Have you been misinformed about the detrimental effect of sun exposure? In truth, sunlight can be quite healing. The body produces vitamin D when the skin is basked in sunlight and many people are deficient in this vital nutrient. More and more evidence is showing that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and wellness. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body. According to one large-scale study, optimal Vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer.[i] The most effective way to check your vitamin levels is via a blood serum test.
Many sunscreens on the market block UVB rays which assist with vitamin D absorption, yet they do not block the more dangerous and potentially deadly UVA rays. The term ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen would be refers to those that generally block both UVB and UVA rays.
It is interesting to note that Melanoma is occurring in areas where sunscreen is used the most and melanoma rates are highest among those that avoid the sun and work in indoor urban environments. In particular, a BMJ (British Medical Journal) study found that working under fluorescent lights had doubled the risk of melanoma in the subjects of the test group. So although studies fail to prove that sunscreens prevent basal cell cancers and melanoma, most public health officials still insist that sunscreen use or abstinence from the sun is our best protection.[ii]
So it would seem that sunlight may not be the antagonist as has been conveyed. Keep in mind that the wavelength of UVB and UVA are different. So, when you are indoors and expose yourself to sunlight filtered through window glass, you are increasing your risk of a variety of conditions, primarily skin cancer, because the UVA's are effectively destroying your vitamin D3 levels while you're getting none of the benefits from UVB, and this can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer.
What can you do?
If you are planning travel which will include a lot of time in the sun, consider preparing your skin with some short term UVB exposure via lamps with a reasonable percentage of UVB rays. A time of 10 to 15 minutes may be sufficient.
Make sure that you and your children obtain gradual, limited sun exposure in the summer while avoiding that exposure between 11:00 and 3:00 PM. A few minutes in the sun, twice a day, may be helpful for absorption of vitamin D. Beyond that you can seek out shade, wear a large brimmed hat, move to the indoors, wear clothes to cover exposure and always protect your eyes.
Carefully select sunscreen products that have natural, mineral based ingredients, are free from synthetic sun ingredients and are safe, non-toxic, preservative free and bio-degradable. Avoid a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate. Consider using EWG’s guide to sunscreens: https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/executive-summary/
[i] Mercola, J., Little Sunshine Mistakes That Can Give you Cancer Instead of Vitamin D. March 26, 2012 from:
[ii] Uncovering the Truth: Sun exposure, Sunscreen, and Skin Cancer. Pathways Magazine. Summer 2004, I(02)