunburn and other sun damage.
What are the beneficial effects of sun
sun's rays promote a feeling of well-being, stimulate blood circulation and
production of vitamin D needed for mineral absorption, skeletal development,
immune function and blood cell formation. Experts disagree as to the right
amount of sun exposure. Some say 5 to 15 minutes of sun exposure on hands, face
and arms two to three times a week is sufficient to keep your vitamin D levels
up, while others say an hour a day, and still others say humans were meant to
live continually in the sun. UV radiation has been used to treat diseases, such
as rickets, psoriasis, eczema, Seasonal Affective Disorder, sleep disorders,
P.M.S. and jaundice. However, this therapeutic use cannot prevent the negative
side-effects of UV radiation.
What are the harmful effects of sun
What we think is a healthy tan
is really a sign that your skin has been damaged and has attempted to protect
itself. When sun-damaged, the body produces melanin to create a protective tan,
but it can't protect against long-term UV damage that causes skin cancer.
A bad sunburn as a child doubles your
chances of developing skin cancer later on. The American Cancer Society says 80%
of the suns cumulative damage occurs before age 20. The
sun's ultraviolet radiation can penetrate and
change the structure of skin cells, damage connective tissue and increase the
risk for developing skin cancers; it can also cause premature aging; eye
problems; sun poisoning; immune system suppression; wrinkles, loss of
elasticity, and "age spots". UV rays reach you in any season, even on cloudy
days, and will reflect off any surface like water, cement, sand, and snow.
Why are some people more
sensitive to the sun than others?
Aside from fair skin, there are other
factors that contribute to sun sensitivity:
such as some used in industrial cleaners.
such as antibiotics; anti-inflammatories; coal tars found in synthetic vitamin
supplements, acne medications; psoriasis medications; photoactive dyes;
anti-depressant drugs such as Thorazine; high blood pressure medications;
anesthesia; steroids and other hormonal drugs; pain relievers; and petroleum
products found in synthetic vitamins and some drugs.
St. John's Wort
causes sun sensitivity.
Oils on the skin, in
skin lotions, ointments, sun tan lotions, sun screens, and sun blocks;
cosmetics, and perfumes, magnify the suns rays causing skin damage.
magnifies the suns radiation, especially through car windshields.
The bad news about sun
Although doctors recommend use of sunscreens, studies have shown that sunscreens
do not prevent skin cancer and may actually promote skin cancers, as well as
colon and breast cancer. The British Journal of Cancer reported that the yearly
incidence of melanoma in Norway had increased by 350% for men and by 440% for
women during the period 1957 to 1984, coinciding with the use of sun screens,
before the problem of ozone depletion developed. Why has the incidence of
melanoma continued to rise since the wide use of sunscreens? Chemicals are
absorbed through the skin into the blood stream. Most sunscreens contain the
chemical benzophenone, a powerful free radical generator that is activated by
ultraviolet light, which could cause melanoma and other skin cancers.
Benzophenone and 4 other sunscreen chemicals tested were shown to have
estrogenic effects which could contribute to uterine and breast cancer. And this
female hormone-like chemical is certainly not good for our sons! Other common
sunscreen ingredients were found to damage skin cells, especially when exposed
to light. Sunscreens also inhibit vitamin D production.
The Good news about sun protection
There are safe, effective methods of sun burn
Avoid sun exposure from 10 a.m.-3
p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest, but regular, moderate unprotected sun
exposure in the early morning or late afternoon will help the body to produce
you can't avoid the midday sun, you can try the
clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, tightly woven long-sleeved shirt, and
Eat healthy. Research has shown that eating 2 servings of fresh, raw organic
fruits, 4 servings of fresh, raw organic vegetables, and 2 servings of whole
grains a day provide needed nutrients that help protect from sun damage and
cancers, as does avoiding bad dietary fats (heated and hydrogenated vegetable
oils, trans fats), and eating more good fats (raw olive oil, avocados, flax or
hemp seed oils).
Applying fresh lemon juice or Aloe Vera juice (from the live plant) on skin
before sun exposure, prevents burning, helps heal existing burns, and kills
infection. These may be a little drying to older skin, so I found that adding
water and honey to lemon juice prevents drying, protects skin, and tastes
absolutely delicious, so what you donít use on your skin you can drink. Your
skin will feel sticky for a few minutes, so you may want to rinse the inside of
Tbsp. Raw HONEY 4-8
and taste test to see if it needs more honey or lemon.
I hope this information will help
you and your family to safely enjoy fun in the
Laurie Lynch is a Naturopathic
Doctor, Master Herbalist, Certified Hypnotherapist, Wellness Consultant with
several degrees in Nutrition, and may be contacted at the Living Well Health &
Education Center, (910) 426-5159
Return to Health Tips