Is there such a thing as healthy suntan?
It is a widely held view in the mainstream that UV-light of the sun and sunbeds cause skin cancer. Since the ozone-layer has been compromised and since modern people are spending too much time outside in the sun, it is argued, skin cancer has become an epidemic.
My view differs radically from this. I know that skin cancer is on the rise, but I also believe that sunshine on our skin is essential for our health. Furthermore, I think that sunshine alone does not cause cancer, but - quite contrary - is instrumental in PREVENTING cancer and possibly also in curing it. I even sometimes use the sunbed to make up for the lack of sunshine in the northern-latitude city of London.
Whenever I'm out in the sun, I feel energized and bubbly afterwards. My skin glows, I feel happier and sleep better. Even after 5 minutes on a sunbed (tanning bed) my skin feels unbelievably smooth, like a baby's bottom! And I look healthier.
Can it be that something that makes you look and feel so healthy is actually bad for you?
Personally, I think it is a question of balance, as always. You definitely should not let yourself burn in the sun. Burning skin by any means is unhealthy - and dehydration and sun stroke are very real phenomena.
However, healthy sun tan is not only possible - but instrumental for staying healthy. Below is a breakdown of my beliefs on the matter. And in the next paragraph I provide some evidence for your inspiration and reference.
Facts About Skin Cancer and Healthy Sun Tanning:
So my philosophy is to try and get as much sunshine on my skin as possible, without getting burned. I use very few chemicals on my skin and use organic coconut oil as skin cream.
I top up my vit D with sunbed as well, although I try to use it only very little. I don't want to take risks and the sunbed does - after all - have a lot of bad science behind it. Keep in mind, also, that some sunbeds are much worse for you than others.
I make sure not to use any chemicals on my skin while using the sunbed (tanning bed). Also, I prefer the standing sunbed (tanning booth), because the one you lie in gets constantly cleaned with toxic chemicals, which then touch your skin.
I never use sunscreen and I use the 'no-poo' method for shampoo. I try to use a water filter in my bath and shower whenever I can afford to replace the filters.
One of the most amazing things I read recently was that antioxidants may improve your skin's tolerance of uv-rays of the sun.Indeed, a healthy sun tan begins with a nutrition-rich diet. Some of the most antioxidant-rich foods are chaga mushroom tea, broccoli sprouts, açai, goji berries, other berries, spirulina, other algae, cacao and all the fruits and vegetables with rich, dark colour. (Keep in mind, also, that antioxidants are easily damaged by heat, so for the best effect, eat these foods raw.)
The modern Western lifestyle is highly unnatural in many ways: especially in terms of food, which is a topic discussed a lot in the rest of this website. But we also live in a toxic world, our minds are commercialized, and our dreams discouraged.
We are disconnected from healthy sun tanning and the benefits of sunlight it in all possible ways: we often work indoors, we have uv-filtering glass in our windows, we wear clothes to shelter our skin from the sun, we wear sunglasses in the summer and sunscreen on the beach.
This problem even extendes to food: plants grown under natural sun are more mineral-rich. In my last 15 years of vegetarian life I ate plenty of factory-produced plants, which had never seen daylight!
One simple health remedy - learn healthy sun tanning to radically improve your health!
Let's begin with Dr. Mercola, who is a great proponent of healthy sun tanning:
"A consumer advocacy group has a warning for parents who think they're protecting their family with sunscreen: You may be getting burned.
"The Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based nonprofit, has released an investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens that says four out of five don't adequately protect consumers and may contain harmful chemicals."
- Dr. Mercola, in "Four Out of Five Sunscreens May Be Hazardous to Your Health"
"...scientists are not [...] sure whether sunscreen prevents against melanoma in the first place. They've suggested that sunscreen may prevent sunburn, but may fail to actually protect against cancer because most sunscreens only screen out UVB, which makes vitamin D, not the UVA that causes most of the damage."
- Dr. Mercola, as above
"Few health recommendations have had as damaging an effect as the advice that you should never leave your house without sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen effectively blocks your body's production of vitamin D, which happens naturally when your skin is exposed to sunlight. In fact, sunscreens reduce vitamin D production by as much as 97.5 to 99.9 percent.
