Do You Eat Your Sunscreen?

eat your sunscreen Do You Eat Your Sunscreen?As summer approaches (or feels like it is already here, as the case is where I live), sun protection is definitely something to plan for, though I do it differently than most.

Conventional wisdom says to slather on some sunscreen and call it a day, but this is problematic for a couple of reasons. Wearing any sunscreen blocks the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D, which is vital for hundreds of reactions in the body (including cancer prevention).

Most sunscreens also contain toxic chemicals that can be more dangerous than moderate sun exposure. As I mentioned in a previous post:

Despite the push for more awareness about sun exposure, and the advice to use sunscreen whenever we go outside, incidence of skin cancer, especially melanoma, is rising dramatically.

In fact, skin cancer rates are rising by 4.2% annually, despite the fact that we  spend less time outdoors and wear more sunscreen.

So, if skin cancer rates are rising despite sunscreen use and reduced sun exposure, perhaps there is a deeper underlying cause. I’ve written before about the link between nutrition and sunburn, and I’m becoming even more convinced of this as more evidence emerges. The most convincing part for me personally was my own reaction to the sun over the last couple of years.

I’m Irish-Scottish (which is Latin for very fair skinned!) and have always burned. In fact, even moderate sun exposure would leave me with a pinkish glow rather than a tan… until the last couple of years.

Last summer, I was able to garden for 6-8 hours including during the heat of the day without burning. We also went to Florida for a friend’s wedding and I was at the beach for 4 hours between 11-3 with no sunscreen and I didn’t burn… at all!

To those of you blessed with olive skin, this may not seem like a big deal, but to me, this is huge! I also noticed looking back at pictures of me from last summer that I don’t look like the pale-stepchild among my Italian in-laws for the first time.

The Underlying Cause:

Doctors and sunscreen manufacturers are quick to push sunscreen for those who burn easily, but this is often the equivalent of giving antibiotics for every illness. It may address a short term problem, but it does nothing to address the underlying cause.

Sunburn is a type of inflammation, and diet has a tremendous impact on inflammation in the body. As such, addressing diet is often a much more important that just slathering on the sunscreen, plus dietary improvements can improve other areas of health as well.

Certainly, it is also wise to avoid burning by wearing protective clothing or by using homemade sunscreen for prolonged exposure, especially early in the year, but a good diet and a few supplements are often far more effective at day-to-day sun protection. (You can also use coconut oil on the skin for light protection, as it is naturally about an SPF 4)

Diet for Sun Protection:

A large part of natural sun protection is eating an anti-inflammatory diet. This type of diet will also be beneficial for many other health conditions, and if you’ve read my blog before, you know the drill:

Foods to Avoid:

  • processed foods
  • vegetable oils (this is the most important for sun exposure)
  • grains
  • sugars

Foods toEat:

  • lots of healthy saturated fats
  • lots of foods rich in omega-3s (fish, etc)
  • lots of leafy greens
  • 2+ tablespoons of tomato paste daily

Supplements:

About this time of year, I also start taking a specific regimen of supplements that help reduce inflammation and improve sun tolerance. The supplements I take are:

  • Vitamin D3 (I take about 5,000 IU/day)- Emerging evidence shows that optimizing blood levels of Vitamin D can have a protective effect against sunburn and skin cancer
  • Vitamin C (I take about 2,000 mg/day)- A potent anti0inflammatory, and it is good for the immune system too.
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted in a cup of herbal tea per day- the Medium Chain Fatty Acids and saturated fat are easily utilized by the body for new skin formation and are protective against burning
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend  (also great for remineralizing teeth)-Probably the most important supplement for sun protection. I take double doses during the summer and the kids take it too. Since adding this and the coconut oil daily, none of us have burned. It’s also great for digestive and oral health. (Amazon finally has the capsules back in stock)
  • Astaxanthin- A highly potent antioxidant which research shows acts as an internal sunscreen. It’s also supposedly an anti-aging supplement. I don’t give this one to the kids though.

That’s our regimen and we don’t ever use conventional sunscreen and only use the homemade stuff a couple times a year.

Do you eat your sunscreen? Still use the toxic stuff? Avoid the sun completely? Tell me below!

Reader Comments

  1. Emily says

    What a great post! Do you have any tweaks to the list of supplements above if I’m a nursing mother? I assume they’re all great for breast milk, but just checking!

    I’m definitely going to try this regimen as we are on a sailboat often in the summer (nowhere to hide from the sun) although I already do the Vitamin D and Coconut Oil.

    I do have olive skin, but it’s very fair at the same time and ever since I got pregnant last year I tend to burn more easily. I think it’s attributed to being out of the sun more as I was either pregnant and couldn’t tolerate it and now I have a baby who I try to keep out of the sun (and I won’t use sunscreen on her). I think I had a sun tolerance built up from living in Hawaii and Costa Rica and now I’ve lost it. I never burned there and I believe my body got used to it. Also, I was eating a lot of the things mentioned above and eating the best food/diet I’ve ever eaten. Maybe that’s why! I never put it together that a great diet would provide sunscreen benefits! Thanks again!

    • says

      All safe during nursing, though the astaxanthin wouldn’t be completely necessary. If you do take it, just make sure it doesn’t say not to take while nursing and that there are no questionable additives to the brand you get.

  2. Cathy says

    We still use sunblock (as opposed to sunscreen, safer ingredients) for very occasional outings, such as going to the water park ALL day or something like that.  And my facial tinted moisturizer does contain a sunblock, SPF 15.  But other than that, we just get in the sun.  We do have a good intake of vitamins D and C, but not very much coconut oil regularly.  We do take fish oil, but not currently the CLO/butter oil from Green Pastures.  I made the mistake of buying the non-capsule forms and traumatized the whole family, I think.  Need to try again with the capsules.

    • Cathy says

       I should say, we also cook with only butter and lard and use some olive and grapeseed oils in baking or for homemade mayo (olive).  So we do have a good intake of better fats.

  3. says

    I am so confused right now. Sunscreens are toxic?!?!?! Why are they sold? Have I been poisoning my kids??? I used to live in Australia and not putting on sunblock is unheard of…. What about sun damage ie sun spots, wrinkles, etc???

    • Joycehoffer says

      I have always been an avid sunblock/sunscreen user and I certainly lathered my kids up!  We have a pool and I wanted them to be protected.  After reading this, I won’t be using it anymore!  I’m going to make the homemade stuff and change other things.  We have already been going out daily for half an hour to get our sun and no burns yet. ..

    • says

      Unfortunately, lots of toxic things are sold, and many of them are sold as food (processed foods, soda, chips, etc). There are a lot of chemicals in sunscreen and a correlation between increased sunscreen use and increased rates of skin cancers. You also hear of people getting melanoma in places that the sun doesn’t touch anyway, so its logical that there is a deeper cause. If you can, I”d encourage you to use natural homemade sunscreen or just coconut oil instead, and to take the supplements to help either way :-)

      • says

        I eat very little gluten , no sugar and no processed foods but have always thought that sunblock is a must. I’m gathering now that tanning without burning is not damaging to your skin?

