There’s something about the sun and the warmth it provides that attracts us to it like bees to honey. But before you hit the beach in a massive swarm with your sunscreen, consider that you’re likely armed with a lotion that’s more harmful than helpful. Get the skinny before you slap it on.
Understand your relationship with the sun
Many of us are caught in a love-hate relationship with the sun. We like it, but it doesn’t like us. 1 hour in it and many of us feel like a strawberry pop tart. This prompts many of us to slap on the SPF 1000 first thing and block the suns rays altogether.
Bad idea – the sun creates life on this planet and you should probably enjoy it and soak up some benefits before you go loony on the lotion.
Respect the sun and get some exposure
The sun is not something to fear, but to be respected. After all, if something sustains life on this planet, you might want to give kudos or at least a thumbs up in its favour.
One of the great things about the sun is that its the most powerful and cheapest form of Vitamin D out there (if you can get it…sorry to my Northern friends who get it in more limited quantities). Vitamin D is known for its immune enhancing effects which helps protect against all types of cancers and other immune system issues.
The key to using the sun to your benefit is to allow the rays to soak into your body before you go blocking it altogether. Depending on your location, 20-30 minutes of sun a day on your arms and legs is your RDA for sun. After you get that, you can protect yourself, but again, we need to do that the right way.
Get the right sunscreen
We’ve been brainwashed that all sunscreens are created equal and can prevent the dreaded sunburn. Even worse, the higher the SPF written on the bottle, the better its supposed to work. How many times have you heard “but I bought SPF 2000, how could I possibly burn”? Perhaps it was the dozen cocktails and the 4 hour nap in Mexico, or maybe there was a typo on the bottle (yeah, all of them). Either way, you’re fried and confused.
So now you have a sun burn, and you and the kids are ripping off the leaves of the aloe vera plant to stop the stinging, all the while muttering that skin cancer is in your not so distant future. You will never go outside again without applying on the hour and before you step out in the open air.
Stop. That’s not a good idea.
First of all, as I said above you need the sun for Vitamin D which is critical to health. So get at least 20 minutes, preferably not during the peak heat of the day. That means putting on sunscreen AFTER you have got your dose.
Secondly, there is no real consensus on whether sunscreen even prevents skin cancer, and there’s also evidence that they might increase the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer!
Perhaps it’s that false sense you can stay out longer in the sun if you have it on, or that those SPF’s are a line of crap. You may also want to consider the ingredients in some of those lotions, like parabens, that cause hormone disruption and a whole host of issues that can lead to certain cancers as well.
The best protection is light clothing and shade. If you have to get out in it, then at least find a sunscreen that’s proven to work, and does not contain all the nasty chemicals that your skin absorbs like water on a sponge.
The bottom line with the sun
Use the sun to your advantage. Get your daily exposure, get out, or get a proper sunscreen if you just can’t cover up or find some shade.
Does some skin color make you look sexy? Maybe. But its pretty damn hard to look sexy looking like leather and in a hospital gown undergoing treatments. Don’t over do it – you can get your color and get your sexy back without the increased exposure.