“Sunlight is dangerous!” “Avoid the sun!” For the past fifteen or twenty years we have been scared into believing that the sun is a killer ball of fire in the sky bent on afflicting us with skin cancer as soon as we step into its rays. Millions of us wear big shirts, floppy hats, and slather on copious gobs of sunblock before we dare step foot outside when the weather gets warm.
If you’re one of the many people who’ve been lead to believe the sun is extremely dangerous and to only be endured at minimal intervals, you’re not alone. Can the sun cause skin cancer? Yes, but only if you bake in it. In fact, evidence has shown that regular sun exposure can actually prevent skin cancer!
The Real Cause of Skin Cancer
One of the most prevalent vitamin deficiencies in the United States and Canada is vitamin D deficiency. Not only is our empty-calorie processed food diet to blame but a lack of sunlight as well.
Vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin” because the body naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Lack of sufficient amounts of this essential nutrient can result in a weakened immune system. When the immune system is weakened, disease takes over.
Common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Periodontal disease
- Muscular weakness
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic kidney disease
Another commonly-overlooked cause of skin cancer is cosmetic skin products. Most conventional skincare products from mascara to blush to lotion contain a dangerous concoction of ingredients that have been proven to cause cancer.
- Parabens – Used to prevent the growth of microbes in cosmetics, parabens, when absorbed through the skin, have been shown to cause endocrine-disruption, immunotoxicity, skin irritation, and cancer.
- Phthalates – Phthalates are “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” according to a report released by the National Toxicology Program.
- Triclosan – A synthetic antimicrobial, Triclosan has been linked to the development of autoimmune disease, liver toxicity, and cancer.
- Formaldehyde – The National Cancer Association has listed this common cosmetic additive as a potent carcinogen.
- Mercury – Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that has been linked to the development of autism, Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS, and cancer.
Fear of sunlight has made many people turn to cosmetic self-tanners to get a “safe” and passable summer tan. This is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Most self-tanning creams contain methylparabens that have been proven to be carcinogenic.
What’s worse is the sunscreen you use before you hit the beach or park can also be doing serious damage to your health. Chances are, if you’re using a conventional brand, it contains one or more of the dangerous toxins listed above.
Positive Health Effects of Sunlight
- Boosted Immune System
If you’re the type of person who gets every cold and flu going around, you probably have a deficiency in vitamin D. Just 15 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight each day (depending on how light or dark your skin is) can spark natural vitamin D production in your body and boost your immune system.
- Improved Mood
Vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of schizophrenia and depression. Regular sunlight exposure helps boost that “happy” brain chemical called serotonin. Clinical psychiatrists have even been known to prescribe 30 minutes of sunlight per day to their depressed patients.
- Better Sleep
If you’re often sleepy during the day but feel wide awake at night, you might not be getting enough sunlight. Studies have shown that regular exposure to sunlight can help balance melatonin levels so you get deeper, more restful sleep at night and feel more alert and awake during the day.
- Better Love Life
Oftentimes, men with erectile dysfunction have low levels of vitamin D in their body. Regular sunlight exposure increases testosterone and libido. It’s more than just all the scantily-clad women that make you feel more amorous during the spring and summer months. It’s biology!
- Decreased Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Alzheimer’s patients who were exposed to sunlight between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. scored better on mental exams and experienced less depression.
Staying Safe in the Sun
When it comes to putting the positive effects of sunlight to work for you, it’s important to know how to do it safely. Spending hours baking in the sun is never healthy for you no matter how dark your skin. Fifteen to thirty minutes of unprotected sun exposure is beneficial for your health. If you’re skin is very light, stay on the lower end of the spectrum. If you’re skin is dark, it’s safe to spend a little more time in the sun.
If you’re skin is very sensitive to the sun and you plan to spend several hours outdoors, choose an organic, chemical-free sunscreen or wear a hat and over-sized shirt. If you’re a fair-skinned person with sensitive skin, you should ease your way into the sunlight, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve had any unprotected exposure.
Try just 5 minutes each day for one week, then 10 minutes the next week, then 15 minutes the next and so on. Your skin should never burn. Sunburn is not good for you and can cause premature skin aging and the development of cancer.
Even if you’ve been a “vampire” for years, there’s no need to be afraid of the sunlight. It’s one of the most pervasive health scams on the planet and it’s designed to terrify unsuspecting consumers into sinking millions of dollars into carcinogen-laced self-tanners and sunblock. Now that you know how healing sunlight can be, get out there and soak it up!
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