(Natural News) File this under “long-standing health beliefs we now know are false:” Sunscreen isn’t really that good for you after all. Like eggs and salt, the sun has been given a bad name rather unfairly. Not only is the sun not bad for you – quite the opposite, in fact – but sunscreen isn’t exactly doing your health any favors. Let’s take a look at what we now know.
After years of avoiding the sun in hopes of preventing skin cancer, doctors and researchers are now seeing just how badly a lack of sunlight can impact your health. One of the biggest problems right now is vitamin D deficiency. This hormone is manufactured by your skin upon exposure to sunlight. Although there are food sources of vitamin D, it’s very difficult to get it from diet alone.
These days, most people work indoors, and many of us wear sunscreen every time we do go outside because we’ve been told that UV rays can cause skin cancer. The advice from some experts has been to always use sunscreen and get vitamin D supplements, but clinical trials have shown that these supplements are no match for the real deal.
In fact, a study of nearly 26,000 participants found that taking high doses of vitamin D supplements over five years had essentially no impact on stroke, heart disease, or cancer. This may have added fuel to those who argue that vitamin D isn’t that important, but it overlooks the fact that getting vitamin D from a pill simply isn’t the same thing as inspiring your body to produce its own the way nature always intended.
Many experts now believe that stepping outside without sunscreen is a healthy lifestyle choice,
and it deserves a place right alongside eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
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In a recent study, when volunteers were exposed to 30 minutes of summer sunlight without any sunscreen, their blood pressure went down; high blood pressure is considered the top cause of premature death and disease worldwide, and the reduction seen would be big enough to prevent millions of people from dying.
Although skin cancer is indeed something to fear, its dangers have been a bit exaggerated. It may be common, but it isn’t always deadly. In fact, a study that was recently published in the Journal of Medicine had this serious warning: “Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor of a similar magnitude as smoking, in terms of life expectancy.” In other words, avoiding the sun is as destructive to your health as smoking cigarettes.
Sunscreen is bad news all around
If you still can’t shake your reservations about cancer and want to wear sunscreen anyway, consider this: The ingredients in sunscreens actually transform into chemicals that can cause cancer when they are exposed to the chlorine found in swimming pool water. In addition to cancer, such chemicals have also been linked to problems like immune system damage and infertility. The reaction is even worse in pools that use copper salts to enhance the blue color of the water; this causes sunscreen to break down into a substance called bromoform that has been linked to liver and kidney problems as well as nervous system disorders.
Natural sunscreens do exist, but you should only use them after you’ve gotten adequate sun exposure to keep your vitamin D levels healthy. It’s hard to say for sure how much sun you might need as factors like your location, skin tone, time of day, and the weather all play a role, but as a general rule, 20 to 30 minutes without sunscreen three times per week should do the trick.
Sources for this article include: