Don't fall for the hype...the sun is not your enemy.
There's something special about summer, especially in New York. It seems that "winter" lasts from November to May and we aren't privileged to see as much sunshine 🌞 as places like California and Florida (the sunshine state).
If you are on the search for perpetual sunshine, here are the top three sunniest cities in America, according to data collected by Nerd Wallet:
Las Vegas, Nevada
The rest of us, stuck perpetually in NY or places that lack sunshine and warmth, revel in our few precious moments of summer. We open our pools, dust off our barbecues, get our bikini lines ready, shop for the perfect swimsuit, pull out our beach equipment and set out to enjoy the great outdoors. 😀
Check out this awesome website for ideas on where to hike in the Hudson Valley. The guy who put this together is amazing! (Don't forget to social distance. The pandemic is real and it isn't going away anytime soon.)
The 🌞 Friend or Foe?
So along with summer comes the slathering on of sunscreen. It makes me wonder just how safe this accepted and highly encouraged habit is. I also want to know which sunscreen is the best and how often I should put it on, if at all? Should I put it on my children? Should I never leave home without it?
😮 Doesn't the sun cause skin cancer???
How I hate controversy! Doctors, experts and sunscreen manufacturers frighten consumers into wearing sunscreen as a protection against cancer from the sun. After all, melanoma is the one of the deadliest cancers, if it isn't caught on time.
Natural and holistic practitioners, swear that the sun helps your body make vitamin D and that you should let the sun shine on as much bare skin as possible. (Welcome news for those of us who love to tan.)
What about the antibacterial properties of the sun? I remember the days when my mother would hang her carpets over the railing and her laundry on the line to be freshened and now I know, sanitized. She didn't know UV light from the sun kills bacteria but she did follow ancient wisdom handed down to her and now to me. (People still use the sun to purify water.)
What's the Truth About the Sun?
I'm not a doctor nor an expert but I am a truth seeker. I want the most sensible answers to my questions. One of which is, how safe is the sun? I acknowledge that there are times that truth is hard to come by.
Stay tuned for my upcoming post: How to Find the Truth About Anything...
For some topics "truth" can be personal. What might be true or good for one person may not be good for another. Therefore, we can't be arbitrary about everything in life.
You get to decide what is good for you and your family.
Some people are allergic to the sun, their skin may be extra sensitive (like infants) or they take medications that require avoiding the sun. By all means, if you fall into those categories, protect yourself from the sun! But do it safely!
The absolute safest way to avoid sunburn is to wear a hat or protective clothing.
When there is so much controversy over a topic, be aware that someone stands to make a substantial profit somewhere. Intense controversy usually stems from arguments between experts, pharmaceutical companies, medical establishments and manufacturers, each trying to gain something. 🤑 Each expert has a study to prove their point meanwhile there's another study proving the exact opposite.
Tell me, how many of these institutions or professions do you feel have your best interests at heart?
My vote is none! They all are in business to make a profit. If they don't make money, they would quit their jobs and do something else. I'm not saying making money is wrong. We need money to survive in this world. But when we put money in our wallet as a priority over the good of people, then it is a vice.
Usually, the middle road or a balanced approach, is the most reasonable.
Do I Need Sunscreen or Not?
Here's the kicker, most of us (including older children)...do not need to carry sunscreen all times and we do not need to slather it on every time we are outdoors.
Here are a few reasons why:
Our bodies need vitamin D
How much we need as individuals, is up for strong debate but all experts agree that a severe deficiency of vitamin D causes major health issues.
As I was writing this article and doing tons of research, I came across information that challenged my views on taking supplemental vitamin D. I'm going to write a separate post that discusses this debate at greater length.
In any case, here is a quote from the US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health (NCBI) website...
"The major source of vitamin D for children and adults is exposure to natural sunlight. Thus, the major cause of VDD (vitamin d deficiency) is inadequate exposure to sunlight. Wearing a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 reduces vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95%."
There you have it! Wearing sunscreen prevents our bodies from making vitamin D by 95% Ouch! I will let you decide how much you trust the NCBI...
Our lifestyles lend to inadequate sun exposure
Think about where the majority of your time is spent. Is it indoors? In front of a TV, computer, gaming console or other electronic device? We just aren't spending enough time outdoors and in places like New York, there isn't enough sunshine generated. The good news is, even on cloudy days we are absorbing some UV light (the type of light from the sun that darkens our skin).
What scares me about the advice regurgitated in the media is they want us to cover up our eyes (sunglasses), our lips (lip balm with SPF) and every inch of our skin to avoid the sun, as if it were the plague. This doesn't make sense to me. Are they trying to kill us?
If the sun gave us cancer, I for one would be a goner already. I spent most of my youth slathering olive oil on myself and anything to make me tan faster, not that I recommend this. But could skin cancer have another cause?
Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen?
This is the biggest reason I don't slather myself with sunscreen unless I'm at the beach. Most brands contain carcinogenic ingredients and rubbing chemicals all over the largest organ of your body, just doesn't make sense to me. Our skin is one of our detox organs, it assists the kidneys and liver by excreting toxic substances. Why throw more chemicals on it?
Does your sunscreen contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate? Please do your research on the chemicals you find in your sunscreen and beauty products.
Here are 3 websites that discuss harmful chemicals in further detail:
Could skin cancer be a sign of internal pollution versus sun damage?
Toxic to the Oceans?
Did you know that certain chemicals in sunscreen formulas are damaging the coral reefs in the ocean? I wonder, if it's damaging the oceans, what is it doing to our bodies? Our children's bodies?
Here are 3 websites that discuss the harm done to our oceans:
When Do You Need Sunscreen?
I hope I have somewhat persuaded you to take another look at the long standing common wisdom of the world. Do you really need sunscreen at all times, under all circumstances, even in shade?
I will let you be the judge of that, as I am sure some people have personal reasons for doing so.
I personally wear sunscreen ONLY at the beach and only for part of the day. I sit on the sand since I'm not much of a swimmer. I let myself get a little tan and then I put the sunscreen on and sit under the umbrella. Whenever, I fail to do that, I get a severe burn.
If you would like to pick out the best sunscreen for your family and the environment, I highly recommend you go to EWG and signup to see their 2020 list of safer sunscreens .
What If I Get Burned?
OK, so I titled this post, The Fastest Way to Heal a Sunburn and went off on several tangents.
What if you get sunburned and want to heal your skin as fast as possible?
This Colloidal Silver Salve by Heritage is the product that my family uses with great success and we have recommended it to several friends. The quicker you put this on the burn the quicker it will heal and don't be afraid to reapply every so often throughout the day.
By the next day, you will see the difference.
Do your research on the chemicals in your sunscreen.
Go to EWG website and search for a healthier, safer option.
Buy a colloidal silver gel. We use Heritage and swear by it. But you may have success with other silver brands as well.