After I started becoming a "regular" at the dermatologist's office in my mid 30's, I finally wised up and got out of the tanning bed. I still did some sunbathing but with (a little)sunscreen until the year at the beach about 9 years ago when my skin said "ENOUGH!" and I suffered a horrible case of sun poisoning.
Bottled sunless lotions were my only way to not look sickly white until I discovered Mystic Tan! Now I have a Mystic booth in Trim Up and rarely miss a week of spraying - yay! After going through many skin cancer surgeries and seeing my lovely sister-in-law die of melanoma, I have been very out-spoken about the dangers of tanning, especially to teens.
And I have kept up with the latest reports on increased risks of cancer with tanning, as it is becoming more evident how harmful UV rays are to our skin and health. It still amazes me how parents can permit their kids to start the tanning bed habit when it is shown how it increases their risk of melanoma by 75%!!
But it now appears that we may be going a little overboard on avoiding the rays. I have been reading with interest several articles by Dr. Mercola, who is a well-respected physician specializing in natural medicine, concerning sun exposure. He was the first to bring awareness to the widespread vitamin D deficiency in our country and his website has many articles that detail the health problems that occur without enough vitamin D. Along these lines, he believes that the increasing trend to stay out of the sun completely and/or always use sunscreen whenever outdoors is the main cause of our insufficient vitamin D production.
Supplementing with high doses of vitamin D is easy to do and necessary for those stuck indoors most of the week but making your D from sunlight is best. His belief is to get some full sun exposure for just a short time (before your skin turns pink)whenever possible, and then cover up or get out of the sun. However, it is necessary for as much skin as possible to be exposed so it doesn't do much good if you're wearing long sleeves and long pants on your daily "D" walk. He doesn't use sunscreen himself but when it is 95 degrees out, and there is no shade to turn to, covering up is not an option for most people. Therefore, he does give warnings along with recommendations on avoiding sunburns and overexposure:
> The best way to protect your skin against sunburn and damage from
UV exposure is by consuming Omega 3 or 6 fats or supplements.
> Eating a healthy diet of whole foods with nutrients and anti-oxidants
will help fight free radicals caused by sun damage that can lead to
burns and cancer.
> Avoid sunscreens that contain harmful chemicals that will actually
cause more harm than good, especially on children, like Oxybenzone.
> Avoid spray sunscreens and inhaling the toxic fumes.
> Use sunscreens that use zinc or titanium minerals and contain
good for your skin ingredients like coconut oil, sunflower oil,
shea butter, and vit D & E.
> Use sunscreen that will block both UVA and UVB rays.
> Taking the supplement "Astaxanthin", a little-known carotenoid
(compounds in foods that give them vibrant color) that is recently
found to be a powerful antioxidant.
So, in "light" of all of this information, I have been making a few changes in my sun smartness and patting myself on the back on already
doing some things right. I will say that I have found a tremendous
difference in how long I can stay in the sun without sunscreen and not get burned since I have been taking more Omega 3s and using coconut oil.
I know that I can go without sunscreen mid-day for 1 1/2 hrs without getting burned. Beyond that, I apply a natural sunscreen to my body but have always used Colorescience mineral sunscreen for my face. It is not a good idea to ever expose the sensitive skin of your face without protection because of photoaging and minimal D absorption. I also use a moisturizer with sunscreen every morning.
On more thing that is interesting.... the more vegetables we eat with those natural carotenoids, our skin will take on a healthy coloring and glow. It is true that what you put into your body will reflect on the
outside! Oh well, its better late than never!