Anyone NOT use sunscreen? Do you really think it's dangerous to our health? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 85 Old 04-30-2011, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would think sunscreen (at least as we know it) is a fairly modern invention... I know there are 'natural sunscreens' out there but just the act of putting on some in the first place seems unnatural to me (but then, so does spending 8+ hours a day in a cubicle...) I don't know. I didn't use sunscreen last year but we just didn't stay out in the sun all that long (and put long sleeve t-shirts on DS if we would be out for a while). This year I have a feeling we'll be out much more even in the hottest part of the day, especially now that DS's nap schedule has shifted... I have gotten a couple of very bad burns in the past and DS has gotten a (mild) burn already and it's only April! Sorry this is all over the place... I guess I'm just not sure what to do. I'm toying with the idea of just ordering something natural (or making my own) but I don't really want to...

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#2 of 85 Old 04-30-2011, 03:04 PM
 
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where do you live?

for me, when I found out that I was low in Vitamin D (as were 2 of my kids) we stopped using sunscreen except when we were going to be out on the lake all day in the sun. If it was just a regular day of playing outside, nope. If the kids are hot (in the sun), they'll move to the shade or go swimming. And we started supplementing Vitamin D. And what do you know - I tanned (not that much) and didn't burn. And none of the kids burned. Before that I'd been slathering it on. Also some people say that eating coconut oil helps avoid sunburn (and since we can't have butter, etc. we eat a lot of coconut oil).

My grandfather, who lived to be 99 years old and didn't have skin cancer, gardened every morning until noon. No sunscreen. Short sleeves. His arms were brown brown brown in the fall, though he did wear a ball cap to protect his bald head.

So (1) I'd check out vitamin D levels. (2) be smart with the sun.

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#3 of 85 Old 04-30-2011, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I live in your area, actually!

I am low in D (at least, was ~6mos ago!)... That is one of my big concerns.

We try to avoid places that don't have shade, and I'm quick to move into the shade when I'm hot, but apparently DS is not.

Does coconut milk count or does it have to actually be coconut oil?

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#4 of 85 Old 04-30-2011, 03:43 PM
 
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Unless we know we're going to be in a full-sun dedicated activity, like an afternoon at the beach, we don't use sunscreen. Hanging out on the deck, walking around the neighborhood - we skip it. When we do use it, we like the Kiss My Face spray on sunscreen.


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#5 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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We don't use it, even if we are going to be at the beach or pool.  However, we never really spend all day at the beach or pool.....usually no more than 2 hours and usually not during "prime" sun hours (later in the afternoon or earlier in the morning.  And, my kids all wear rashguards for heir shoulders are protected.  We have occasionally gotten a little red (which fades to tan after a few hours) and when that happens I take it as a sign that we need to up our nutritional intake.  I do believe that sunburn occurs when sun exposure is combined with poor nutritional status.   So, we try to take plenty of FCLO, avoid junk, coconut oil/ ghee etc.

 

If were going to be out all day on a boat or lake, or something where the sun is really strong, I would probably use it.


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#6 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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I use it very rarely - mostly if we're out sailing on my stepdad's boat. The burns can be pretty nasty out on the water, and it's not easy to notice that you're getting burned. Other than that? I put some on the kids, if we're at the outside pool in the middle of the day, but that's about it.

 

I used to be a sunscreen nut - wouldn't let ds1 do anything without it, but I've changed my views. Admittedly, the rationale behind sunscreen was the hole in the ozone layer, and I'm still not sure how I feel about that aspect of it. But, it doesn't make sense to me to be hiding from the sun...


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#7 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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We only use it when at the beach (since we don't live near a coast that is not often) or at a pool and only if we are hanging out longer not for a qucik swim. I use a facecream with sunscreen to avoid wrinkles but we are also more concerned about getting enough Vitamin D

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#8 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 12:35 PM
 
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I dislike sunscreen. I don't use it, but I have the type of complexion that doesn't burn easily. I get a little pink after not seeing the sun for so many months, and then I tan. My older daughter is very fair & she burns. I used it on her. Where we live, I figure the few months of natural vitamin D presents more benefits to my health than not using sunscreen & getting a little pink.