"The widespread acceptance and adoption of this faulty doctrine has contributed to severe vitamin D deficiency on a grand scale, which in turn claims about one million lives a year from 16 different types of cancer and other common diseases such as: heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.
"However, that's not to say that sunlight can't be harmful. Of course it can be. Anyone who has ever gotten a sunburn knows that sunlight, at a high intensity over a long enough period, most certainly can damage your skin."
- Dr. Mercola, as above
"Did you know that there is an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency in America? Did you know that a lack of proper vitamin D has been scientifically connected to 17 varieties of cancer, along with many other life-threatening diseases?"
- Arianna Huffington, as quoted in "Vitamin D Revolution" by Dr. Soram Khalsa
"Studies conducted indicate the dangers of certain chemical compounds within sunscreen could be causing a variety of skin damaging ailments, especially when reacting with the sun's intensive heat. [...] The synthetic vitamin A compound found in many sunscreen brands contain retinol and retinyl palmitate, both found to react negatively in the sunlight, becoming toxic to the system. This isn't to be confused with the health-enhancing vitamin A that is found in many foods - it is a purely synthetic and ultimately useless ingredient. When combined with the extensive use over time, this kind of sunscreen can lead to skin damage in its users. "These aren't the only things to be worried about when applying your doctor-recommended photocarcinogen, though. Oxybenzone and other vague mystery chemicals are found amongst a wide variety of name brand sunscreens, with many of these having yet to be proven as safe to use at all. [...]
"...the sunscreens widely credited as preventative cures for skin cancer are also the root cause of a widespread vitamin D deficiency - a vitamin shown to slash flu risk and fight cancer. [...] Vitamin D production is extremely limited when sunscreen is used to protect the body from natural sunlight."
- Natural Society: "Sunscreen Causes Cancer? What You May Not Know About Sunscreen"
Natural News has this to say (link to article further down):
"Here's the real secret about sun exposure that no one in conventional medicine is talking about (because, as usual, they are woefully ignorant about nutrition): You can boost your internal sunscreen by eating antioxidant-rich foods and super foods. [...]
"The more natural antioxidants you have in your diet, the more sunlight your skin will be able to handle without burning. Nearly everyone mistakenly believes that a person's sunlight burn response is purely a genetic factor. They're wrong. You can radically improve your resistance to UV exposure through radical dietary changes.
"I'm a great example of this, actually, as I used to burn in just 20 - 30 minutes of sunlight when I was on a junk food diet years ago. But now, as someone who eats superfoods and high-end nutritional supplements every day, I can spend hours in the sun and will only turn slightly red (which fades a few hours later and does not result in a burn or skin peeling)."
- Mike Adams on 'Natural News', in "7 Surprising Things You're Not Supposed to Know About Sunscreen and Sunlight Exposure"
Excerpts from the video:
"What we did with our patients historically, we put skin cancer patient into the sun, and the skin cancer usually disappeared, with a little bit of hemp oil on it, within a couple of days. It's not really a big big thing." - Dr. Leonard Coldwell, in Natural News TV:
"The Sun Doesn't Cause Cancer, It Prevents It"
"So if sun causes skin cancer, how come that African Americans - black Americans - have more skin cancer than white people? Do you see a lot of tanning black people on the beach? I have not.
On the other hand [...] Vitamin D is produced by sunlight. When you have a lack of vitamin D you develop any kind of deficiency because Vitamin D is just a fundamental element for our health. Vitamin D prevents us from getting skin cancer. If you don't have sunlight and you don't produce Vitamin D, you automatically have a problem. But the skin cancer is, in my opinion, only caused by the preservatives in the sunscreen."
- Dr. Leonard Coldwell, as above
Dr Soram Khalsa states in his book: "The Vitamin D Revolution" (follow the link to read my review of this book):
"I believe that vitamin D deficiency has risen in direct proportion to the degree in which we have avoided the sun, put on sunscreen, and moved our recreation indoors."