        • says

          Especially if the goal is getting some good vitamin D, not just the appearance of a tan, it is a very healthy thing. Just make sure not to burn, eat lots of good fats, and it will actually be great for your skin! :-)

      • Shayna says

        I got melanoma on my face. Am almost never out in the sun but driving 5 minutes to work or anywhere else. I have to cover up in 50+ UV Protection clothing, and I really hate that. Get terrible reactions to sun protection lotions. My dermatologist told me that people just don’t seem to understand that the cause of melanoma is a genetic tendency towards it, and that typically follows through family lines. Certainly true in my family. I always avoided the sun just because I don’t like it. Didn’t stop melanoma from attacking me. My uncle had it, his daughter had it, my father had it, my mother’s father had it, my brother had it….. cannot believe that all these people are eating all the wrong foods. My mother, on the other hand, frequently hung out in the sun. She never got melanoma and ate all the wrong foods that anybody could every imagine. As for me, there is hardly anything I can eat without getting a reaction of one kind or another so my diet is down to a minimum. I believe that my dermatologist is right: it runs in families, and nothing really helpful can be done besides avoiding the sun, the clouds, reflective pavements, tanning booth – and you name it!

    • Michelle Headley says

      We can buy all kinds of things that are toxic, sunscreens are no exception. They are sold because companies can make money off the ignorance of the masses (don’t even get me started on this one!). That’s not to say that people are stupid, they’re just trusting conventional wisdom and their doctors (who are also trusting conventional wisdom) who tell us the sun is bad for us. You can’t feel guilty (ie poisoning kids, that’s strong wording. I don’t
      think anyone would accuse you of that unless you were pouring the
      sunscreen down their throats) about what you didn’t know in the past. That doesn’t mean you can’t change what you’re doing NOW. Now you know better. Now you have more info. and a strategy. As for sun spots and wrinkles…I’m an esthetician. Beautiful skin is my job and my passion. I do not use chemical sunscreens, and have not done so for years. I can tell you that the number one best thing you can do to maintain healthy skin is to eat well. Lots of veggies and some fruit gives you tons of antioxidants which are super important for skin health. Skin is an organ, and just like every other organ, it loves to eat fat! Skin is made up of (mostly) protein, so it loves when the body gets meat! Give it what it loves, and not what it doesn’t (sugar…it HATES sugar. Fact: SUGAR causes wrinkles and “sun spots”) and it will be healthy. All that being said, proper exfoliation and hydration/moisturization, not staying out until you get burned, all these are within your control and greatly contribute to keeping your skin looking and acting youthful.

      • Brad says

        Lycopene has been demonstrated good for your eyes, but nothing conclusive has been published on any other health claims that people regularly make for it. That doesn’t mean they’re untrue, just that they’re not fully understood. For something with a never-ending list of health benefits that have been thoroughly tested and debunked over the last century give Turmeric a try! Turmeric Root has more unique pharmacological actions than most pharmaceutical drugs, which means to say that it affects more systems of the body than some prescription drugs designed to do so!

    • Cecile says

      Do you get tomato paste in a jar? Canned goods are a no no in our house. Or do make it yourself? Recipe please!

  4. LC says

    This is interesting to me because my whole family has fair skin, but my children and I have to be in the sun a long time to burn, but my husband(who loves sugar and fried foods) burns easily.

  5. Kwfurth says

    my child has had skin cancer so i simply can’t take the chance of NOT using sunscreen. However, we use all natural mineral based sunscreen instead of the other stuff. That, combined with your suggestions is the way togo for us.

    • says

      Just out of curiosity, how old is your child? That’s great that you use natural sunscreen already, and the supplements will still be helpful, even if you are minimizing sun exposure :-)

      • Kay says

        Sorry, I didn’t reply sooner- just saw your post. She has had 2 basal cell carcinomas that were found at 18 years of age. She is now 20. It was very  frightening as basal cells are uncommon amongst younger people. She is very blonde, light eyed and fair. 
        We tested her vitamin D levels after the skin cancer was found and her level was 19 (i’m not sure how its configured) She now takes 4,000 i.u. a day and her levels are in the 60’s.
        Its difficult to keep a college kid who’s away from home, eating healthy, but she’s very open to it and uses coconut oil as a daily moisturizer as well.
        I love your posts. You are so helpful. Keep it up!!

        • Preniah says

          Hi…I’m a medical doctor…and your description of or daughter nrought a lightbulb on….was any other diagnosis made for her…like a genetic disorder. There is a genetic disorder linked to people who are very light skinned, it is called xeroderma pigmentosum?
          Xeroderma pigmentosum, which is commonly known as XP, is an inherited condition characterized by an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight. This condition mostly affects the eyes and areas of skin exposed to the sun. Some affected individuals also have problems involving the nervous system.
          The signs of xeroderma pigmentosum usually appear in infancy or early childhood. Many affected children develop a severe sunburn after spending just a few minutes in the sun. The sunburn causes redness and blistering that can last for weeks. Other affected children do not get sunburned with minimal sun exposure, but instead tan normally. By age 2, almost all children with xeroderma pigmentosum develop freckling of the skin in sun-exposed areas (such as the face, arms, and lips); this type of freckling rarely occurs in young children without the disorder. In affected individuals, exposure to sunlight often causes dry skin (xeroderma) and changes in skin coloring (pigmentation). This combination of features gives the condition its name, xeroderma pigmentosum.
          People with xeroderma pigmentosum have a greatly increased risk of developing skin cancer. Without sun protection, about half of children with this condition develop their first skin cancer by age 10. Most people with xeroderma pigmentosum develop multiple skin cancers during their lifetime. These cancers occur most often on the face, lips, and eyelids. Cancer can also develop on the scalp, in the eyes, and on the tip of the tongue. Studies suggest that people with xeroderma pigmentosum may also have an increased risk of other types of cancer, including brain tumors. Additionally, affected individuals who smoke cigarettes have a significantly increased risk of lung cancer.
          If she is already diagnosed..it may be something you may want to look into. It is an autosomal recessive disorder…meaning that someone has to get a gene from each present…which mean that both parents are carriers.
          I wish you and your family the best, and God’s healing.

  6. Emily says

    Thank you for this post- I am also very fair skinned and I have never been able to tan once in my life. Do you suggest any specific brand for the Vitamin D and C supplements? 

  7. Christina Disser says

    Absolutely wonderful article.  Each summer I lean more and more towards putting no sunscreen on my kids.  I’ve slowly gone the route of only applying it during the most intense parts of the day.  Luckily two of my 3 children have that great olive skin that doesn’t burn.  My oldest is fair like myself so he is more likely to burn.  I would like to try these supplements for improving their sun tolerance as well as mine.  What dosage of everything do you recommend for children (mine are 6, 8 and 9)?  We are on the right track as my husband and I eat Paleo and the kids eat very clean.  I appreciate all your insight!!

    • says

      My kids get 1000 IU a day of Vitamin D, 1-2,000 mg of vitamin c, the coconut oil in a smoothie, 1/2 tsp of fermented cod liver oil, and I give them herbal teas to drink. With a good diet, the kids shouldn’t need the extra antioxidants.

