There is great benefit to getting sunshine on your skin. Sunshine is the best way to get Vitamin D3, and recent studies have stated that over 80% of us are deficient in vitamin D3. (My experience in having tested hundreds of people for Vitamin D3 levels is that this percentage is even higher–as high as 95%!) In the winter months (actually, between October 1 and April 15 in the latitude of Baltimore/Washington), we must supplement with Vitamin D3 capsules or liquid drops (4,000 to 6,000 mg/day). We also have to supplement with Vitamin D3 even in the sunny months of April 15 to October 1 when we do not get outside in the sun for at least 35 to 45 minutes or if it is cloudy or rainy. Lack of Vitamin D3 has been strongly implicated in recent research as being involved as a cause of Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, 16 different types of cancer, immune system deficiency, and weak bones, among many other ailments.
We should all, regardless of age, strive for at least 30-45 minutes of sunlight per day in the sunny months. This sun exposure should not be during the peak hours of the hottest sun—between 11 am and 3 pm. Burning the skin is definitely not healthy!
While you are getting your Vitamin D3 from the sun, do not use sun blocks. Sun blocks block the good healthy Vitamin D3. In fact, after getting skin exposure for the Vitamin D3, do not use “normal” sun blocks. According to the highly respected Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) nearly one-half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products have multiple toxins in them, and when they are used they “bake” on the skin and the toxins go directly into the body. These sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer. The European Journal of Cancer has shown that the incidence of the cancer melanoma is decreased with greater sun exposure and can be increased by sunscreens. Melanoma is actually more common in indoor workers than in outdoor workers, and is more often found on areas of the skin not exposed to sun at all.
Most sunscreens contain the hormone disrupting chemical oxybenzone which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream. Instead, use clothing (hats and shirts) to block over exposure to the sun, or just get out of the sun and under cover between 11 am and 3 pm. If you must be outside and exposed to the sun in an amount that might burn the skin, a minimal amount of a non-toxic sun block may be used on the areas of the skin that will be exposed. If you don’t know what the ingredients are, you can’t read the names, or the ingredients listed name any kinds of Parabens or Phthalates, don’t buy the product!
A natural and organic sunscreen product has titanium oxide and zinc oxide. (Zinc oxide is non-toxic and is what you see lifeguards using on their cheeks, noses, etc.) You want absolutely NO Vitamin A in your sunscreen, and that includes the names retinol and retinyl palmitate. Safe ingredients are coconut oil, sunflower oil, Vitamins D and E, jojoba oil, shea butter, and eucalyptus oil. Look for companies like Nature’s Gate, Alba, Jason Natural Cosmetics, and the W.S. Badger Com. These are found at stores like Whole Foods, Wegmans, health food stores, and on-line. It’s important to read labels!!!
If you are going to be in the sun more than the recommended time (you work outside all day, you are going to the beach, the pool, or a ball game), be sure to take your Omega 3 Supplements (fish oil and krill oil) and Vitamin E with all 8 “fractions,” available through my Nutritional Consulting Group, Pathways to Optimal Health. Healthy oils are good for the skin, and after a day in the sun, oils like Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Olive Oil or Coconut Oil are terrific when used topically right on the skin. Also, use clothing to protect yourself and your children. Hats with brims to protect your face, ears, and neck are terrific. Cotton clothing provides an SPF of about 15, and there is clothing which, while nice looking and comfortable, provides 100% protection. I like a very light weight shirt called the “ZXS Swim Shirt” because it is comfortable and provides 100% protection very safely. You can find these shirts at almost any clothing store, but especially at sporting goods stores in the swim section.
When you are in the sun, make sure that, if you wear sunglasses, these sunglasses are 100% protective against all UV rays. This is non-negotiable! If you do not get 100% protection against all UV rays, the pupils will dilate, and your retina will be “fried.” In fact, many studies have shown that Macular Degeneration is due to too many destructive UV rays reaching the macula of the retina without blockage, and with wide open pupils due to the plastic lenses of the glasses, lack of Vitamin D3, and lack of antioxidants in the diet.
Do not take any Vitamin D2 supplements. These are being prescribed by many physicians who do not understand the biochemistry of Vitamin D. These physicians are merely jumping on the Vitamin D bandwagon. Since sunlight is natural and cannot be patented, the drug companies have come up with Vitamin D2 which is synthetic and is given in extremely large doses. D2 are not what the sun gives the body, and does not do any good.
I am available to help you with your nutrition plan for healthy aging of your skin and body. I also would like your thoughts on this subject and on anything I write about. Thanks ahead of time for your input, and please share this blog with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family. Have a great summer!!!
On the Pathway to Optimal Health,