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Sun Isn’t the Enemy, Cancer Is!

Sunburn, photographed 2 days after a 5-hour su...
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Since we posted a previous blog on protecting your skin from the sun earlier this month, there’s been a flurry of media attentionon sunscreens and whether or not they’ve really protected us from skin cancer. Frankly, all the information is confusing at best.  Skin cancer has been on the rise, despite the millions and millions of dollars spent on sunscreens every year. Turns out those sunscreens have been inadequate, and the advice to avoid the sun has paid a toll on our health.

Exposure to the sun is vitally important for getting healthy doses of vitamin D3 in your system.  There are very few foods that contain vitamin D – and many products that list vitamin D as an ingredient often contain synthetic vitamin D2 which is not a suitable source to build adequate vitamin D levels.  Do you know what your vitamin D levels are? The best thing you can do for yourself is get your vitamin D levels checked. A simple blood test is all you need. There’s no other way to know – and once you do, you can increase your exposure to the sun or take the appropriate dosage of vitamin D. Did you know vitamin D impacts more than 3,000 genes in your body?! Okay, so you thought this blog was on “how much sun is safe?” and you’re no doubt wondering  why I’m obsessing about vitamin D.  Because low vitamin D levels will actually increase your risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In this article from Dr. Joe Mercola, I learned that worldwide, 2 million people (200,000 in the US) die from cancer every year from insufficient vitamin D levels. That’s a lot of people who die from something that’s FREE!  You can read more about the importance of Vitamin D here. So now let’s get to the million dollar question,  how much sun should you get? Well, it depends….


If you talk to some dermatologists, they’ll tell you to avoid the sun as much as possible, but many are challenge this thinking.  As you’ll see in this article from the Daily Mail, we need the sun and scientists are are now recommending limited sun exposure.

There are many factors in gauging your sun exposure and with thanks to the Vitamin D Council and Dr. Mercola, here are some important things to consider:

  • The optimal time for vitamin D absorption from the sun is between 10 am – 2 pm. (This is the time we’ve been told for the past decade to avoid the sun!)
  • If you’re out in the sun, a good rule of thumb is: If your shadow is longer than you are tall, you’re not making much vitamin D.
  • If you’re a pale-skinned caucasion you need only a brief time in the sun 10-20 minutes max.
  • When you start to turn a light pink – stop! That tells you your body has had enough and you need to cover yourself up or load up on the sun screen.
  • Where do you live? Are you in the northern hemisphere or the southern? In other words how close are you to the sun?
  • Is it winter or summer? This makes a difference in the intensity of the sun’s rays. Sunlight is strongest at the equator.
  • What time of day is it? Is it cloudy? You can still burn in cloudy conditions.
  • Your skin phototype (or how much melanin, the coloring in your skin) affects the amount of time you can spend in the sun.
  • People of color need to be in the sun 2-6 times longer than those with fair skin to reach the equilibrium point. (And don’t believe the myth that people of color don’t get skin cancer – they do!)
  • In order to get  adequate vitamin D levels when you are in the sun, you should have as much of your skin exposed as possible.


If you love the sun, but don’t want to look old before your time, Natural Healthy Concepts can help. Protect your skin every day with a skin cream that contains a natural sunscreen, like Ecco Bella’s Age Antidote Day Cream SPF15, it contains the minerals that work best in blocking the sun’s harmful effects and it doesn’t contain the nasty stuff you want to avoid! If you’ve already seen the damage from too much sun on your skin try DeVita’s Sun Damage Repair Serum. But most important, choose a good sunscreen like those you’ll find from Aubrey Organics. So there you have it, how much sun is safe depends on you – your skin type, where you live, what season it is, etc. But unless you absolutely have to for medical reasons, don’t avoid the sun. That big star is a blessing – take the steps you need to protect yourself, but get out and soak it up!

In our mission to help keep you safe and healthy this summer, be sure and catch our next blog as we take a look at healthy (and not so healthy) bug sprays and essential oils.

Additional resource: “4 Things You Didn’t know about Sunscreens” – Maggie Koerth-Baker - boingboing.net, June 16, 2011