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It’s that time of year again in the Northern Hemisphere. The arrival of the sun in our skies prompts my annual tirade against suncreams and sunblocks.

Here’s the scoop: Ultraviolet rays from the sun shine through your skin, team up with cholesterol in your blood, and voilà, Vitamin D is born! 

This “sunshine vitamin” then travels to your liver and kidneys for a secondary transformation. Cholesterol – that stuff we’re told to swallow statins for the rest of our lives to reduce – is the real MVP here.

Slathering on sun cream? It’s like putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your skin. No Vitamin D party for you.

Vitamin D is your body’s closest ally. It helps you soak up calcium, essential for strong bones. Together, they form a dynamic duo that fends off osteoporosis, that bone-thinning villain, as well as a laundry list of conditions, from cancers to depression, diabetes, pain relief and it might even fend off schizophrenia.

Think about how great you feel when the sun is out! You’re more likely to ditch the car for a walk, dust off that bicycle, or even tackle a spring clean. 

But what’s the first thing you do at the beach? Douse yourself and the kids in sun cream. Pause for a moment and think: would you eat something without checking the ingredients? Probably not. So why ignore what’s in your sun cream?

Once on your skin, those chemical-based sun creams can go rogue, reacting with sunlight and potentially becoming carcinogenic. And guess what? Anything you put on your skin gets a free pass into your bloodstream, making the grand tour of your body.

Vitamin D is more like a hormone than a vitamin, and it’s a body-benefitting powerhouse.

Just so we get the terminology correct:

  • A Sun Screen has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 2 and higher.
  • A Sun Block has an SPF of 15 or higher.

Even weak sunscreens (SPF 8) block your body’s ability to make vitamin D by 95%. That’s right – sunscreen might actually be causing health issues by preventing Vitamin D from forming.

Sunscreen also hides a cocktail of toxins, artificial fragrances, chemical colours and petroleum products. These nasties can mess with your immune system and even raise the possibility of cancer.

Take a look at the ingredients in sunblocks next time you’re at the supermarket. You’ll need a magnifying glass to decipher them. They often contain:

  • Oxybenzone and Benzophenone: chemicals that absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Tin oxide: a safer option, used in wound dressings, but can dry out the skin.

Sunlight is free, which might explain why Big Pharma isn’t promoting it. Instead, they’re pushing products that block your natural Vitamin D production.

Suspicious, right?

If you’re worried about your nose being over-exposed to the sun, put on a little zinc cream and a hat.

Here’s what I do in the sun:

It’s not “cool” to wear a hat and T-shirt at the beach, but it certainly beats sunburn. I haven’t touched sun cream (or a spray-on bug repellent) since the ’80s. Instead, I load up on beta-carotene and super antioxidants, Nature’s sunscreen.

Foods rich in beta-carotene include carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes, orange fruits, pumpkin, squash, apricots, spinach, and kale. People with healthy beta-carotene levels don’t look pasty; they’re the ones who tan instead of burn.

Sunlight is a powerful healing force. When health authorities urge you to use sun creams, consider whose interests they’re serving. 

Just remember to put your hat and T-shirt on, and you’re good to go.

Graeme Dinnen

One Comment

  • marta says:

    In macrobiotic theory the sun does not cause cancer……….it is the food which the sun brings out on the skin……..depending on the look of the mole/freckle it is sugar or protein wich is drawn out of the body

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