Lately, there are a lot of confusing messages in the media about the sun. Some say we should use sunscreen at all times, even during winter and cloudy weather to protect us from skin cancer. Others say it’s healthy to be outside in the sun without any protection. Fact is that the sun is our main source for vitamin D and that vitamin D is essential for a healthy body and mind. Again, it all comes down to balance. Let me explain why.
Vitamin D is a hormone that stimulates the absorption of calcium into the bones.
It has a positive effect on the immune system, heart and vessels and on the mind. It also prevents against different forms of cancer and could be an explanation why people who live close to the equator have smaller chances to get multiple scleroses.
Sunbathing is ok
Dutch dermatologist Hans van der Rhee has warned us for the dangers of sunlight for about 20 years. As, in his view, being exposed to sunlight was the main reason of the explosive grow of skin cancer. Recently he re-adjusted his vision and wrote a book about it (Zonnen Mag, translated: sunbathing is ok) wherein he defines the positive and the negative effects of the sun. He even advises to go more out in the sun but of course, be cautious.
It is definitely not a good idea to spend afternoons in the burning sun when your skin is not used to it. Actually, it’s never a good idea. Lots of people go on holiday to warm countries after spending most of their time inside during wintertime. Intensive sunbathing can lead to sunburn. And sunburn is one of the main causes of skin cancer. In fact, it increases the risks of melanoma ‘the most aggressive type of skin cancer’ with 60 %.
So what should you do?
Take your time and be patient with the sun. Make sure your skin gets used to sunlight by going outside and limit your time in the open sun to no more than 15 minutes and find shelter in de shades. Build up your tan slowly and gradually. This will assure you that you will get all the benefits without the risks. People with more pigment in their skin already have a better protection than people with pale skin and freckles. So be careful if you have a very light skin.
If you use sunscreen, make sure it’s an organic one.
There are so many chemicals in regular sunscreen. Especially the ones with oxybenzone should be avoided, as it effects your hormone levels and it switches off essential antioxidants. Besides that, the coral reefs in the oceans will be very grateful. The use of sunscreen is one of the reasons these reefs are dying very quickly.
So go out there, enjoy the sun, but do it consciously!
Lots of love,