      • Chriz Llarenas says

        thanks..great ,i have my daughter at 12 a menopausal kid….she needs this thanks ;) very muchy :) happy new year @ Wellness Mama <3 it….

  8. James Randolph says

    Really interesting article – fits in with the fact that people in the Mediterranean (despite much more sun exposure and far less use of sunscreen) have much lower skin cancer rates than people in the US, UK and Australia (
    Only around three in every 100,000 people living in Mediterranean countries develop malignant melanoma, compared with up to 22 per 100,000 in Scandinavia and 50 per 100,000 in Australia – source: 
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/3183834/Mediterranean-diet-halves-risk-of-skin-cancer.html )

    Diet just has to be a significant factor.

  9. Amy Fink says

    I’ve noticed the same thing; I’ve always been an SPF-100+ kind of girl, but I haven’t had a serious sunburn since I went Real Food.  Maybe a little pinkness, but that’s it.  It’s awesome – I don’t mind the actual burn so much, but I hate peeling afterwards!

    I’d guess that replacing vegetable oils with good fats has helped me the most, since that’s the change I’ve been most consistent about.  So for those who might want to focus on one thing for simplicity, swapping your fats might make a big difference.

  10. says

    I personally think that the reason for low levels of Vitamin D should be investigated in more depth as I’ve read a lot about illness causing the levels to be low, rather than the levels being low causing illness.  Ignoring that, I certainly support anything that involves not covering yourself in chemicals!  However is it conclusive that your skin is not getting damaged because it’s not getting burnt?  …

    • Ted Hutchinson says

      I agree that the year on year decline in average Vitamin D status is a matter of concern that should not be ignored. 
      There are several aspects to the problem.

       Atmospheric pollution is a major factor in urban environments and maybe also in some rural situations where intensive agricultural chemical use may create ground level ozone. Low level ozone blocks UVB from skin so reduces vitamin D potential for humans downwind (it’s also reduces crop yield)

      Several prescription medicines contribute to vit d deficiency. Corticosteroids are the may type in common usage (particularly kids with asthma) but we should be aware that cortisol is a corticosteroid so everyone with raised cortisol levels (and that means every under stress) will be losing vitamin d3. 

      I think we also should be aware magnesium is involved in our ability to  use vitamin d effectively and many of us aren’t getting the current low RDA for magnesium. Dr Cannell of the Vitamin D Council explains in more detail here. 
      http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-cofactors/magnesium/

      Another aspect people forget is that while UVB creates Vitamin D3 in the skin by it’s action on 7 dehydrocholestrol molecule, UVA which is also present in sunlight actually processes the newly made vitamin D into suprasterols the body doesn’t use. It’s a safety mechanism that stops us making, absorbing toxic amounts of vitamin D. It’s impossible to get too much vitamin d from sunlight alone. However if you only expose face/hands to sunlight these are the same areas of skin that are always exposed so vitamin d  made near the surface of skin at midday when UVB is highest inevitably gets degraded to suprasterols later in the day. Ideally people would expose skin at midday that is normally covered so after the midday sun exposure the clothing would be put back on to cover and protect the newly made vit d from degradation by UVA and allow time for it to be absorbed into the body. 

      Mentioning the 7 dehydrocholesterol molecule reminds me another cause of lower vitamin d levels is the increasing use of CHOLESTEROL LOWERING spreads/statins and general cholesterol paranoia. if you are lowering cholesterol you inevitably are also lowering the ability to produce the vit d precursor molecule 7 dehyroCHOLESTEROL. It’s in the same family so in the same metabolic pathway. You can’t lower one without lowering the other.  Cholesterol levels in the skin naturally decline as we age so our ability to make vitamin d gets less as we age. So people lowering cholesterol are prematurely ageing their skin and lowering their ability to make vitamin D3.

    • Jen says

      It is not conclusive that your skin is not getting damaged becuase its not getting burnt…. you still need to find a way to protect yourself against the sun. Read my previous post “I am an avid reader of your blog and i love most of your articles but I do believe you have something wrong here and for everyones safety I wanted to correct that. You are absolutely right that a sunburn is really inflammation. But you are wrong in thinking that avoiding sunburns by reducing inflammation can reduce the risk of skin cancer. Exposure to UV Rays crosslinks DNA such as the DNA found in the cells of the epidermis. Crosslinked DNA is very bad, and when the cell divides the DNA often winds up with mutations in the area of the crosslinking (I could go into more detail, but for the most part I will use laymans terms). A healthy cell has ways of detecting these mutations and once they are detected the cell starts the apoptosis pathway (commiting suicide for the greater good of the host). This apoptosis is what is causing the inflammation. Your body is being called to the site of the damage to remove these cells with mutated DNA. If their is no inflammation, or if the immune system misses even just a few of these cells the cells would live on to gather even more mutations overtime. Eventually, the very pathway that would lead to apoptosis of the cell becomes broke, and you essentially have a cell that replicates out of control and can’t die, ie cancer. Interestingly, a “tan” is your bodies way of protecting itself against UV radiation becuase the melanin that is being produced blocks UV rays. It’s true that many of the chemicals in sunscreen are toxic and should be avoided !! But its false that reducing inflammation will protect you. Extended exposure to the sun WILL increase your risk of skin cancer. The best way so far that I know of to protect your skin against skin cancer is to simply wear long sleeved shirts and pants… not ideal. I don’t think that there is an ideal method of protection right now, but I have not looked into a lot of the natural sun screens yet (I just into the all natural thing about a month ago and since it isn’t summer yet I havent thought about sunscreen until now). Anyway, thats my science lesson of the day!”

  11. Ali says

    I have a question about the Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend:

    These are very expensive to order and I am especially sensitive to the sun, because of medications, would it be worth it for me and also would I have to take them every single day or just days that I’m going to be exposed to the sun more so than usual? We buy the sunscreen right now that has no toxins, but it’s not cutting it completely and it’s miserable putting it on every day (multiple times) as well as having to wear a bunch of extra clothing in the heat. It beats the bumps and sun burn that I get without it.

  12. Lamont says

    Wellness Mama….THANK YOU for posting this! I have a quick question. You say to avoid vegetable oil but to eat a lot of healthy fats. Can you specify? For example, I avoid canola/peanut oil, and opt for cooking with grapeseed, olive or coconut oil. Would those three types of oils fall under the category of vegetable oil or healthy fats? 

    • says

      Healthy fats specifically would be good saturated fats like coconut oil, real butter, grass-fed meats, fish, etc. Also, things like olive oil in moderation, but they don’t have the same protective benefit. The fermented cod liver oil/butter blend has probably the most effect though. Also, I’d personally not cook in olive oil, since it oxidizes quickly when heated, but is is wonderful for salad dressings or cool dishes…

      • Cecile says

        I was just gonna say, don’t heat olive oil but use it cool, in salads and such. Coconut oil is a safe high heating oil as is avocado oil.

