June 2008: Sunscreens and the Sun for Health


 

  • Sunscreen Safety
  • Sunshine and Vitamin D for Health

 

June is a month of celebration and joyous transitions.  Weddings and graduations.  Traditions and transitions.   So often June marks the time when we move into a new life chapter.  Filled with emotion, we look ahead…while we also look back and let go.  With the anticipation of two weddings, two graduations, three reunions, and a retirement(!) in our own family, we are caught up with the joys and reflections that this season brings.  May the month of June bring to you and your loved ones joy and the very best of transitions’ gifts. 

 

The Sun, Sunscreens, and Health

 

 

 

Obviously, we need to be prudent outdoors at any age.  This is especially true for children and teens, since these are the ages when the seeds of melanoma cancers are often sewn.  For children in school throughout the spring, we cannot always arrange to help them break gradually into the sun.  Nor, with sports and summer camp activities, can we keep children out of the sun during the peak hours of the day.  As adults, perhaps it is tennis, sailing, or simply “spectating” at a baseball game or attending a weekend cookout, when we find ourselves unavoidably exposed to the peak heat and power of the sun’s rays.  Whatever your summer activities, we all need reliable information on sunscreens to be able to choose one, for use at least at certain times, that can provide superior sun protection and the stability to stand up to the sun’s rays.

 

As I began to write about sunscreens, I could not help but think of the other side of the story:  Vitamin D from sunshine is vital to health and disease prevention.   Today, 30%-80% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, more than any other vitamin.1  The most natural and non-toxic form of vitamin D comes from the sun.2  AND, it is free for the asking!  More and more research points to the importance of sunshine in preventing and curbing diabetes, internal cancers, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease, and a variety of other inflammatory and chronic diseases.  I believe we will be hearing in the future a lot more about the therapeutic value of the sun, a healthy force that requires no prescription from the local pharmacy.

 

 

Sunscreen Safety

 

“The ideal sunscreen would be highly effective at blocking both UVA and UVB rays, contain active ingredients that do not break down in the sun (so that the product remains effective), and contain active and inactive ingredients that are proven to be safe for both adults and children.  Unfortunately, there is not a sunscreen that meets all of these criteria, and no simple way for consumers to know how well a given product stacks up on any of these fronts.”

 

“After 29 years of debate, the government has failed to set mandatory sunscreen safety standards.  Companies are free to make their own decisions on everything from advertising claims to product quality.  In lieu of setting standards, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises people to stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The FDA now stands in direct violation of a Congressional mandate requiring the agency to finalize sunscreen safety standards by May 2006, flouting not only Congress but also consumers, who are reliant on sunscreens to protect their health.”

 

Environmental Working Group (EWG).

 

 

The business of sunscreens is tricky and confusing.  Yes, we do have a plethora of sunscreens that can prevent sunburn.  Sunburn is caused by UVB rays, but this is not all we have to think about.  Sunlight is made up of three types of radiation.  Just because we use a sunscreen to prevent a tan or burn does not mean our skin is safe from the sun.

 

Unlike its UVB cousin, UVA rays are sly because they leave no overt footprint.  Yet, they are associated with signs of skin damage like wrinkles and aging; with damage (by intense, intermittent overdose) to the immune system; and, with some types of skin cancer.  This silent UVA force is something for which few sunscreens provide much protection.3

 

A sunscreen’s “sun protection factor” (SPF) is falsely assuring, as well as misleading:  It does tell you what kind of protection it provides against UVB tanning/burning rays, but it says little about what kind of screening it provides against UVA radiation.  Sunscreens that do protect against both are normally denoted as “UVA/UVB” or “broad spectrum” sunscreens, but the SPF number applies only to UVB radiation.  There is no numerical rating system to gauge the level of UVA protection.  The FDA has failed to set UVA standards so the label gives you no UVA clues.

 

The United States is behind Europe in analyzing and authorizing sunscreen ingredients.4  With few effective agents, every year new ingredients appear, some of which breakdown in the sun and pose the risk of free radical damage, both to the skin and to the environment.  For every active sunscreen ingredient, there are 100 non-sunscreen “fillers.”5  Some of these added ingredients react with each other.  Some are absorbed through the skin and enter the blood stream and can cause toxic effects, create allergic reactions, or disrupt hormone function.6  Testing is left to the manufacturer:  the government does not require companies to test their sunscreens for safety before they are allowed to be marketed on store shelves.