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#9 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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I'm not a sunscreen fan, because I'm sensitive to the chemicals in many, but I'd rather use it than not because the risk of skin cancer is greatly increased if you burn. The risk is increased further if you suffer sunburn as a child. I do try and keep us out of the midday sun, or covered up, if at all possible, but for me sunscreen is the lesser of the two evils.

 

I don't agree that sunburn only happens when you combine sun exposure with poor nutrition. Tell that to my good food loving but practically blue OH. I always joke that he goes from blue to white in the sun.

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#10 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tessie View Post

I'm not a sunscreen fan, because I'm sensitive to the chemicals many, but I'd rather use it than not because the risk of skin cancer is greatly increased if you burn. The risk is increased further if you suffer sunburn as a child. I do try and keep us out of the midday sun, or covered up, if at all possible, but for me sunscreen is the lesser of the two evils.

 

I don't agree that sunburn only happens when you combine sun exposure with poor nutrition. Tell that to my good food loving but practically blue OH. I always joke that he goes from blue to white in the sun.


Absolutely. I cringe when I think of the sunburns I got as a child greensad.gif

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Unless we know we're going to be in a full-sun dedicated activity, like an afternoon at the beach, we don't use sunscreen. Hanging out on the deck, walking around the neighborhood - we skip it. sunscreen.

 

Me too.  I actually used to use sunscreen all the time on myself and on DS but then started wondering why I became so terrified of the sun.  I don't even burn that easily, plus the sun provides nutrients. When I starting researching the benefits of D, I started using less and less sunscreen and only use it on myself and DS if we are going to have prolonged exposure or if it is at prime time and the sun feels really strong.  We use a sunscreen with natural ingredients.


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Quote:
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I'm not a sunscreen fan, because I'm sensitive to the chemicals many, but I'd rather use it than not because the risk of skin cancer is greatly increased if you burn. The risk is increased further if you suffer sunburn as a child. I do try and keep us out of the midday sun, or covered up, if at all possible, but for me sunscreen is the lesser of the two evils.

 

I don't agree that sunburn only happens when you combine sun exposure with poor nutrition. Tell that to my good food loving but practically blue OH. I always joke that he goes from blue to white in the sun.




Absolutely. I cringe when I think of the sunburns I got as a child greensad.gif


Me too!!! I grew up in Southern California and got sunburned a lot in my teens. I feel awful about it now, and wish I would have taken better care to either stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen or whatever. I just wish I didn't get so many sunburns. greensad.gif

 

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#13 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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I have very light skin (darn English parents!) and hardly ever wear sunscreen. I also never put it on my kids. The kids are outside in small doses (15min-1hr) at daycare long before the solstice and by the time June 21st hits, they have a good start on a tan. Neither kid has ever burned more than a faint red, that is gone within a couple of hours. Our philosophy regarding sun is this: spend time outdoors getting adequet sun before the solstice, spend minimal time in direct sun between 10am-2pm after the solstice, drink plenty of water on days we are out in the sun and eat good meals. We spend every weekend during the summer at my families lake house and most of that time is spent cruising the lake on a boat, so I know we have plenty of opportunities to burn. Last year I set up a pop-up-tent in the water for the kids to play under in the heat of the day and that worked quite well.

 

The worst burns I have ever had in my life were when I wore sunscreen. Now that I need to pay more attention to prevention, I do and it works. What I do think is dangerous to our health would be to slather a chemical all over our skin, then sit out in the hot sun and let our pores open up to take it all into our bodies (if your sweating, your pores are opening). I have to think that is a lot worse then paying attention to what your doing and spending time indoors when you have to! Just my opinion though...

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#14 of 85 Old 05-01-2011, 08:17 PM
 
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We are another family who just use it when we are going to be out for a long time (away from home) in the sun.  The kids usually wear a sunhat that shades their faces.  Our yard is fairly shady and the kids are constantly moving around the yard, so it's not like they are baking in the sun.  I got some Earth's Best sunscreen for when we do use it. 