  13. shelly says

    i have to say thanks! Ive been burned 4 times already this year from running on my long runs and I dont eat processed foods and sugar and hardly any grains. HOwever Im not regular on taking my FCLO so will try to make it regular!

  14. Jennifer says

    I’m redheaded and recently moved to the desert.  I quickly noticed that I only had to ever wear sunscreen when we were at the beach, being out in the desert sun never burned my skin anymore.  It was strange but I was very happy.  I asked doctors about it here and there and they had no answer for it.  I don’t think they even believed me.  I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant 4 years ago and so have been eating gluten free for 4 years now.  I was wondering if that actually had anything to do with it and it seems that it does.  Cool!

  15. erin says

    I do everything but the vitamin C (can’t take it b/c I have iron overload) and the 
    Astaxanthin (never heard of it until now).  I still need sunscreen thought.  I’m very skeptical that it would be possible to get away without any sunscreen at all unless you didn’t spend long periods of time in the sun.  We go to the beach all the time.

  16. says

    Yes I eat my sunscreen!  I do not use sunscreen lotion but I take 2000 mg Vitamin C with bioflavonoids before I go out and another 100o mg every hour or hour 1/2 while I am out in the sun and it keeps me from burning.

  17. Gloria says

    Great post. Two supplements that have helped us are MSM (the good form of sulfur) and a broad spectrum liquid mineral supplement, plus drinking enough water. One day we were out on the ocean in a kayak for 3-4 hours, had our water (with MSM and minerals in it), and came home without any burn. — I found that my children did not burn when I was breastfeeding them. Then I found out that breastmilk is high in MSM. Plus, I was taking a good mineral supplement then, too. Those things putt the idea of “eating my sunscreen” into my head. Your post gave me some more “food for thought.” Thank you.

  18. Natalie says

    Where do you buy your vitamins? I know they are extremely important, but I’m really struggling to afford it all…how do you do it?

  19. Charlotte H. says

    Fantastic and very interesting. I noticed when my husband and I switched from a highly processed diet to a diet very high in whole foods (basically we started home-cooking all of our food) that I recovered from general burns much faster than I used to. For example, before my diet change, I was burned by my hair straightener so much that it caused a blister. After my diet change, I once accidentally put my thumb directly on my hot hair straightener (stupid hair straighteners!). When I pulled my thumb away, I was scared of the burn I would get considering the direct contact. To my utter surprise, I had no mark at all. I have since moved to Australia where sun burns and skin cancer are a serious problem. I have to wear sunscreen EVERY DAY during the summer, but on occasion I forget to put sunscreen on my part (my hairline part) then go on a long walk. I find I don’t suffer the same pain as I used to if I forgot to put sunscreen on.  Now that I mostly eat whole foods and a negligible amount of junk food, not only do I get sick less often and for a shorter amount of time, but yes I notice I don’t suffer from burns nearly as often as I used to. I’m glad to see an article dedicated to informing people of this phenomenon. :D

  20. Kathy says

    Thank you for such wonderful information. I am wondering about the Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend  . My kiddos and I have a milk allergy so I don’t think we would be able to take it. Is there anything else we could use instead? I’m assuming just omega 3s isn’t enough.

  21. Denise says

    Just happened to see this before our vacation in the Florida Keys. I’ve been eating Paleo for about 9 months and happened to be taking all the supplements you described…except for astaxanthin (never heard of it). I have always burned easily, but decided to go without sunscreen and see how I would do. Amazing! After five days of boating and swimming I have not sunburned at all. Thanks for getting this info out there :)

  22. Cathy says

    I added the Butter Oil/FCLO capsules to my diet right after reading this the first time, as well as coconut oil some days (when I remember).  My husband commented the other night about how tan I’m getting and someone at church yesterday said I looked like I’ve gotten some sun.  This about the pale girl who usually burns then turns very reddish tan a bit and freckles.  So this must be working!  I also ordered the astaxanthin and am waiting for it’s arrival.

  23. Ted Hutchinson says

    Readers who like this post may also enjoy HealthyFellow’s posting and the comments that follow it at Natural Sunscreen Options here
     http://www.healthyfellow.com/870/natural-sunscreen-options/
    Drinking GREEN TEA may be a good idea as well as understanding the cancer initiating damage to DNA  following sunburn is primarily caused by IRON escaping from our blood. Reducing iron overload (by regularly donating blood) may help prevent damage. as may increasing our natural iron chelation capacity by improving melatonin secretion, or by using raw milk, as pasteurization and homogenizing milk reduces it’s Lactorferrin content. Both lactoferrin and melatonin bond with iron to prevent it behaving badly. 

  24. Karmann says

    I have a 3 year old and could easily get the tomato paste and vitamin C into her diet, but do you have any suggestions for the coconut oil? I’ve done smoothies, but if you have other ideas, I’d really appreciate it!

    • says

      One of my kids favorite is to drink “coffee” with us each morning, except that their coffee is 1 cup of herbal tea (I use Red Raspberry Leaf- still warm) blended in a blender or food processor with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. It makes a frothy drink that looks like coffee but it completely healthy. You can also add a tiny pinch of stevia leaf or brew it into the tea for some sweetness.

  25. says

    I hardly ever wear sunscreen anymore, havent for the past 3 years, never burnt, always got a nice tan, and Im really pale!

    I also try to eat primal/paleo and get my suplements in all year round! I was even in miami last summer in scorching 30C heat, and did not get burnt, while everyone else was red as a lobster, and they wore sunscreen! hahaha

  26. Kara Maynard says

    I love that my kids will just munch fish oil tabs :) Funny how when you introduce things early, it’s no big deal! Need to try cutting grains completely..it’s the hard one for us. Wish I had gone GF before the babes were born, would have made it alot easier than trying to get them to give up bread now ;)

  27. Charlotte says

     I started following Weston Price and Nourishing Traditions type eating habits 2 years ago, and didn’t have any sunburns those summers. That was SO unusual for me, as a very pale Irish girl! I burned despite slathering on tons of chemical-ridden sunscreen every year until then. I kept wondering what changed, and you’ve solved the mystery! I never even thought diet could protect me this much. Thanks for this info — it makes me so relieved to know that my young kids will grow up without all the burns I had every year. 

  28. Daria says

    When taking the supplements, do you have to space them out thru the day or can they be taken at the same time? 
    Also, I use coconut oil on my skin every day.  Would that be enough or do I have to ingest it?

    • says

      It works best if you ingest it too since it works as an internal protector. I take the supplements at the same time, except the vitamin C, which I take at a different time than the magnesium..

  29. Nicole says

    Do you have any suggestions on a good natural sunscreen that you can buy just for the times that I might need sunscreen?  I am slowly working up to be able to buy all the supplements and such but we still tend to get a little red when out in the sun.  I have been on the EWG’s website, but still some of the natural things out there have toxins in them and are hard to find.  Also, I know that you do have your sunscreen recipe on here and I might try it — I am a sucker for the coconut smell — is there a way to get that smell naturally — I love it for sunscreen, lotion, soap, etc.  Most natural soaps and such though don’t have a coconut smell to them and I miss that smell — any suggestions?  Would a coconut extract oil type work?  Thanks for everything.