 

In the current continued state of prolonged government deadlock, we are fortunate that in 2004, the Environmental Working Group stepped in to begin to test sunscreen ingredients and to try to offer us good advice and help.  EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water, and food.  Every year it expands its efforts.  Last summer we wrote a brief article on sunscreen safety when EWG’s testing base included 785 products.  In its most recent update, EWG analyzes and ranks 1014 products based on three criteria:

 

  1. Effectiveness at blocking both UVA and UVB radiation;
  2. Stability of the active ingredients when exposed to the heat and light of the sun; and
  3. Safety of the active and inactive ingredients with respect to the health risks of children and adults, alike.

 

In the most recent survey update, products are also rated not only with a “hazard” (safety) score, but also with a “data gap” rating:

 

  • The hazard rating, which can exceed any of the specific component’s risk scores, assesses the hazards from all ingredients.  Hazard scores increase if a product includes skin absorbing ingredients that encourage skin penetration.

 

  • The data gap rating indicates how much is known about ingredients.  Some ingredients might have a low hazard score simply because they have not been thoroughly tested.   The data gap rating helps temper conclusions about safety by giving clues about how much of the product has been scrutinized.  Every year, hundreds of new ingredients are introduced into sunscreens and personal care products, making this new measure a good and useful tool for tempering conclusions and claims of safety.

 

Sun exposure is largely a childhood phenomenon:  Most people experience 50% to 80% of their lifetime exposure to the sun before the age of 18.  Also, melanoma-type skin cancers are associated with severe sunburn experienced before the age of 20.7   But, there is much we can do to protect our children if we develop sound strategies and learn to discriminate among sunscreen products.

 

Before we look at specific findings and recommendations, let’s review a few things about the sun and sunscreens.

 

 

Sun and Sunscreen Facts:

 

  • The sun is important for health and we do want a modest, sensible dose.  Our best source of vitamin D is from the sun.  Vitamin D is important, particularly in infancy and childhood but also throughout life, for healthy bone formation, for mood, for a vibrant nervous system, for thyroid function and fertility, for normal blood clotting, for healthy skin and teeth, and even for the prevention of some forms of internal cancers.  Vitamin D also enhances vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as a host of minerals, especially calcium, phosphorus, and choline.  Interestingly, since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is stored and retained by the body over a prolonged period, even up to a year.8  So while we may enjoy warmth and the feeling of sunshine on our skin, it is not critical to experience the sun everyday in order to be healthy.9

 

  • Sunshine is important for health, but we do not want to get too much, particularly if we have not allowed our skin to build up protective melanin through gradual exposure.   Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause damage to the skin and to the immune system, and health in general.  Sunlight contains three types of UV rays, UVA, UVB, and UVC:

 

 

UVA is the major player in our UV exposure because these rays travel relatively unscathed through the ozone layer and because most sunscreens do not offer UVA protection.  They cause skin damage like wrinkles and aging; damage to the immune system; and foster skin cancers.

 

UVB rays (the ones for which most sunscreens are effective and the ones that foster vitamin D when they hit unprotected skin) are perhaps less problematic since the ozone layer absorbs the majority of these rays and because we have good sunscreens to parry them.  Excessive UVB radiation that does travel through to us can be harmful:  It causes sunburns, can damage the immune system, and can lead to the development of cataracts and skin cancer.

 

UVC rays are the shortest wave length and can damage tissue,10 but they are largely screened out by the ozone layer.  We do need trace amounts for good health.

 

  • Melanin in our skin helps to protect us against the sun.  Sunlight stimulates the body to make melanin, its effort to protect skin cells from unltraviolet radiation. The darker your skin, the more protection you have from the sun.  With increasing exposure to the sun, melanin builds up for many people, so the risk of sunburn often decreases as the summer season progresses:   Sun exposure that would burn us on Memorial Day or in June may be easy to handle in August, at least from the standpoint of sunburn.  People with a lighter natural skin color have less melanin and need to exert special care.  The same is true of adults and children who have a lot of moles and/or a family history of skin cancers.