 

Interesting reading some PP about nutrition and getting sunburn.  Something to think about.

 

 


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#15 of 85 Old 05-02-2011, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love to read more about sunburn & poor nutrition... anyone have any studies? It sounds unlikely (because we burn and have great nutrition, and I know people that don't burn and have horrible nutrition or are even malnourished) but maybe we are exceptions or there is one obscure but critical nutrient we are somehow missing out on??

I've also read some stuff lately about the sunburn/skin cancer connection being all hype, so maybe that's something else I should read about.

I know there are natural sunscreens but they still contain titanium or zinc oxides right??? I know that stuff isn't good to breathe in so I can't imagine it's great for your skin but I really know nothing about it TBH!

I'm also kind of worried sunscreen will give us a false sense of security.... But there are times where we just can't avoid being in direct sun for long periods of time... And we do live on the coast but don't spend every day on the beach or anything -- more often we are going for long walks or whatever.

How come people in other countries spend sooo much time outside, yet don't burn??


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#16 of 85 Old 05-02-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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naturalnews.com has aritcles or videos on the link between sunburn and nutrition.

 

I also do think a factor may be your genetic heritage.  I think someone with very fair skin whose ansectors are from the far north, needs to be very careful if they are living in southern climate where the sun is stronger.

 

I also think that how your exposure occurs is a factor.  Sun exposure is meant to be gradual, with some exposure occurring each day and your body builds up a gradual tan through the spring so that when the full, strong sun of summer comes it's not a shock.  I think a big problem occurs when people spend all day indoors every day and then go spend 6 hours at the beach on Sat.   In order to be able to spend 6 hours at the beach without burning, one needs to spend some time in the sun each day. This allows your body to build up it's own natural protection ( a tan).

 

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I'd love to read more about sunburn & poor nutrition... anyone have any studies? It sounds unlikely (because we burn and have great nutrition, and I know people that don't burn and have horrible nutrition or are even malnourished) but maybe we are exceptions or there is one obscure but critical nutrient we are somehow missing out on??
The nutrient I've seen associated with burning the most is vitamin D!  It seems as though people who spend consistent time in the sun, and build up their vitamin D, don't tend to burn. I don't have any studies, though. (I read a lot, but rarely bookmark anything and I don't remember sources well these days.) I do wonder, because dh moved up here to Vancouver from Knoxville 10 years ago. In the early years, when he was visiting and had first moved, and when he was outside cycling a lot, he never burned - never. These days, he still doesn't burn much, but I have noticed that he gets burns. I have to assume that after 10 years of living in "Mordor" (his nickname for Vancouver, because of the very persistent clouds and rain), his vitamin D stores are long since gone. Something has definitely changed, and his overall nutrition is light years better than it was when we met.

I've also read some stuff lately about the sunburn/skin cancer connection being all hype, so maybe that's something else I should read about.
I'd love it if ithey were all hype. I didn't get very many burns when I was young, but I did get one very, very bad one that blistered my shoulders and upper back/chest really badly,when I was about 11 or 12.

<snip>

How come people in other countries spend sooo much time outside, yet don't burn??
 
This is where I wonder if there really is a connectin with vitamin D and burns. If people live in areas where there's a lot of sun and/or they're outside a lot, they'd probably have high levels of vitamin D, yk?


 


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#18 of 85 Old 05-02-2011, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK so if we take that hypothesis a step further... sunscreen would block Vitamin D which would make you even MORE susceptible to burns... (which doesn't surprise me at all)

I will have to look into this theory more. Unfortunately I haven't found Natural News to be the most reputable & unbiased source for these things (though I very very very often agree with them in the end...) but I will find some time later to do some research if no one has any handy. smile.gif

The tricky thing is building up to sun exposure... because I feel like it's either cold (long pants & sweatshirts) or HOT... maybe it's just me... but even though we spend time outside year-round, our skin is mostly covered unless it's hot and then we just burn the first time we wear tshirts!!