  30. Tonja Field says

    Not sure if you follow Balanced Bites at all, but I asked her about takin Vitamin D WITH the FLCO/BO blend and she says it isn’t necessary. 1 tsp alone of it can have up to 5000IU of Vit D – wasn’t sure if you were aware of that. Anyway, I had been taking Vit D (4000 IU) for awhile and felt GREAT and she suggested I stop when I start the FLCO/BO blend and see how I felt before adding more in – just do I don’t over-do it. Just passing on the info I was told! Thanks for this post. I’ve been telling everyone! I usually burn before I tan and although I still get a little pink after a few hours in the sun, not nearly as much or as bad! Yay! 

  31. Kletsgo says

    This is great!! I’m Scotch-Irish but moreso than that I’m Norwegian, so going out in the sun is normally a death sentence. I can’t wait to start this!!

  32. Bek says

    WOW the CLO you referenced is CRAZY expensive! Is that the only kind of fermented stuff out there? I usually get this kind of thing on vitacost and they only have regular CLO and  no blends. How important is it to get that kind? I do all the other things on the list but I am not sure it is worth $75/bottle for FCLOblend…Thank you for the helpful post, though!

  33. Mona says

    1/4 cup of coconut oil is 48g of saturated fat.  That’s a lot of saturated fat for the day, especially if you’re eating it every day.  How do you avoid having high cholesterol?

  34. shannon says

    I think this advice is all well and good, but I’m leery of your referring to the increased cases of skin cancer which coincide with the decreased time outside. This is definitely true, but I have no confidence at all that this is because we used to take supplements and now we don’t.

    While I do believe that your nutritional advice is sound and healthful, you didn’t connect the dots enough for my own sense of relief. As a fellow fair skinned friend I just can’t take the chance of repeat offenses on my body by eliminating what I do know to work for a bunch of pills (supplements are still pills and without extensive knowledge or guidance from an herbalist can be just as risky as anything from pfizer).

    Still, I am curious what other options are available for we Snow Whites out there. Until I get some more solid information, however, I’m just going to keep checking EWG’s sunscreen guide and buying my purple prairie. I hope to read more about this as time keeps on tickin tickin tickin into the future.

  35. EJ says

    Will an unfermented Omega-3 fish oil that lists anchovy and sardine as the fish source be effective in place of the fermeted cod liver oil? Specifically I have Schiff brand Omega-3 Fish Oil.

  36. Lola says

    The idea that sunscreen puts a person at higher risk or developing cancer is complete lunacy.   None of your links provided any evidence based research to support such a claim.  If anything the rise is cancer is due to increased cancer screening in recent years.  Please try a litter harder to substantiate your claim next time with some actual proven scientific research.  

  37. Lisa says

    I just came across your blog, and give it a 1000 thumbs up! Awesome job! This article on sun protection is great, and I can’t wait to try your sunscreen bars! I take Astaxanthin daily, as well as coconut oil and they are both wonderful. Haven’t tried the coconut oil in tea yet though – that will be my treat today! I did have a few comments, as I have been studying natural health since I was 13, which is about 37 years now, and one of the most important things I have learned in the past few years is how much isolated nutrients can be as harmful as they are helpful. For instance, almost every vitamin C supplement on the market is ascorbic acid. Well, ascorbic acid is actually just the antioxidant that surrounds the whole vitamin c complex to prevent degradation. Yet our supplement industry in it’s infinite wisdom allows it be called vitamin C. So my point is to get your C and D from whole food sources. For C, I take “C From Nature” from Purium Health products. And for D, the best source I have found is sunflower seeds, and mushrooms. A variety of mushrooms is best, and Shiitakes are my favorite! You can get them frozen now at Whole Foods at a good price.

  38. Stephanie Larivee says

    I’ve seen you recommend ingesting 1/4C to 1/2C of coconut oil per day, so I’m curious if you consume other sources of fats like avocados or nuts and if 1/4C per day is something you built up to or if you recommend people just start with 1/4C per day and if I’m looking to lose weight, is 1/4C per day a good amount to take? I’ve never subscribed to the low-fat dogma, but 1/4C (or 1/2C!) a day seems like a lot!

    • says

      I worked up to it by starting with a tablespoon a day in hot coffee or tea. Coconut oil has a metabolism boosting effect, so it will help weight loss, but you’ll have to see what works best for your body. I do best in the 1/4-1/2 cup range, but some people will need more or less…

  39. alyssa says

    Last summer my boyfriend told me about internal sunscreen, and taking his advice I never had a single sunburn for the rest of the summer! Just a nice sexy tan.

  40. Sarah says

    Great post! Once I made edible play dough for my preschooler and he recently asked if I would make edible sunscreen. Now I know how. ;)

    • Merra says

      For a vegan alternative to Omega-3, try finding ALGEA based products. I use one called Opti3 (which also includes Vitamin D), it’s not ideal for me (the optimal ratio between DHA and EPA varies depending on which issues the body have to deal with most – for me it’s depression, and I should ideally get more EPA than DHA, but for eye problems e.g. more DHA is better), but it’s the only brand my local health food store carries and so far I haven’t been able to find a better one online.

      I don’t know what the benefits of fermention in cod liver oil is, but fish actually get their omega 3s from algea too, mostly via eating krill that eat algea (and so on up the food chain). The oils present in a slightly different form in algea and krill than in fish, one which is better absorbed by the human body, so if you see advertisment that krill oil is better than fish oil that is the reason why – BUT the same benefit can be gotten from algea oil, AND without causing OVERFISHING and deplation of the seas (algea is farmed, not harvested from the seas unlike other forms of Omega3 oils).

      As for high rates of skin cancer in Scandinavians, I would say it has to do with our seasonal exposure. Very little sun in the winter, except periods when there’s lots of snow that reflects the sun (it’s actually the easiest way to get sunburned, being out in the snow a sunny day with all that reflexion) and lots and lots of sun in the summer and most people just throw all their clothes off in an effort to enjoy it while it lasts, so the body gets a shock going from close to no sun to full-on sun, especially if being close to water (which also reflects the sun). It would probably be better for the body to gradually get used to handling sun over a couple of weeks – may be relevant for people otherwhere with indoor jobs as well.

      The article and comments have given me some good ideas, but science is still out on a lot of issues regarding sun exposure, and just because there is a corralation between increased known skin cancer cases and sunscreen use, there is not necessarily a causation (i.e. one doesn’t necessarily cause the other just because they corralate)

  41. Lisa Cook says

    On a related note (inflammation), I’ve been researching some anti-inflammatory habits. My baby wears a Baltic Amber teething necklace, which is said to reduce inflammation and pain by releasing succinic acid when warm against the skin. I found a place that sells them in adult sizes too. Have you heard of anyone using these for anti-inflammatory purposes, as an adult?