 

Sunscreen should not be applied to babies under 6 months of age.  Babies need to be kept out of the sun.  Their skin is very thin, they are not able to fend off toxins, and melanin has not built up in their skin to offer sun protection.

 

  • SPF, sun protection factor, is a measure of protection against UVB sunburn radiation.  If you would normally begin to burn after 10 minutes in the sun, then a SPF of 30 would theoretically allow you to be in the sun 300 minutes (10×30) before burning.  This calculation is an estimate and is influenced by whether you perspire, or engage in water sports, and by the strength of the sunlight.  There is little need to go above SPF 30, since higher levels add little more protection.  (A SPF of 8 is enough to block out 93% of UVB radiation, while a SPF 15 blocks 99%, so either is  sufficient to blunt the potential vitamin D benefits.11

 

  • There is no such thing as a “sun block.”  The FDA plans to ban the use of this label when it finalizes it regulations.  Also, tanning lotions and suntan products do not generally provide protection from UV rays.

 

 

 

Specific EWG Findings based on their most recent study of 1014 sunscreens:12

 

  • “Of the 1014 sunscreen products tested, 85% offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.  Only 15% of the products on the market are both safe and effective… blocking both UVA and UVB radiation; remaining stable in sunlight; and containing few if any ingredients with significant known or suspected health hazards.”13

 

  • Fully 13% of high SPF sunscreens (SPF of at least 30) protect only from sunburn (UVB radiation) and do not contain ingredients know to protect from UVA radiation.   Recall that UVA are the sun rays linked to skin damage and aging, immune system problems, and potentially skin cancer. The FDA does not require that sunscreens guard against UVA radiation.”

 

  • Sunscreens breakdown in the sun.  Paradoxically, many sunscreen ingredients break down in the sun, in a matter of minutes or hours, and then let UV radiation through to the skin.  Tests show that 54% of products on the market contain ingredients that may be unstable alone or in combination, raising questions about whether these products last as long as the label says.  The FDA has not proposed requirements for sunscreen stability.”

 

  • Of the 17 “active ingredients” that the FDA has approved for use as sunscreens in the United States, at least 4 of them break down significantly when exposed to sunlight.  They lose their ability to absorb the sun’s harmful rays and stop working effectively in as little as 30 minutes, ranging up to several hours.  They require stabilizing chemicals to remain effective.”

 

“Except for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, nearly every active ingredient works by absorbing the sun’s energy so it does not penetrate the skin and then releases that captured energy by breaking apart, reacting with other chemicals in the sunscreen, or even kicking off free radicals.  While some ingredients are more stable than others, nearly all break down to some extent in the sun.”

 

Of the 1014 sunscreens in the testing universe, 54% contain ingredients that break down individually or in combination, with no known stabilizing ingredients in the formulation.”

 

  • Half of the products on the market bear claims that are considered “unacceptable” or misleading under FDA’s draft sunscreen safety standards.  False marketing claims are common.  Claims on labels, like “all day protection” and “blocks all harmful rays,” are not true.  Until the FDA sets standards, inflated and false claims will continue.”

 

  • Zinc and titanium-based sunscreens are among the safest and most effective sunscreens on the market.” 

 

EWG Sun Safety Recommendations:

 

  • For the best protection against solar rays wear sun-protection clothing, limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and, apply generous amounts (about 1 oz. or a palm-full) of high-quality sunscreen about 30 minutes before going into the sun and every 2 hours thereafter.

 

  • There is little need to buy products with ratings above SPF 30, since a SPF 50 cream blocks only 1.3% more UVB rays than a SPF 30 product.  Far more important is to use a SPF 30 generously, since most people only apply a quarter to two-thirds enough to reach the SPF rating on the bottle.

 

  • Search for products containing zinc and titanium since these are stable compounds offering both UVB and UVA protection and with little risk of skin penetration…these are two of the safest and most effective ingredients available in the United States today.  The EWG concludes, in fact, that “consumers using sunscreens without zinc and titanium are likely exposed to more UV radiation and greater numbers of hazardous ingredients than consumers relying on zinc and titanium products for sun protection.”