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The tricky thing is building up to sun exposure... because I feel like it's either cold (long pants & sweatshirts) or HOT... maybe it's just me... but even though we spend time outside year-round, our skin is mostly covered unless it's hot and then we just burn the first time we wear tshirts!!
 

 

I live in the Pacific Northwest (and I'm still not sure why we're considered to be part of that, as I'm Canadian, and this isn't the North in this country), and there's no way I can get enough vitamin D just by sun exposure. So, I've started supplementing. I know a lot of people around here who are doing that now.
 

 


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#20 of 85 Old 05-02-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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I live in the Pacific Northwest (and I'm still not sure why we're considered to be part of that, as I'm Canadian, and this isn't the North in this country), and there's no way I can get enough vitamin D just by sun exposure. So, I've started supplementing. I know a lot of people around here who are doing that now.
 

 

Let's start calling it the Pacific Southwest. Different than the Southern Pacific. How about the North Pacific Southwest? I always feel like I'm lying when I say I live in the PNW! Also, love the Mordor comment. Although I think Mordor was in the south. It was probably bright and sunny in every way but emotionally. Like living in the Dominican Republic under Trujillo or something. In fact, I believe the DR-Mordor link has already been made by Junot Diaz.

 

OK, now away from hobbitses and back to sunscreen :)
 

 

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#21 of 85 Old 05-02-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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I am rather fair-skinned with medium-dark brown hair and blue-green eyes (English-Northern Italian-German heritage). Looking back at childhood pictures, I tanned easily. I recall getting a few burns, too. In my early 20s, I burned EASILY. That's when I started using sunscreen and kept it up for about a decade.

 

Interesting to read about the nutrition link because my childhood wasn't exactly healthy, but was healthier than my 20s. I absolutely ate the worst of my life in my 20s. Starting in my late 20s, I slowly began eating healthier and healthier (first step was ditching soda in favor of plain water).

 

Slowly, I stopped wearing sunscreen all over my body and only wore it on my face every single day (mineral-based only, though). Eventually, I stopped even doing that.

 

Nowadays, I rarely wear sunscreen and I don't encourage my DD (10) to do so, either. We do cover up on high exposure days and/or stay inside during the hottest part of the day. We live 20 minutes from the beach and go often. We also have a pool in our HOA and go frequently. There is no shade at either place. We wear rash guards and hats most of the time, but also use mineral-based sunscreen on faces/necks/shoulders under some conditions.

 

Mostly, though, our ordinary days have ample outdoor time and we aim for maximum skin exposure to make vitamin D (no sunscreen, least skin covered up as possible with temperature comfort -- and nudity laws LOL -- in mind). We supplement vitamin D, too. I also walk outside without my glasses (no contacts, either) when I can for natural eye health. Since we walk to/from school every single day -- sometimes I walk to/from school 3 or more times a day -- our bodies have year-round sunlight exposure (year-round school calendar; we were just out for a month).

 

DD has never been sunburned. She tans easily. We walked to/from preschool, too, and that was farther away.

 

One of my biggest challenges regarding this topic is getting people to leave me/DD alone about sunscreen use. Depending on the situation, I gently educate when appropriate. Such as, "I wonder about all the sunscreen use and increase in skin cancer. The two seem to have gone hand-in-hand versus having an inverse relationship, like one would imagine. What do you think?" and then have a conversation about whatever comes up. I like it when the conversation gets around to vitamin D and fortifying milk, cereal, orange juice, etc. because most moms/people seem to take more notice at that point.

 

The school system is particularly vexing, though. There is media (posters/programs/incentives/etc) promoting prolific sunscreen use and parent volunteers are pushing sunscreen like drugs, esp on the playground and jogging track. My DD is becoming more secure in her views on issues like these and is slowly becoming comfortable saying, "No, thank you," to adults. Peer pressure is an interesting mix. With sunscreen, she adapts to the situation and uses her own good judgment most of the time.

