Enjoy the sun safely this Fourth of July! - by Sarah Servold What better way to celebrate America than to enjoy some outdoor time and get a tan? No seriously. Get in the sun. I know, I know, you’re asking but, Sarah, what about sunburns and skin cancer?!?! The fact of the matter is that Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic. You probably already know this, but just in case, Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases. (You can read about it here!) No food or supplements will ever compare with our main source of Vitamin D – good old-fashioned sun exposure. In moderation, of course. So what’s happening is doctors, society, commercials, etc are all telling us to avoid the sun, which helps our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D, and in addition, they want us to put chemical laden lotions on our bodies in hopes of reducing one type of cancer (skin) that is not commonly fatal. In doing this, we cause ourselves to become Vitamin D deficient and increase our chance of a slew of other cancers, including some of the most fatal ones. So how do you avoid sunburn and skin cancer if you give up the market ready sunscreen? Well if we take a closer look at this, we see the same story that we typically do. This is an inside out issue. Sunburn is a type of inflammation, and as we all know, diet has a tremendous impact on inflammation in the body. In order to subside inflammation, we should clean up our diet – remove grains, legume, dairy, sugar, etc. This will not only improve our health overall, but will allow us to enjoy a bit more time out in the sun without getting burned! Avoid:
- processed foods
- vegetable oils (this is the most important for sun exposure)
- lots of healthy saturated fats
- lots of foods rich in omega-3s (fish, etc) or take a fermented cod liver oil supplement
- lots of leafy greens
Ok so back to moderation. Moderate sun exposure is good for us, as we need to produce enough Vitamin D to help us stay healthy, but if you’re going to be out in the sun all day, such as on July 4th, at Dog Beach in San Diego J, then you can find a list of Environmental Working Group recommended sunscreens below, as well as a simple way to make your own:
- Take one of your favorite lotions, such as real.’s body balm and add zinc oxide or some other non-nano version. This makes a natural SPF of 20+.
Thanks to Mommy Potamus, here is a helpful chart to decide how much zinc oxide to add: If you’re looking for a moderate SPF (6-11), measure out the lotion you are going to use and then add 10% of its weight in zinc oxide. For example, 8 ounces (weighed) of lotion + 0.8 ounces of zinc oxide (weighed) = SPF 6-11+ Or 8 ounces (weighed) of lotion + 1.2 ounces zinc oxide (weighed) = SPF 12-19 Note: Huge changes in SPF numbers are actually pretty insignificant when it comes to differences in protection. SPF 100 blocks 99 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. SPF 30 blocks 96.7 percent, and SPF 15 blocks 93%.