 

  • Even with the best sunscreen, caution is still advised:  sunscreens reduce the risk of only one common form of cancer, squamous-cell, but not its cousin, basal-cell carcinomas.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

While no sunscreen on the market flawlessly meets all three EWG criteria – effectiveness, stability, and safety —  25 products did test as being both “effective” and “low hazard.”  Overall, of the 1014 sunscreens tested, EWG recommends 148 brands, cautions about 414 others, and instructs consumers to avoid the remaining 452 products tested.

 

The EWG web site provides a listing of the “best” and “worst” sunscreens, rating each as to “health hazard” and “sun hazard,” and giving every product a “composite” score.  To access this data base and to explore the ratings and rankings of your own favorite sunscreens, go to www.ewg.org

 

For zinc oxide and titantium dioxide sunscreens (Blue Lizard is a major brand) and for solar clothing for the entire family (including hats, sunglasses and total-body swimwear), you might want to check www.coolibar.com.  Solar Eclipse, www.solareclipse.com, also sells solar clothing, but their line does not extend to swimwear and sunscreens.

 

 

A “Stop to Wonder” Moment:  Have you ever stopped to wonder about the gradual shift over time from gratitude to fear when it comes to our attitude toward the sun?  The sun is obviously THE vital life-giving force.  All life would halt without it.  For centuries, peoples around the globe worshipped the sun as the giver of heat and life.

 

Our ancestors lived and worked for hours a day outside in the sun without the aid of sunscreens.  Their melanin levels built up gradually in the spring and throughout the summer.  They got plenty of sun, but at times of the day when it was more comfortable and relatively safe:   Traditional cultures worked from early morning until noontime.  Then, at noon, the hour when both their own digestive fire and that of the sun were reaching a peak, they stopped for “dinner” and a siesta.  Afterward, they returned to the fields and worked from late afternoon until sunset, when they broke for a light super and bedtime.

 

Nature also designed humanity to accommodate to the sun’s rays.  People living at the equator had more melanin and therefore darker skin to provide greater protection than lighter-skinned peoples living in northern latitudes.  The same phenomenon applies to eye color, with  people living at the equator having a naturally  deep-brown/black iris, compared to light-blue tones of  Scandinavians.14

 

 Life is different today.  We leave our homeland and “sprinkle” ourselves to disparate parts of the world that may not meld with our genetic heritage.  Our lifestyle is also quite different.  Often, we spend 50 weeks of the year indoors working.  Then, when vacation rolls around, we head to the sun, but having allowed little time for melanin levels to build up for protection.  I remember our own daily rhythm in the summer when my children were growing up.  Mornings included chores, cooking, music practice, and errands so we could be free to get to the beach to rendezvous with friends.  Morning day camps are scheduled around families, like us, to be able to pack a picnic lunch and head for the beach in the afternoon to “beat” the heat of the day with a cooling swim.   At the peak sun hours, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., beach parking lots are invariably filled to overflowing.

 

So, holding to modern schedules, we resort to a myriad of sunscreens for protection from this vital life force.  But these chemical-laden products also come with their own man-made risks.  With an escalation of melanoma cancers, we are tempted to slather on increasing amounts of sunscreen.  Yet, many melanomas develop on the body in areas that receive little exposure to the sun.15   What is going on here? Yes, we may have the sun to blame.  But might there be other forces, as well?

 

Maybe the sun’s rays work as a catalyst for the body to release internal toxins through the skin.  Perhaps skin damage from UV rays is really the result of poor antioxidant nutrition.16  Our processed foods and soft drinks are stripped of the protective antioxidants that nature provides in whole foods to diffuse free-radical damage. 

 

Regarding toxins, recall that the skin is the body’s largest organ and that it is one of the most effective ways for the body to try to discharge chemicals read as foreign.  Processed foods  are filled with chemicals that the body does not recognize.  Excitotoxins, which are chemicals added to foods and beverages that over-stimulate and over-excite neurons, can cause brain damage.  Found in MSG, aspartame, hydrolyzed protein, and aspartic acid, they are just one of a myriad of toxic substances that have been introduced into our modern-day food supply. 

 

Perhaps some degree of sun safety can start with what we put on our plate and what liquids we choose to drink.  We might also begin with consciously making time to get mild doses of sun throughout the year rather than prolonged exposure at vacation times. 

