Bright, warm, sunny days are a welcome change after months of cold Canadian winters. Sunlight’s UVB rays are necessary for Vitamin D production. Natural sunlight provides other health benefits and changes in the brain creating a lift in mood; especially in the case of SAD, seasonal affective disorder. The desire to spend hours outdoors soaking up the sun also comes with serious health risks.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation found in sunlight. UV can cause chemical reactions, which means it can alter chemical substances. This is a potentially dangerous recipe especially if your body’s chemical equation, made up of toxic chemicals, and your lifetime UV electromagnetic radiation exposure – combine – damaging your DNA, a precursor to cancer.
UNPROTECTED SUN EXPOSURE HEALTH RISKS
- UVA, UVB, and UVC damage collagen fibers, accelerating aging of the skin
- UVA and UVB destroy vitamin A in the skin causing further damage
- UVA contributes to DNA damage indirectly (free radicals and reactive oxygen species).
- UVB and UVC cause direct DNA damage
- UVA is immunosuppressive for the entire body (accounting for a large part of the immunosuppressive effects of sunlight exposure)
- UVA is mutagenic for basal cell keratinocytes in skin
Glass windows and windshields block UVB rays while letting in UVA rays, which can be harmful.
UV exposure has been a known contributing cause of skin cancers, including melanoma. The rates of melanoma and deaths from melanoma have increased alarmingly over the last four decades. Research now shows links between UV and pesticide exposures in some cases of melanoma. Pesticides are used in agriculture, parks, golf courses, lawns and in homes. Know your risks – https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/farm-pesticides-linked-deadly-skin-cancer.
Skin cancer may not be something that scares you, but it should. Suspicious skin moles are often misdiagnosed as “not appearing to be a skin cancer risk”. It is important to have your moles checked regularly by more than one qualified practitioner. Do not rely on pictures of moles on melanoma and skin cancer websites as your only criteria for determining whether your moles are a cancer risk. There are many moles that turn out to be malignant even though they have been determined by doctors to be ‘safe’, and even though they do not match the suspicious mole pictures. Early detection can be life saving. Having the moles removed, even if doctors are not concerned; could be a life saving measure.
Enjoying sunlight does not have to be a health risk if you take the proper precautions.
- Use protective clothing and a wear wide brimmed hat
- Use a safe, good quality sun screen
- DO NOT INTENTIONALLY TAN – either outside or in tanning beds
- Monitor the amount of time you spend in the sun
- Wear anti-UV sunglasses to protection against ultraviolet radiation entering the eyes
- Reflective surfaces like snow and water can greatly increase the amount of UV radiation to which the skin is exposed so increase your protection measures
CRITERIA FOR SUNSCREEN PRODUCT SELECTION
- Physical sunscreens are those that reflect the sunlight
- Chemical sunscreens are those that absorb the UV light
- Sunscreens that should block both UVA and UVB rays are called broad-spectrum sunscreens
- Some ingredients absorb UVA/UVB rays (e.g. avobenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate)
- Some ingredients are physical “blockers” of UV radiation (e.g. titanium dioxide, zinc oxide). Sunscreens that do not block UVA radiation can increase the rate of melanoma, other kinds of skin cancer, and photodermatitis. Use of sunscreens without UVA filters has been connected with a higher melanoma risk found in users of these sunscreens.
- Tanning powder found in some sun tanning products do not provide protection from UV rays
DETERMINING SUNSCREEN REQUIREMENTS AND USAGE
- Sun rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm but still a health concern at other times with long periods of exposure
- Sun rays are stronger at higher elevations (mountains) and latitudes near the equator.
- Apply thickly enough to get the full SPF protection
- Apply 15 to 30 minutes before exposure and reapply every 15 to 30 minutes during sun exposure
- Reapply after activities such as swimming, sweating, and towelling
SAFER SUNSCREEN PROTECTION OPTIONS
The products listed below are considered safer sunscreen options because their ingredient list contains less of the toxic chemicals associated with health concerns, and they are tested for their protection level. Always be vigilant about investigating the ingredients for the products you use initially and ongoing. Ingredients sources and processing can change, potentially compromising the products safety and consumer satisfaction. Adding clove oil, which has the highest antioxidant value and frankincense oil to your sunscreen and moisture lotions will provide you with extra skin cancer protection. See the list of safer sunscreens at the end of this post.
Read more at my blog posts: SKIN CANCER: Increasing Antioxidants At The Skin Level http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1413 and
FRANKINCENSE POTENIAL CANCER CURE: A Modern Day ‘Gift of The Magi’ http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1305.
Research shows that tea tree oil induced apoptosis (planned cell death, lacking in cancer cells) against both cell lines but especially the Adriamycin-resistant cells.
Order your therapeutic grade essential oils by contacting me.
For more information on safer sunscreen options visit the Environmental Working Group’s safer sunscreen list at http://www.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/
On December 24, 2010 my husband died of melanoma skin cancer. Michael was a sun lover. He spent many hours growing up playing on the beach at his family’s summer cottage in south western Ontario and in Florida; in his bathing trunks. The outdoors was his favourite place to be; hiking, gardening (lots of tree planting), golfing and swimming. Michael also had a full dose of other melanoma contributing factors: harmful chemicals throughout his life. He spent a lot of time in his parent’s home beauty salon watching his parents work; breathed second hand smoke growing up, he worked at outside landscaping jobs as a teenager where he sprayed herbicides and pesticides; in university and as a science teacher he worked with formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals, often in improperly ventilated labs.
Protection is key in skin cancer prevention. Sun protection, Increasing antioxidant intake and adding antioxidants at the skin level are important . Antioxidant levels can be very low at the skin surface in persons who breathe cigarette smoke and other chemicals chronically. Take care of your body pollution
Enjoy your time in the sun safely!
Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca
SOURCES AND RESOURCES:
Autier P; Dore J F; Schifflers E; et al. (1995). “Melanoma and use of sunscreens: An EORTC case control study in Germany, Belgium and France”. Int. J. Cancer 61 (6): 749–755. doi:10.1002/ijc.2910610602. PMID 7790106
Terence SC Poon, Ross StC Barnetson and Gary M Halliday (2003). “Prevention of Immunosuppression by Sunscreens in Humans Is Unrelated to Protection from Erythema and Dependent on Protection from Ultraviolet A in the Face of Constant Ultraviolet B Protection”. J Invest Dermatol 121: 184–90.
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