Wednesday, March 28, 2012

To sunbathe or not to sunbathe...

Ok, people. Let's talk about the controversial topic of the sun. Most of you I'm sure have been brainwashed into thinking that the sun is unhealthy for us. What about skin cancer? And ladies, I know you're worried about wrinkles. But what about getting enough Vitamin D? Majority of us are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin but a hormone that controls the absorption of vitamins and minerals into your blood, among other things. It's extremely important. Without it you could eat the healthiest diet in the world and your body still wouldn't be able to use all of the vitamins and minerals it was trying to absorb.

The sun is how we are naturally supposed to get Vitamin D. These doctors that are pushing synthetic Vitamin D are doing everyone an injustice.
What is UV light? Simply put, it's electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength that's shorter than that of visiblelight, and longer than x-rays. Visible light, UV rays, x-rays-all of these are just names for different wavelengths of electromagnetic rays. It's called ultra-violet because these frequencies are higher than the wavelengths that wehumans identify as violet. There are five kinds of UV light, but the first two, Vacuum UV and Far UV are bothcompletely absorbed by the.
UVB is the most dangers of the commonly encountered forms of UV. It has enough energy to wreakphotochemical havoc on our cellular DNA, but not enough to be absorbed by the atmosphere like UVC. UVB isneeded by our skin to generate Vitamin D, but too much exposure can cause sunburn, cataracts and can lead toskin cancer. People who work outside are at the most risk of these dangers, and cloud cover is not enoughprotection to block UVB. 
UVA is the most commonly found form of UV, and is responsible for the tanning effect we see in our skin after time spent in sunlight, and can cause sunburn if exposure is excessive. The atmosphere does very little to blockthis kind of UV, and it's needed to help generate Vitamin D. However, too much exposure can cause our skin togrow tough, hard, and wrinkled. It can also suppress the immune system and cause the creation of cataracts. (source)
Here's the problem with the sun and skin cancer. Until recently sun screens only blocked UVB rays (Vitamin D producing). They did nothing to block UVA rays (the cancer producing rays). So guess what happened? People thought they were protecting their skin from skin cancer, but they weren't. So they were roasting in the sun (present company included) not burning because the sunscreen was protecting those top layers of skin, but meanwhile underneath (where the UVA reaches) there was some serious damage being done. When UVA rays penetrate they actually burn the deeper layers of your skin which you do not feel but still causes damage that can result in skin cancer- and wrinkles.

I get the question/statement all the time 'Well I know someone who wore sun screen/didn't wear sunscreen and now has skin cancer. What do you say about that?'. Well, this is what happens- if you are the type that doesn't burn and you aren't wearing sunscreen, UVA rays are still being absorbed deep into your skin which will potentially cause skin cancer. If you are the type to use sun screen but it only blocks out UVB rays then you are still being exposed to the potential of skin cancer because the UVA rays are penetrating deep into your skin.

The goal is to get enough sun so you can manufacture Vitamin D and not burn. LET ME REPEAT THAT....THE GOAL IS TO NOT GET SUN BURN. You can do this a couple ways. You can sit in the sun for as long as your skin will tolerate (err on the side of caution especially in the beginning of the spring/summer) and then put sunscreen on if you are going to sit out longer (must be UVA & UVB). You can go to a tanning salon. HOWEVER! There are a few questions you must ask the tanning salon you plan on going to:

  • Do the lamps use an electronic ballast or a magnetic ballast? You want electronic.
  • What is the ratio of UVA to UVB. Ideally you would want bulbs that are at least 10% UVB

You can also take an oral Vitamin D3 supplement, however you should really get a blood test to check your levels before you start taking a supplement as you can take too much orally. Another important thing to mention is the type of Vitamin D that milk is fortified with is the wrong one- D2. The kind that our body utilizes is D3 which we have the ability to make when we are exposed to UVB & UVA rays. Our bodies have a self regulating mechanism that will not allow Vitamin D to get to toxic levels, but only if we get it from sun exposure.

Below is a video that explains how to figure out the times of the day that you will get UVB according to where you live and the time of year. The actual website where you can put in your city, state, and date is

So what do I do? Well, in the winter I go to a tanning salon and in the summer I sit in the sun. Call me crazy but when I go tanning consistently I don't usually get sick. In fact, if I feel a cold coming on I go tanning and it will literally be almost gone the next day. BUT I DON'T BURN! I start out at 1-2 minutes and work my way up to 8 minutes. I have friends who are Italian (you know who you are) who go tanning and go in for too long (and burn) because they want to get color immediately. This is the worst thing you could do for yourself and are totally missing the point of the purpose of getting sun. 

Every single one of our cells has Vitamin D receptors. How then did people centuries ago survive without the vitamin industry pushing pills on them? The sun. And the people who didn't live in climates where the sun was an option ate the fat of animals that contained Vitamin D in it. 

Nature always provides what we need when we need it. It is our job to get back to a place where we are not brainwashed by big industries (vitamins, pharma, beauty). Oh and I almost forgot about wrinkles. If you get a little bit of sun, and eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables you will literally look younger and healthier than you ever did. No need to buy expensive creams (that don't work anyway). 

FYI those older models in face cream ads that look flawless are Photoshopped. 

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