Dr. Mercola has actually written a book on this topic, entitled: "Dark Deception: Discover the Truth About the Benefits of Sunlight Exposure" and also has plenty more information on his website (link above), including an explanation on what kind of tanning beds are safe to use.
"Research shows that a very low level of vitamin D is a major risk factor for melanoma. This flies in the face of the idea that it is too much sun that increases your melanoma risk."
- Dr. Mercola, in "Sun CAN Actually Help Protect You Against Skin Cancer"
Sun and UV-protection starts from the inside, and a healthy sun tan starts with what you eat.
"Consuming a healthy diet full of natural antioxidants is another useful strategy to avoid sun damage to your skin, as fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients that your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 oils in your skin, which is your first line of defense against sunburn. "Fresh, raw vegetables also provide your body with an abundance of powerful antioxidants that will help you fight the free radicals caused by sun damage that can lead to burns and cancer.
"The relatively unknown carotenoid called astaxanthin has also piqued the interest of researchers due to its ability to reduce signs of aging by helping protect your skin from sun damage. I personally take 4-8 mg every day to help limit any potential damage from sun exposure as most of the year I am spending 1-2 hours a day in the sun." - Dr. Mercola
"A lot of people think that skincare is from the outside in - and I'm gonna take a little bit of a different look - I think it's from the inside out."
- Dr. Vincent Bellonzi in "Natural Skincare, Acne, Anti Aging, Face & Acne Products"
It is the free radicals that cause aging of the skin, not the UV light alone. This is how Dr. Bellonzi explains it:
"There are a lot of things you can do to have better skin. First of all, just eating a cleaner diet. [...] One of the major theories [to aging] is free radicals. Well, are you controlling them? Are you getting enough nutrients in your diet to control the free radicals that are produced? You need free radicals. You're going to make them just in living. As you breathe, you're creating free radicals. Free radicals are there to help you make energy. They're there to help you defend yourself from bacteria and other organisms. So, you gotta have free radicals. But you gotta keep them under control. So... if you're not eating the vegetables and fruits, and getting the antioxidants in, so that you can, in a sense, control free radicals, they're going to cause damage. [...] It causes skin damage. It causes you to look older, it causes your skin to break down [...] You can control that by taking antioxidants."
- Dr. Vincent Bellonzi
For young looking skin, Dr. Bellonzi also advices to avoid sugar (damages collagen, major cause of acne); to stay hydrated; drink water - not sodas; ensure you get enough Omega 3 EFA's; and exercise (it hydrates the skin). You also need silica and to know about medication that causes skin problems.
"So if you have a problem with your skin, if you've got a lot of blemishes, look to the inside. Another major cause of problems, is allergic response, you get something into the body and it starts triggering the immune system. Now you've got a problem. And it's often gonna show up in your skin. You can get dermititis, you can get the redness of rosacea, you can get all these problems with your skin... psoriasis, eczema... these aren't from the outside, they're from the most part generated from the inside. It's not that you expose yourself to something in the environment, it's that you didn't have a good, clean, internal environment. And the immune system is going crazy. The immune system produces all the chemicals, that then lead to the skin reaction." - Dr. Vincent Bellonzi
So, in conclusion, we don't actually want to block the sun at all! We want to let the sun shine in. But as sun tanning - just as breathing - creates free radicals, we must ensure that they are kept in check. Foods and superfoods rich in antioxidants should thus be part of our everyday diet. This will go a long way towards cancer-free living, young looking and healthy skin, and enjoying all the health benefits that Vitamin D can provide.
Dr. Leonard Coldwell: "The Sun Doesn't Cause Cancer, It Prevents It" (video)
"Toxic Light" by Steven Magee:
This book explains, among other things, how the glass of our windows blocks UV rays, causing sunlight to become toxic!
This book came out of a necessity to begin putting in one coherent place, neatly ordered, all the amazing ways we can use to naturally reclaim back our health, free of charge.
This book contains 70 brief chapters, each introducing you to the benefits of a certain technique, or a trick, to improve your health affordably. Methods suitable for busy lifestyles. Natural, noninvasive and easy techniques. Pick the ones that suit your lifestyle and interests best and begin enjoying the good life!
Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.