SUMMER SKIN PROTECTION ?
For years we have been told to use sunscreen to protect our skin from damage that can lead to skin cancer. But is it all hype? Sunscreens are designed to block UV rays from penetrating the skin. These are the rays that cause sunburn. However, these rays also trigger our bodies to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D production is essential to maintain the health of our heart, and protect us from other health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, MS, autism, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, joint and muscle pain, frequent infections, colds, flu, and yes, many types of cancer.
Here are some interesting statistics: Malignant melanoma (skin cancer) is only responsible for 10,000 fatalities per year in the United States. Lung cancer causes about 150,000 deaths and breast cancer 40,000 deaths per year.
William Grant, a prominent vitamin D researcher, estimates that vitamin D deficiency causes 100,000 people to develop cancer each year who wouldn’t have if they had adequate levels to provide protection. Moderate levels of vitamin D could prevent 28,000 deaths of colon cancer per year. (10 minutes per day of direct sunlight is sufficient for most adults.)
So, do the benefits of sunscreen use out weigh the risks? Recent studies of sunscreen’s effectiveness against melanoma risk were inconclusive showing even numbers of results for and against. Some studies showed relative to latitude, an increased risk of skin cancer due to an increase of free radicals that develop with the chemical exposure of sunscreen.
What are some healthy alternatives?
Keep your skin covered with clothing or protective shade.
Use antioxidants and polyphenol plant extracts to protect skin topically during exposure. Your local health food store will have a natural product or contact our office for ideas in making your own.