 

I got to witness this in action this past weekend when we were on a Girl Scout camping adventure. When she was younger, she followed my lead...looking to me or at me first. Now, however, she decided for herself first and I didn't say a word. I was proud of her for making her own decision and sticking to it. Two days she opted for a hat and short sleeves. One day she opted for sunscreen and a tank top. Her decisions matched the weather more than anything else. We were camping on an island in the middle of a bay with very few shade opportunities during the daytime, so no coverage of any kind was a poor choice for anyone. Some girls/leaders did make that choice and suffered with sunburns.


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#22 of 85 Old 05-02-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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I avoid the sun in general, which is pretty easy to do in Chicago lately! My brother had malignant melanoma at 29. He had one major sunburn as a child. It was a horrible, bubbling burn and he couldn't eat or sleep for days. It happened when he was at summer camp. We are Scottish! Our skin can't take excessive sun exposure. I think ethnic background is the most important factor in skin cancer risk. Also, excessive sun exposure raises your risk for macular degeneration if you have green or blue eyes.

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naturalnews.com has aritcles or videos on the link between sunburn and nutrition.

 

I also do think a factor may be your genetic heritage.  I think someone with very fair skin whose ansectors are from the far north, needs to be very careful if they are living in southern climate where the sun is stronger.

 

I also think that how your exposure occurs is a factor.  Sun exposure is meant to be gradual, with some exposure occurring each day and your body builds up a gradual tan through the spring so that when the full, strong sun of summer comes it's not a shock.  I think a big problem occurs when people spend all day indoors every day and then go spend 6 hours at the beach on Sat.   In order to be able to spend 6 hours at the beach without burning, one needs to spend some time in the sun each day. This allows your body to build up it's own natural protection ( a tan).

 


yup, welcome to my life...I am very fair skinned with family that is predominantly Irish and german...As a family we don't tan well (I actually golden up nice if I do it gradually)...DD is so fair skinned. I am paranoid about sun exposure because she burns in literally 2 minutes of direct sunlight in the middle of a summer day, even here in New England. I use sun screen on her face, her cheeks can burn easily and I still make her wear a large brimmed hat. We also do the rash guard at the beach or on any water because once again she burns practically immediately. 

 

It is tough, when are at home there is enough shade that we are just conscious of it and stay in the general shady spots. Fortunately our huge deck has varying amounts of shade during the day and we can always move to where it is shadier to get cool if we want.. DH burns immediately too and cannot go without sun screen or he suffers for it. He works outside often NOT in the shade, it's a trade off for him.

 

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I'd love to read more about sunburn & poor nutrition... anyone have any studies? It sounds unlikely (because we burn and have great nutrition, and I know people that don't burn and have horrible nutrition or are even malnourished) but maybe we are exceptions or there is one obscure but critical nutrient we are somehow missing out on??

I've also read some stuff lately about the sunburn/skin cancer connection being all hype, so maybe that's something else I should read about.

I know there are natural sunscreens but they still contain titanium or zinc oxides right??? I know that stuff isn't good to breathe in so I can't imagine it's great for your skin but I really know nothing about it TBH!

I'm also kind of worried sunscreen will give us a false sense of security.... But there are times where we just can't avoid being in direct sun for long periods of time... And we do live on the coast but don't spend every day on the beach or anything -- more often we are going for long walks or whatever.

How come people in other countries spend sooo much time outside, yet don't burn??
 



re: the bolded. Could you please provide some links to this information??

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#25 of 85 Old 05-02-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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We take fermented cod liver oil every day, and we have zero reaction to the sun as a result.
No tan or burn at all. And that is just one of the benefits if offers!

ETA prior to taking the oil, I burned severely without sunscreen.

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#26 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 06:39 AM
 
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It can be hard to figure out how genes fit in, though.  I am white and really pale, and I've always burned easily, til a couple years ago (I live in Texas now, so there's plenty of opportunity to burn). 

