Slip slop Slap – How good is that??

Many ancient civilizations worshiped the Sun and there’s good reason for that. The Sun powers our planet; it controls the climate, the rainfall; The Sun’s energy trickles down through every living thing providing all the biological energy required for life.

Today we are being told to avoid the Sun; don’t expose one square inch of flesh; cover up; apply sunscreens or risk deadly skin cancer melanomas.

It’s certain that Sun exposure can burn and damage your skin causing it to age and wrinkle prematurely and possibly cause some skin cancers, but staying out of the Sun is also a health hazard.

We need Sunlight (UVB rays) on our skin to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is somewhat like a hormone and is essential for good health. It controls the expression of over 2000 genes; it controls cell division, bone mineralisation, and immunity responses. Vitamin D can protect us against around 14 different types of cancer including breast, colon, ovarian and yes, melanoma , the deadliest form of skin cancer.

“Dr. Daniel Coit, surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), shared his research on melanoma at a 2012 MSKCC Health Education Seminar. Dr Coit presented some startling evidence and cleared up important myths regarding melanoma.

He surprised the audience when he said that most melanomas are not related to sun exposure, and therefore sunblock or avoiding sun exposure does not prevent melanoma.”

Vitamin D is not the only benefit derived from the Sun.

We can actually use chlorophyll derived from our diet to supply biological energy for recharging an important antioxidant COQ10 in our bodies. This enzyme repairs oxidative damage, important for cancer, heart and other disease preventions.

Sun exposure may also be a key to human intelligence. It has been difficult to explain why humans became hairless and why our skin became so translucent and thin – so easily pierced or cut. Why would this mutation possibly be advantageous? What it does do is allow our internal organs to be bathed in light. This would maximise that chlorophyll/COQ10 recharge.

But there may be another even more important advantage. Our own built in sunscreen, melanin (the dark pigment in our skin) can utilize radiation energy to supercharge our brain cell mitochondria and can cause cerebral and haemodynamic extra synthesis in our brains. This is a relatively new idea called photobiomodulation. It could explain our success and domination – through extraordinary use of the Sun’s energy we may have evolved to increase our brain activity and intelligence.

Is it just a coincidence that our loss of hair and gaining intelligence occurred around the same time, 2 million years ago?

Perhaps those ancient Sun worshippers got it right; perhaps the Sun was our creator.

The best advice with Sun exposure is caution. Don’t expose your skin for so long that damage and burning occurs. Regular, short Sun exposure is best to build up your natural melanin (tan) and best to keep up your essential vitamin D levels.

Use the Sun not supplements to get your vitamin D. It really doesn’t require long exposure. Supplements taken in large infrequent doses have been shown to increase bone fracture rates. Supplements can also increase bad LDL-cholesterol, prostate cancer, supress immune system function, cause autoimmune disease, kidney disease and kidney stones.

Sunscreens should be used as an emergency protection only; when you can’t avoid prolonged exposure or when reflection from water is a problem; any situation that makes it difficult to avoid being burnt.

The problem with sunscreen is even a low SPF sunscreen will almost cut out vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D is vital for cancer prevention and low levels of vitamin D are more likely to allow the deadly melanoma cancers to develop. Also there is some concern about some of the chemicals being used in sunscreens – PABA, benzophenone, cinnamates, homosalate, 4-MBC, titanium dioxide, vitamin D (increases premature aging and increases risk of skin cancer), oxybenzone, OMC and nanoparticles – all nasty names with nasty consequences when they are absorbed into your body. And in less than half a minute of putting these chemical on your skin, they can be found in every organ of your body. These chemicals are commonly found in sunscreens and frying your skin in toxic chemicals like these should be minimised. They can actually increase our risk of skin cancer, they can disrupt hormones and increase likelihood of breast cancer and they can cause various allergic reactions. They may block UVB radiation but usually not the more damaging and deeper penetrating UVA rays.

So, be sensible with the Sun. Don’t avoid it but build up your exposure gradually. Eat a whole plant diet with antioxidant rich foods. Perhaps use coconut oil rather than sunscreens and bathe your skin in antioxidant rich natural oils (remember though that these natural oils may provide only minimal sun screening) Using a physical barrier like a zinc oxide cream for more exposed or sensitive areas of skin. Avoid any containing those chemicals mentioned above. Look for sunscreens with natural antioxidant contents. Avoid sprays (toxic to inhale), avoid burning your skin (regular burning is the best way to get skin cancer). Sun exposure is a two edged sword. It’s essential for our health but it can cause those less dangerous skin cancers and can also age our skin. About 80% of a woman’s facial skin aging is due to sun exposure.

Realise your limits for exposure. Cover up with clothing or hats rather than chemical sunscreens. If you use a sunscreen, read those labels carefully because they can cause more damage than the sun. Seek shade. Remember clothing with more open weave will not fully protect you.