Every summer we warn against using sunscreens. First, sunscreens contain toxic ingredients. Some are better than others, but we haven’t found a single one we’d want to use or recommend. Second, sunscreens are designed to block out the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This prevents sunburn, but it also blocks out many of the sun’s benefits.
We’ve been sold a bill of goods on sunlight being dangerous. Sunlight is essential to our health and well-being. While too much sun can give you a sunburn, too much of anything can be harmful. Used intelligently, sunlight is nourishing and energizing.
Our bodies convert the sun’s rays into vitamin D. Sunlight increases production of the “happy hormones” that prevent anxiety and depression, it enhances immunity, and increases the oxygen content in our blood. It helps to prevent and reverse cancer. Sunlight has even been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and to heal wounds and any number of skin diseases.
So what is “intelligent” use of the sun? It’s getting regular exposure (daily is best) for short periods of time, and covering up or getting out of the sun before you start to turn pink. In this way you gradually develop a tan—nature’s protection from getting too much sun—so you can stay out in the sun longer. But you do need to be mindful to avoid over-exposure, especially if you’re fair-skinned. If you are dark-skinned, you need even more sun to get the same benefits.
Getting lots of antioxidants through diet and supplements is also protective, and will allow you to stay in the sun longer before you begin to turn pink. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as green and white tea; herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme and garlic; and anti-inflammatory fats like olive oil and coconut oil. Antioxidant supplements include Vitamins C and E and Beyond Health’s Age Defense Formula. Beta-carotene has been called “nature’s sun umbrella.” It provides good protection if taken on a regular basis. See Beyond Health’s Carotene Formula. Click here for more information on antioxidants.
Another excellent way to protect your skin without shutting out the beneficial ultraviolet rays is to do what traditional cultures have done for thousands of years—rub antioxidant rich oils like olive oil or coconut oil into your skin. Coconut oil is even a mosquito-repellant to boot! Just remember that these oils aren’t sun-blocks, so you still have to be careful.
If you should get sunburned, Bruce Fife, CN, ND, author of Coconut Cures, found it cured his sunburn within half an hour. After that he began using it preventively and hasn’t been sunburned since.
But you must use high quality oils. Never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. As we’ve warned many times, almost all olive oils, even if they’re labeled “extra virgin,” have been adulterated with toxic processed oils. Also, most coconut oils are processed in ways that make them toxic and inflammatory.
Of course you can count on Beyond Health to supply pure olive oil and the highest quality, minimally processed, healthful coconut oil. These can be used liberally for sun protection and to enhance general skin health and appearance.
- Hobday, R. The Healing Sun: Sunlight and Health in the 21st Century. Forres IV36 3TE, Scotland, UK: Findhorn Press, 1999.
- Shapira N. Nutritional approaches to sun protection: a suggested complement to external strategies. Nutrition Reviews. February 2010;68(2):75-86.
- Fife B. Coconut Cures. Colorado Springs, CO: Piccadilly Books, Ltd., 2005, pp. 155-156.