 

There are some studies using omega-3 supps to increase the amount of time it takes to burn, but when you factor in: how much omega-6 do you consume in your diet, how much omega-3 do you consume, do you have any unusual sources of oxidative stress which can use up omega-3s a lot faster than average, it can be tricky to figure out how to make an impact on any one individual.  Plus, if your balance is quite off, it can take a couple years after a change in diet to see a change--for me it took almost 2 years after I switched to a high saturated fat diet (really reduced my omega-6s when I moved to a lot more animal fats and coconut oil).  When the change happened, it was quite abrupt and shocking.  Cause really, I was the kid/adult that burned in just a few minutes of sun, and then suddenly, it stopped (meaning I *could* still burn if I stayed out quite a while, but most of my trips to the park, or working out in the yard, didn't result in any pink skin anymore). 

 

There are also a few studies on orange veggies, apparently the beta-carotene that we don't convert to vitamin A helps protect against burning in the sun. 


 

 

 

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#27 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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I don't really think that the sunburn/skin cancer connection is "all hype," but I do believe there has been some leaning towards the idea that the benefits that the vitamin D confers upon you may outweigh the risks that a sunburn presents. Also, the chemicals in sunscreen may present some adverse health effects. Just things to weigh in the overall balance. I do think that if you are the type to turn into a lobster, sunscreen probably is a good idea, if for nothing else than your comfort.

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#28 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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We don't use sunscreen in our family. I believe that this is right for *our* family because our genetic makeup doesn't predispose us to burning.

 

That's not to say it's impossible....we went to the beach last Friday in the heat of midday, ds and DP strippedoff their shirts and got in the water, and later they complained that their shoulders were itchy, which I took to mean a bit burned. That's never happened before and I think it's because we've inside too muc lately, not used to the sun like we should be before stripping half naked and roasting in it at high noon lol.

 

When I was in the Dominican Republic the only people who used sunscreen were the Dutch tourists, who burned anyway. I think that people who are natives of hot and sunny places are genetically presdisposed to withstand the sun and the hot temperatures better. I've never hearf of a Kenyan with a sunburn! So it makes sense that our family  (mostly Hispanic/African descent) isn't as likely to burn as, say, my dad, the lone white guy in the family, who is pasty white and of Dutch/Scottish ancestry.

 

Also, the chemicals in sunscreen have been linked in certain studies to an increase in skin cancer. Australia is an excellent example of this---they have nearly 100% sunscreen use do to massive campaigning about it, yet their skin cancer rates are through the roof.

 

So, I don't blame super fair folks for using it because sunburns are no fun. But if you're not given to easily burning, I think the risks of sunscreen far, far outweigh any supposed benefit.


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#29 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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This is interesting, I'd like to read more about nutritional supplements to help combat burning. That said, we use sunscreen around here if we're going to be in the direct sun for hours at a time. My husband is of Norwegian descent, and is practically transparent, he's so pale! Our daughter inherited his super pale skin, and since she's so young I would hate for her to burn. We mostly cover her up, but I use some of the most "natural" sunscreen I can find.

 

However, my husband was just diagnosed with skin cancer, and he is now militant about covering himself with sunscreen all the time.  He has always been an athlete, so his whole childhood/early adulthood he spent tons of time outside w/out sunscreen.  Now that he's facing a lifetime of cancer treatments, he's become very cautious.  I know some people don't believe the sun causes skin cancer, but he believes it very strongly.

 

ETA: We live in Florida, where the weather is warm and sunny almost year-round, so we probably spend more time in the sun than people in colder/cloudier climates.


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#30 of 85 Old 05-03-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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I was just thinking about one of the things that made me start questioning the sunscreen thing. I noticed that many articles, pamphlets, etc. would mention that we should always wear it, because it's all the 5-10 minute trips to the store that really cause problems, not the one long day in the sun or whatever. I would just sit there and wonder how researchers could possibly know the sun exposure history of patients presenting with skin cancer? If we're going all the way back to childhood, I highly doubt that I could describe my lifetime sun exposure habits with any degree of accuracy, yk? And, yet the "it's all the 5-10 minute trips" thing was presented as undeniable fact. It just made me start to rethink...


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