  42. Cortny says

    Can you help me understand exactly what is in the Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Oil butter blend you use? I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want my kids and I to start taking it and be able to ditch the sunscreen, but I really can’t do $70 for 120 capsules on amazon. :( Are there some other types of things I could combine to get the same or at least similar effect? Thank you so much! Your website has been a life-changer for us!

    • says

      They very occasionally have huge sales and I try to post those if I see them, but they really are the best out there. One alternative would be just taking the FCLO by itself and consuming a lot of grassed butter and coconut oil to get the fats in balance… the FCLO plain is at least cheaper than the blend. There are some other regular cod livers oils that are ok, but I still don’t know that I’d take/recommend them…

      • Cortny says

        Thanks for your reply. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a sale! Now, to convince the hubby it’s way worth the cost….. ;)

  43. Kelly Killeen says

    I never really burned growing up even though I am Irish. I was on swim team every year and played outside every day until dark. It wasn’t until I got into high school and moved in with my aunt, that I started burning. We ate a lot of fast food and drank a lot of soda. Now that I have my own family and we try to eat healthier (mostly organic, and minimally processed) I really don’t burn like I used to. Thanks for helping me make that connection!

  44. Emily says

    Kroger is now carrying astaxanthin! Nature made makes it now! :) I don’t know if you already knew that or if you bought from amazon for a reason.

  45. Chloe says

    I have a problem with my skin right now and I need some guidance. About a month ago I went to Florida and got so burned I didn’t go back out in the sun after day two. I worse sunscreen. I have dark olive skin and I never burn let alone stay red. I returned to Kentucky and stayed out of the sun because it was cold. I am spending more time in the sun and my skin just keeps getting red. It’s not itchy, no bumps, just red. I went to the dermatologist and she said it looked like an allergy but to what she didn’t know. It’s on my legs, arms and a little on my face. She said it seems like my blood vessels are honked off about something. It’s driving me crazy. There’s no pain or irritation but just redness. My skin always absorbs the sun so I am so confused as to what it is. Summer is approaching and I am very outdoorsy as I spend most of my days in the river with a kayak and hiking. I follow a diet rich in veggies, protein and some fruits. I rarely eat wheat or sugar. I take fish oil, vitamin C, beta-carotene and niacin. any advice? I really appreciate it!

  46. Kenyon says

    Can you explain the purpose of eating tomato paste daily for sun protection? My daughter has fructose malabsorption and can’t eat tomato paste (or sauce). If I can find out the purpose of tomato paste, perhaps I can find a low-fructose whole food substitute. Thanks!

  47. says

    That is totally awesome!!!! I too am descended from Scots and Norweigians…Latin for I also burn if I get more than about half an hour of sun!!! This article is just what I was looking for! Thanks a ton!!!

  48. natalie says

    Any suggestions for those of us who can’t afford the cod/butter blend? Any substitutions? I’m on a very tight budget but really want to be sun-safe! My little boys and myself are very fair!!!

    • Maria says

      Natalie,
      I read somewhere that you can take grassfed chicken liver if you can’t get your hands on FCLO. I also used to think it was expensive, but I don’t buy vitamin D or A since it is in the oil now, which saves me money. Plus you can start adding liver just freeze it and shave it into your meals. It has to be grassfed. I believe I read it in the WAPF website. Weston A. Price Foundation. They have an article on Vitamin D. I have noticed a huge difference so I make the sacrifice for my whole family of 7. They get 2 gels per day AT least.

  49. Marie says

    I rarely use sunscreen. I burn easily, so I go out and “use my sunshine” sparingly. I have pink undertones and I am white as snow. I plan on following these guidelines, though. I’ll do anything for a healthy tan. Or at least, match this farmer’s tan I have going on.. blehck!

  50. brian krista says

    How do I give the fermented cod liver/butter oil to my 2 year old? I’ve bought the capsules you suggested for myself, but they are much to big for him to take. I tried squeezing it out for him, but he hated the taste & it is wasting the oil because I can’t get it all out! Suggestions?

    • says

      They also have a gel version. For my kids, I keep in the fridge to make it harder and then scoop some on a spoon, drizzle or dip in to honey and then give to them…

  51. Carmen Lock says

    How do you take the magnesium? When do you take the magnesium? At breakfast, lunch or dinner? I will really appreciate your prompt response…… I love your blog!!!!

  52. Salem says

    I am of the same decent (VERY fair- always have had to wear the lightest foundation available) & my husband & kids are fair skinned as well. I actually discovered the internal sunscreen benefits of FCLO/HVBO on accident this year. We went to the zoo several weeks ago (just when it had gotten warm & really sunny) & we were there in the middle of the day for 6+ hours (most of it in the sun). We are at a high altitude, so I have burned in the winter before. Since my kids are better at taking their FCLO/HVBO blend than I am, I did get a tiny pink, but they were just a little more tan (NO BURN AT ALL for them). Usually, it would take me about 20 minutes to get as pink as I did, but instead it took 6 hours. I was so amazed. I am now better at taking my FCLO/HVBO. It helps my baby too, since she is breastfeeding. But, we try to keep a hat on her (& keep her in the shade) when we are out for very long, since I don’t think she needs as much sun anyway. This is a great post! Thanks for writing it. :-)

  53. Danielle Kid says

    I am confused..I recently read a book called Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs, which is truly inspirational and life-saving. He went to several doctors and recommends a shot-glass-ful of sunscreen every 2-4 hours, but you say otherwise. Which way do I veer towards?

    • Ted Hutchinson says

      I think we should remember that humans evolved initially without clothing and those with the palest skins (highest potential for making Vitamin D) had an evolutionary advantage for living further from the Equator, while those with the most natural sunscreen (darkest skin colour) had the advantage when it comes to living nearer the Equator.

      Obviously if living outdoors naked led to early death (from skin cancer) those early humans would not have survived the evolutionary process.

      So there must have been something different about their skin texture or diet that provided them with a natural protection against being damaged from UV radiation. That is why I suggest people pay careful attention to what Wellnessmama has suggested and why I find that my skin now doesn’t burn when I lay naked in the midday sun. It will take several weeks (12~20) to restore the natural potential for photo-protection that comes from improving your natural anti-inflammatory status. but it can be done. But you must never allow your skin to burn nor should you let anyone in your company remain unaware if their skin is turning pink. There is absolutely no need (as far as vitamin D production is concerned) to allow skin to become inflamed.

      Bear in mind that I live in the UK where hot sunlight is in short supply. Living in hotter countries may put greater pressure on your skins anti-inflammatory reserves but I’ve not used sunscreen for years since raising my omega 3 and vitamin D status while eliminating omega 6 vegetable/seed oils from my diet.

      • Laurie says

        Evolution doesn’t need us to live a long life: only long enough to reproduce and (maybe) raise our children to reproductive age themselves. If you died from melanoma at age 30 with teenage kids, that’s still evolutionary success.