 

If we are sensible, perhaps we can move away from what appears to be a rather pervasive sense of fear and move back toward balanced gratitude for the ultimate source of energy that brings life itself.

 

 

 

 Sunshine and Vitamin D for Health

 

Sunshine is vital to health.  From the beginning of time, our bodies have been programmed to convert sunshine to vitamin D via our skin.  Our systems also have the software to make use of full spectrum light through the iris of our eye to stimulate the pineal and pituitary glands for proper hormone and brain function.  Interestingly, vitamin D is the only vitamin that we can make all on our own,17  and virtually all the cells and tissues of the body [as well as the kidneys] have the capability to activate vitamin D.18

 

While in a few foods (cod liver oil, sardines and oily fish like salmon,19 egg yolks, and liver), for all practical purposes, and unlike vitamins A, C, and E, it is hard to find adequate amounts of vitamin D through food.20   Also, vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means, when taken orally, it could accumulate to potentially toxic levels.21   Thankfully, this does not happen with sunshine, since our body is able to self-regulate and stop making vitamin D when it is no longer needed.  So, the very best source is from sunshine, and it is the only source that assures that vitamin D cannot build to toxic levels.

 

What is vitamin D?  Vitamin D in its active form is actually a hormone.  It plays a major role in our health, making it possible for our bodies to “utilize calcium, have bone growth, maintain bone density, allow for normal functioning of the [heart] and nervous system, prevent rickets in children and brittle bones.  It also supports our cell differentiation directing cells in the right direction as our body produces them,”22 which is why it can play an important role in the prevention and remission of internal cancers, particularly colon, breast, prostate, and ovary.23   Our body makes vitamin D in a multi-step process that involves the liver and kidney, but it all starts with unprotected skin absorbing the sun’s rays.

 

Vitamin D and Cancer.  In 1979, the DeLuca Group recognized that “essentially every tissue in your body appeared to recognize the active form of vitamin D.”24  This led to an understanding that “because every tissue and cell in you body has a vitamin D receptor, we think that vitamin D acts as a sentinel for your health in that it will control cell growth.  If the cell growth becomes malignant, it will either return the cell to normal or induce apoptosis, cell death.”25

 

As early as the 1940s, it was recognized that it was easy to find and treat non-melanoma skin cancers and that this might be a reasonable risk/benefit strategy compared to the danger of undetected internal cancers developing due to lack of exposure to sunshine.26  Research suggests that most people who develop skin cancer are not as inclined to develop deadly internal cancers.  And, even most melanomas occur in areas that receive virtually no sun exposure.27   On the flip side, most cancer patients are deficient in vitamin D and a vitamin D deficiency increases the risk by “30%-50% of developing some of the most deadly cancers.”28

 

For Health:  Full-Spectrum Light Through the Eye.  John Nash Ott was an early pioneer who explored the benefits of full-spectrum light more than 40 years ago.  He concluded that, “Mankind adapted to the full range of the solar spectrum, and artificial distortions of that spectrum – malillumination, a condition analogous to malnutrition – may have biologic effects.”  He also noted that, “There are neuro-chemical channels from the retina to the pineal and pituitary glands, the master glands of the whole endocrine system that control the production and release of hormones.  This regulates your body chemistry and its growth, all organs of your body, including your brain, and how they function.”29

 

Ott derived his conclusions from observing changes in reproduction in plants and animals when they were deprived of full-spectrum light.  He also discovered that his arthritis disappeared when he broke his glasses.  In 1959, Dr. Jane C. Wright, working at the Bellevue Memorial Medical Center in New York City, picked up on Ott’s work.  In her cancer research work, she instructed 15 women with cancer be out in the sun as much as possible, without wearing sunglasses.  At the end of the summer, 14 women experienced no growth of their tumors, some of which improved.  The one woman, who did not get better, misunderstood the instructions and wore her regular glasses in the place of sunglasses.

 

For some stimulating reading on this under-researched topic, I recommend Ott’s books, Health and Light (1973) and Light, Radiation and You:  How to Stay Healthy (1990).  For more information on vitamin D and cancer and chronic disease, you may also want to read The UA Advantage by Dr. Michael Holick, as well as his interview article in the May/June 2008 issue of Alternative Therapies.   Holick, a pioneer in vitamin D research, discovered the mechanisms for its synthesis in the body.  Continuing on the forefront of vitamin D/health research today, he is a voice worth listening to.

