The issue of sunshine versus sunscreen is like being between a rock and a hard place.
You have all heard of how exposure to sun is bad for you. You’ve been told that sun exposure will kill you and that sun exposure causes skin cancer.
It’s only logically to see sunscreen as the savior from a painful, untimely death from skin cancer.
Many people took heed to the warning and used up gobs of sunscreen. SPF 100 anyone? The messaging worked so well that we are all now battling with vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium from the food we eat and calcium is what the bone is made up of. Lack of vitamin D in turn causes the bones to be weak and soft- you want a sturdy skeleton, trust me.
Low vitamin D has also been implicated in muscle pain- fibromyalgia, memory problems and even heart disease.
The best source of vitamin D is early morning sunshine and we are getting very little of that these days since we have made sun the enemy.
So come with me on a fact-finding expedition.
The common skin cancer types; squamous cell and basal cell cancers almost NEVER kill (never say never, so I said “almost never”). Both sub-types of cancer have a direct correlation with intense and prolonged sun exposure.
The big bad wolf of skin cancer; Malignant Melanoma seems to be cut from a different piece of cloth. Melanoma has a penchant for showing up in places that receive very little sun exposure like the bottom of the feet for instance. There is more to melanoma than sun exposure.
The take home here:
1. Use sunscreen to prevent sunburns and to reduce your chances of getting a squamous cell or basal cell cancer. Don’t entertain the delusion that sunscreen by itself will prevent malignant melanoma.
2. Try to get some EARLY MORNING sunshine when you can. Avoid the energy draining, smothering mid-day sun.
That way you will get your vitamin D naturally and have one less supplement to use.
The chemicals in sunscreen scare me — especially letting it bake into your skin — so I prefer a more natural type. I do allow myself to get some sun, like you said. I just do it in moderation.
The barrier sunscreens containing zinc oxide are the safest for sure.
I am horrible for applying sunscreen on myself, I always make sure that my kids have some one but never myself!
Don’t beat yourself up about it Amanda. At least you would be getting in Vitamin D.
I like to wear sunscreen when I am out for really long periods of time (like the beach) and not when I’m just out for two or three hours, and it seems to balance out well for me. I also wear foundation that always protects my face from sun damage. 🙂
Looks like you have a good balance between skin protection and vitamin D absorption.
I generally only apply sunscreen if I’m going to be out for an extended period of time but I’m torn on using it consistently with my three year old daughter because I know melanoma rates are on the rise with young children.
Casual sun exposure should be fine. It’s the prolong blistering type that could be problematic.
I really don’t know if staying out of the sun would protect from melanoma.
I am not good with sunscreen. I do use it on my face. I need to get better.
That might actually work in your favor Tara- more vitamin D potentially.
I am in search of some good water proof sunscreen so far I have not found anything but i will check these ones out
The physical/barrier sunscreens containing zinc oxide are a safer option.
I have been getting too much sun this and last year and i am looking that way too. I use sunscreen, but not as well as I should. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen>, my chant for the rest of the summer.
Tara brought up idea that would work well for you- use sun screen for your face and leave the rest of your body open for vitamin D from the sunshine.
My kids put it on to protect them.. I do not.. not sure what is worse..
I always forget to apply sunscreen to myself until I get that one late Spring season burn at the playground. After that, I do remember the sunscreen, but do it in moderation to try to even out the funky farmers tan I have.
I hear you Melissa!
I’m very fair skinned so I try and stay out of the sun as much as possible but do go out early in the day before the sun’s rays get too intense to do my gardening.
Good for you Rhonda!
Thank you for de-mystifying this skincare threat. How do you weigh in with vitamin D from the sun versus supplement form? We can get squamous cell carcinoma anywhere… even where the “sun don’t shine.” I had a scare a few years back.
I will take the natural form of vitamin over pills/supplements any day- personal opinion here.
Get early morning sunshine when you can.
Limit prolonged, intense sun exposure without wearing sunscreen.
I try to get a little sun everyday. I do long distance walking and so I have to smother on the sunscreen. I am very scared of getting skin cancer.
Sunscreen is advisable with prolonged exposure in the sun. Regarding your fear of cancer, go ahead and read this; https://healthgist.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-good-cancer/