        • Ted Hutchinson says

          Your point is valid but in practice people who spend more time indoors have more melanoma than people who spend time in the sun.
          Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the U.S. Navy.
          People living as/where human DNA evolved have 25(OH)D levels around 50ng/ml and these levels naturally rise with age and pregnancy. At that level human milk is vitamin d replete and Vitamin d is most effective as an anti-inflammatory agent.
          It is generally the case that people with higher 25(OH)D levels live longer and spend less time in hospital.
          If your skin has become maladapted to it’s natural environment so it burns quickly when exposed to UVB then you need to change your diet. Remove pro-inflammatory foods like omega 6 rich vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates and sugars.

  54. Dan Spalding says

    I’m looking at doing the mixture of coconut oil, butter, and fish oil because we really can’t afford the other. I’m wondering if we still need to do the VItamin D and then what exactly my kids need to take and amounts. They are 2 and 5.

  55. Melissa R. West says

    Wow! Lots of info! I’ve always believed in nutrition over sunscreen. I just use a multi-vitamin and eat healthy. I also have very fair skin. I did check out some of those supplements you suggested and there is no way I could afford them. I was shocked at the price of the one you said was the most important. Wow, $70 for 120 capsules! Love your whole site though. :)

  56. LIsa Wilson says

    I am extremely fair skinned, and taking 50-100,000 IU beta carotene daily

    keeps me from getting burned. It only took 25,000 IU for my 10 yo son to get from burning easily to being able to be outside for a couple of hours safely without burning.

  57. Heather Doherty Musto says

    I’m so glad to have read your article! On my last physical, the blood test came back as having a Vitamin D deficiency. Which I thought as odd because skin cancer runs in my family, I’ve had a basal cell carcinoma removed when I was 22, and lived in FL so I would have thought I was getting too much Vit D! Thank you so much for the dietary tips!

  58. Kris says

    Posting a second time. Sorry I’m new to this so if you get the same message from me twice you’ll know why! Question- How long does it take for the supplements mentioned above for sun protection to “kick in?”

  59. disca says

    A friendly warning to men: Astaxanthin possibly hinders 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. This can have a detrimental effect on libido, cause erectile dysfunction, and contribute to hypogonadism. I, personally, would not risk it, especially if you are worried about low testosterone levels and other hormonal side effects.

  60. LIz May says

    This year we bought an above-ground pool and I have enjoyed it nearly every afternoon in this Texas heat! Good exercise, too. I have been on a regimen this past year of coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil in the winter months and skate oil in the spring and summer – both capsules with added high vitamin butter oil. I do have somewhat olive skin and I usually tan…eventually… in the summer, but I have not had a tan in many years as I work downtown in a high-rise building.

    The pool has changed that no-sun regimen, of course! My tan, even for me, has been extraordinary this summer. I have gotten so many compliments on how pretty my skin is this summer and how glowing my tan is and what is my “trick”.

    I truly believe the additions of FMCLO and coconut oil to my diet has made a difference in my skin. I did get a slight burn earlier in the summer on my shoulders but even that was mild and never peeled. I do use a little zinc oxide on my face occasionally if I am going to be outside all day, but other than that, I have been fine without sunscreen. (I can hear my doctor’s admonishments now). Luckily for me, I have never had a problem with skin cancer, so the sun is not my enemy.

  61. Sheila Hunt says

    Thank you for this information. I thought it was so important i shared your link to your article on my FB page SheShes Gluten Free. I’m still learning about all that i can do to take care of myself and apprceiate your information.

  62. Jana says

    This is great but what if I take 1 of these am I protected, I take 5000 mcg of the B-12 sublingual liquid. will this be enough?

  63. CT says

    I wanted to let you know that this worked for me! I’ve had a hard history of skin cancer – several tumors removed, including on my eyelids, several rounds of chemo in the form of lotion….so of course I followed the doctor’s recommendations and slathered on the sunscreen, only to continue to have tumors crop up and then to be vit D deficient to boot! Last May I made the switch as per your recommendation, though certainly wasn’t religious about the astaxanthin and didn’t supplement at all with Vit C, and I slowly increased my exposure to the sun without sunscreen. Didn’t burn once. I really pushed it last weekend when I spent two hours on a boat, laid in the sun, then hiked a couple hours. In the past I would have crisped, possibly blistered, from that much sun exposure. I didn’t even get pink. I am truly amazed. Thank you.

  64. Jennifer Navolis says

    I heard of using Citric Acid mixed with water in a glass spray bottle for sunscreen. It was in the Book “Super Natural Home” . Only lasts for a week before it needs replacing but worked even better than Burts Bees.

    • Nikki says

      Do your research! Citric acid, ascorbic acid etc are all not real if produced in the United States. Most of these chemicals come from a lab in NJ, they are produced from sugar beets or corn, they come from a mold formed in a petri dish, disgusting and in no way should be considered “vitamin C” as it claims.

  65. atala says

    wellnessmama, thank you for your wonderful blog. i have a specific query to which i hope you don’t mind offering your advice. like you, i am fair-skinned. i come from a family of mostly olive-skinned folk. they’re all planning a trip to the caribbean next summer, & i am having such anxiety about it already! i have already had a couple of horrible burns in my life, not to mention i have only been gradually moving into the grain-free, FCLO, protective lifestyle. if i go i doubt i’ll be able to eat so well as i do stateside. i definitely have the choice to stay or go..what would wellnessmama do?

  66. CeeKay says

    Just wondering, has anyone had any experience with these diets helping to prevent freckles from forming? or is this just burning? trying desperately to stop my freckles from coming (have a lot) and hate the fact of staying out of the sun completely. any answers or feedback on people who have experienced this??? Thanks :) ps. hope this worked. im new to this site!

  67. Hug says

    I do eat and cook healthy and do not use conventional toxic sunscreen. However, I live in Australia and the sun really burns here like now where else I’ve been. The first time we went to the beach this year I applied organic Wheatgerm oil that is supposed to be 20SPF. Both me and my husband burnt badly. My husband is dark skinned and he said he has never burnt before. Since then I am afraid to go on the Sun even though I love the beach and swimming, but the pain that I felt from the burn for two weeks keeps me under the shade. Here in Australia they say you have to use factor SPF 30 and above because the sun is really strong. What can I do to enjoy the sun again because eating healthy diet and appliying natural sunscreens do not help here.

  68. Jen says

    I am an avid reader of your blog and i love most of your articles but I do believe you have something wrong here and for everyones safety I wanted to correct that. You are absolutely right that a sunburn is really inflammation. But you are wrong in thinking that avoiding sunburns by reducing inflammation can reduce the risk of skin cancer. Exposure to UV Rays crosslinks DNA such as the DNA found in the cells of the epidermis. Crosslinked DNA is very bad, and when the cell divides the DNA often winds up with mutations in the area of the crosslinking (I could go into more detail, but for the most part I will use laymans terms). A healthy cell has ways of detecting these mutations and once they are detected the cell starts the apoptosis pathway (commiting suicide for the greater good of the host). This apoptosis is what is causing the inflammation. Your body is being called to the site of the damage to remove these cells with mutated DNA. If their is no inflammation, or if the immune system misses even just a few of these cells the cells would live on to gather even more mutations overtime. Eventually, the very pathway that would lead to apoptosis of the cell becomes broke, and you essentially have a cell that replicates out of control and can’t die, ie cancer. Interestingly, a “tan” is your bodies way of protecting itself against UV radiation becuase the melanin that is being produced blocks UV rays. It’s true that many of the chemicals in sunscreen are toxic and should be avoided !! But its false that reducing inflammation will protect you. Extended exposure to the sun WILL increase your risk of skin cancer. The best way so far that I know of to protect your skin against skin cancer is to simply wear long sleeved shirts and pants… not ideal. I don’t think that there is an ideal method of protection right now, but I have not looked into a lot of the natural sun screens yet (I just into the all natural thing about a month ago and since it isn’t summer yet I havent thought about sunscreen until now). Anyway, thats my science lesson of the day!