 

Meanwhile, let’s summarize a few recommendations that, hopefully, strike a good balance between protecting ourselves and availing ourselves of the sun.  Certainly, any personal strategy should be chosen based on your age, skin color, the season of the year, and location on the globe.

 

 

 

Pathways4Health Summary Comments, a Blend of Protection and Health Benefits

 

  • Use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide-based sunscreens.  These two ingredients “create a physical barrier that sits on the skin’s surface and are not absorbed into the body.  They reflect light away from the skin, the way a mirror would.”  Try to look for a sunscreen that contains antioxidant vitamins like vitamins C and E, which can be helpful in parrying any stray free-radical damage to the skin.30
  • No matter your age, build up with gradual exposure to the sun.  Begin with 5-15 minutes, building up to 30 minutes a day, exposing face and arms, when possible..  Darker skinned people will require more sun that those who are fair.31
  • Children and teens can err on the side of less sun and the use of sunscreens.  With children generally, we do not need to think too much about the sun as a healer of chronic disease.  These are the years to be sensible in order to avoid melanoma cancers in later life.  At the same time, through gradually building up to the sun, sunshine can be very helpful in reducing childhood asthma and wheezing disorders while it enhances growth, bone formation, energy, and mood.
  • For adults, sunlight is a major agent that can help prevent a host of chronic diseases.  These are the years when the risk/reward appears to tip to greater rather than lesser sun as we age.  Much of the risk of melanoma skin cancer was sewn in the past during our childhood.  Research suggests that sunshine can provide sufficient protection against internal cancers and chronic, inflammatory diseases to perhaps outweigh the risks of skin-type cancers, many of which can be managed by periodic visits to the dermatologist, and through prudent year-round exposure to the sun.  So, you may want to get 15-30 minutes of sun exposure and then apply sunscreen.  Since your face and head account for less than 10% of your total skin surface, applying a sunscreen to your face (especially in the summer) before going out in the sun can help prevent aging, while you absorb helpful rays on exposed areas of other parts of your body.
  • While it is true that excessive exposure to the sun (you should never exposure your skin to the point of burning or blistering) does increase your risk of basal and squamous cell skin cancer and can prematurely age the skin, sensible and frequent mild exposure, plus a good diet of whole foods in order to avoid toxins and to also provide a rich array of antioxidants can be wise and helpful.
  • Scientific studies suggest that sunshine exposure both through the iris of the eye and on unprotected skin is important for general health.  For any one with a chronic disease, sunshine can be used medicinally, often with very positive effect.
  • There are no set rules about how much sun is optimal, since this will vary with your age (vitamin D deficiency increases as we age), skin color (longer exposure for darker skin), with where you are located on the globe (less at the equator and more toward the poles), and your state of health (sunshine can be helpful for inflammation, high blood sugar, fragility fractures, chronic pain, PMS, psoriasis, and diabetes and obesity, to name just a few.
  • Light rays absorbed through the eyes stimulate the pineal gland (called the “third eye” because of its link to hormone function).  You might consider wearing glasses that allow UV light to pass through, and sunglasses tinted a neutral grey in order to decrease uniformly the amount of light across the broad spectrum.32

 

 

Copyright 2008 Pathways4Health.org



 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Michael Holick, PhD, MD, Director of the Bone Health Care Clinic and the Heliotherapy, Light, and Skin Research Center at Boston University Medical Center.  Alternative Therapies, May/June 2008.  He was a pioneer in vitamin D research in the 1960s and is one of the world’s leading experts on vitamin D and its role in skin and bone health and in the prevention of cancer and other chronic disease. []
  2. The body is able to make vitamin D in it active form in vast amounts.  In turn, “sunlight destroys any excess vitamin D that your body makes, so you could never become vitamin D intoxicated from sun exposure.”…Holick. []
  3. The best protection is offered by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.  Avobenzone and Merxoryl SX, the other two UVA-screening ingredients approved by the FDA break down in the sun. (See text  for discussion.) []
  4. The FDA has approved just 17 sunscreen ingredients, compared to 29 that are authorized in Europe.  We also permit just 4 UVA-screening chemicals.  As mentioned in footnote 1, the only two viable and effective UVA ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two stable components that do not penetrate healthy skin. []
  5. Of the sunscreen products tested,  EWG found 1832 added chemicals to complement the 17 ingredients that were active, sunscreen ingredients.  Especially, BEWARE OF PARABEN.  It is a carcinogenic agent that is put in many skin creams and lotions for creamy smoothness. []
  6. The EWG concludes:  “ …consumers who use sunscreens without zinc and titanium are likely exposed to more UV radiation and greater numbers of hazardous ingredients than consumers relying on zinc and titanium-based products.  Sunscreens without these two ingredients contain four times as many high hazard ingredients known or strongly suspected to cause cancer or birth defects, to disrupt human reproduction, or damage the growing brain of a child.  As EWG notes, many sunscreen chemicals “cross the placenta to contaminate babies even before the moment of birth, including a recent study finding an average of 200 chemicals in umbilical cord blood from 10 newborn babies.” []
  7. www.kidshealth.org []
  8. Vitamin D synthesis declines 80% between the winter and summer, but most people can gain enough sun exposure from spring, summer, and fall to store vitamin D in body fat for release during the winter months.  Holick, 67. []
  9. The amount of sunshine on unprotected skin that is in keeping with good health depends on a person’s age and skin color, the time of year, the geographic latitude, as well as the person’s state of health (since the sun can be used medicinally for chronic illness).  More discussion follows on page 13. []
  10. UVC rays perform a positive role in science and industry through their ability to kill bacteria. []
  11. Holick, 70. []
  12. Of course, I am not a scientist, nor an expert in sunscreen ingredients.  Recognizing this, I simply quote/paraphrase findings culled from the Environmental Working Group’s research. []
  13. This assessment is based on almost 400 scientific studies, industry models of sunscreen efficacy, and toxicity, and regulatory information housed in nearly 60 government, academic, and industry databases. []
  14. www.second-opinion.co.uk/full_spectrum_sunlight []
  15. Melanomas can even develop in internal body orifices that could not possibly be exposed to sunlight. []
  16. According to Raw Path Support Community, The Gigantic Sunscreen Hoax, “Sunburn is actually caused by nutritional deficiencies that leave the skin vulnerable to DNA mutations from radiation, but if you boost your nutrition and protect your nervous system with plant-based nutrients, you’ll be naturally resistant to sunburn. …the same nutrients that protect the optic nerve and eyes from radiation damage.” []
  17. Jeremy Laurance, www.healingcancernaturally.com. []
  18. Holick, 73. []
  19. Farm-raised salmon, fed a diet of pellets, has only 10%-25% of the vitamin D levels of wild salmon….Holick []
  20. “There is essentially no vitamin D from any dietary source.  It’s principally found in oily fish or in sun-dried mushrooms and in fortified foods, like milk and orange juice.  But there are only 100 international units (IU) in a glass of milk or vitamin D-fortified orange juice.  We now recognize that for every hundred IU you ingest, you raise your blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [a precursor of the active hormone form] byh 1 nonogram per milliliter (ng/mL).”…Holick. []
  21. This is a widely-recognized view.  However, Holick believes the risks are exaggerated , “Vitamin D intoxication is one of the most rare medical conditions worldwide.” 72.  Holick recommends “at least 400 IU for adults over the age of 50, and 600 IU for people aged 70 and older.  But now many experts agree that both children and adults need a minimum of 100 IU of vitamin D a day to maintain a blood level of 25-dydroxyvitamin D that we consider to be healthful, which is above 30 ng/mL.” []
  22. Suzanne VanDeGrift, “Calcium and Vitamin D:  Partners in Health.” []
  23. Laurance. []
  24. Holick, 66. []
  25. Holick, 69 []
  26. Holick, 68 []
  27. Holick, 74 []
  28. Holick, 73 []
  29. www.second-opinions.co.uk/full_spectrum_sunlight []
  30. Ralph W. Moss, PhD, “New Evidence that Vitamin D Fights Cancer.” []
  31. Holick finds 84% of African-Americans are deficient in vitamin D.  More melanin in the skin requires longer exposure. []
  32. www.healingcancernatually.com []