  69. Gwen lily says

    While I agree with you that sunscreens contain many unwanted and harmful ingredients I would not rule them out completely. It is important to use a sunscreen that does not contain retinyl palmate or vitamin A palmitate as they are harmful when exposed to the sun. Also, limited but not prolonged exposure to the sun daily (without sunscreen) is extremely important.
    I would also like to point out that just because your skin isn’t red (sunburn) it doesn’t mean it is unharmed by the exposure to the sun.

    Your suggested diet for sun protection is excellent not only for this purpose but also for a generally healthy living. However I completely disagree with your suggestion for supplements. A healthy person with a well balanced diet should not need to take extra vitamins and certainly not in these amounts. Besides the fact that your body can’t absorb all that vitamin C, it might be actually harmful for you in doses higher than 500 mg. Vitamin C is an antioxidant in certain quantities but can become a prooxidant in excessive quantities.
    While most people will probably not be harmed by these amounts it is important to point out that it’s extremely dangerous for people with iron overload disorders and can lead to iron poisoning (people with these disorders should not take vitamin C without consulting a doctor).

    The vitamin D doses you take are quite high and cod liver oil is also a great source of vitamin D BUT it also has a high dosage of vitamin A which according to a study negates the effects of vitamin D! (People with balanced diet should not have vitamin A deficiency.)

    Some studies suggest that coconut oil may put you at a greater risk of coronary heart disease.

    While people with vitamin deficiency should take supplements (though if the problem can be corrected with a healthy diet it is recommended), it is important not to take excessive amounts.

  70. Yokie says

    Do you have a scienctific research background or medical degree? If not, what research can you site to prove your opinions?

  71. lyndsey jackson says

    Hi, I am just wondering about the brand of Astaxanthin that you recommend. In the list of ingredients it lists natural tocopherols which, as I understand, are generally from soy. I am reading a lot of info at the moment that soy is not great for us and am wondering if this ingredient should be of concern.

  72. Laura Grace says

    Does tea with coconut oil taste good? I blend it into my coffee bulletproof style, but am really more of a tea drinker.

  73. says

    As a naturally light-skinned individual who has changed her diet drastically after eliminating processed sugars, I can definitely attest to the value of eating healthy to prevent burn and increase your skin’s tanning capability. I haven’t tried some of those supplements, though, so I would like to look into them as spring approaches! QUESTION: When you say to avoid vegetable oil, does that include olive oil or do you just mean to avoid canola oil and that sort of thing???

  74. Lauren says

    I love this information about supplements and diet to avoid sunburning (blue eyed redhead here!) but am a bit confused overall about which supplements you take, exactly how much, and when. I’ve seen a few posts about what you and your kids take but it seems to vary depending on the season. Even in the responses here I’ve seen three different replies about how much Vitamin D to give the kids, if any. We buy Green Pastures FCLO/BO blend which I know has vit. D in it, too, so not sure when I should give them more than just that. Can you help clarify for all supplements? I want to make sure my kids and I are getting the best we can to protect our skin from the sun and keep our bodies healthy, but not over do it. Already starting to “eat my sunscreen” to build it up in my system.
    Also, how do you get 2 Tbsp of tomato paste in daily? Straight? Smoothie? Favorite snack?
    Thank you so much! My husband and I love your blog. You are our “go-to” reference for all things natural living.

  75. laura says

    You said you do more cod liver oil in the summers, but the summer sun provides more natural vitamin D. Is there risk of a D overdose?

  76. says

    This is very interesting! As a melanoma survivor, I’ve slathered on the sunscreen for years. But I’m also Vit D deficient and am trying to rid my bathroom cabinet of icky chemicals. I’m working more and more into an anti-inflammatory diet, so I’m glad to hear this info. Because of my history I will probably try to find topical solutions as well (like coconut oil), but it’s good to know that there is some power from the inside too!

  77. Megan says

    How do you consume the tomato paste? Also, could I just eat tomatoes or is it something specific in the paste? Thank you!

  78. zana says

    Hi Katie, i have been undergoing laser hair removal and my doctor strictly recommends sunscreen. According to him, laser makes your skin more prone to sun damage so sunscreen is a must. What do you suggest?

  79. Crystal says

    Hi, I just found this article. I am curious to know. How does consuming tomato paste help? I am Puerto Rican, but with such a range of skin colors in my heritage, I was one of the unfortunates who got the extremely fair skin, at times I am almost milky white, but occaisionally tan to a odd brown… I look creepy when I tan. I digress.

    I was diagnosed with GERD (though I had no symptoms at the time) it doesn’t always bother me but I have to be careful how much and when I eat any tomato products…. That being said. Do you have any remedies for treating GERD?? I previously (for 4 years) took a heavy duty perscription that I recently realized may have been the cause of all of the recent health issues I supposedly have.

  80. Larry says

    I get above average sun exposure by spending a lot of time doing yard work and swimming. Last three or four years I became more sensitive to the sun. I get red bumps on my forehead and cheeks. I plan to take your advice to take Vit C and D, coconut oil and tomato paste. Do you think this will help?

  81. KT says

    I love this article! We live in Western Australia and have some of the hottest driest summers in Australia, often 45 degrees (over 104 F). I have two kids and I myself am from the UK and we don’t use sunscreen. We just don’t expose ourselves to the summer sun after 11am and before 3pm. It’s usually too hot anyway. My kids get hours of sun light on their skin before 11am and after 4pm, as we get up early and get outside and then go back out before sunset. My kids have never been sunburnt, not even almost sunburnt. We use coconut oil on our skin and for us, it works well. Now its autumn we go outside at any time of the day and if its warm we just keep a hat on. I love this article, I hope others try a sunscreen free summer!

  82. Bo says

    Good article. Just a tip (I’m still reading about this tho ;), when you take high dosage vitamine D3 it’s very important to take vitamine K2 (MK 7) with it, to keep the calcium in it’s right place. And I’m just wondering; if you take Astaxanthin, why do you still take vitamin C? Because it is so much stronger than Vitamine C..?

  83. Sarah H. says

    I just needed to thank you so much for this article. To say that it has changed my life would be a understatement.

    I have been allergic to sunshine since around 1995. If I’m outside for more than 15 minutes, I’d develop a welted type of rash that would itch, burn and looked horrible. It would last around 3 weeks and then leave scars.

    No doctor could ever give me a diagnosis. There was never a way to prevent it, except to stay out of the sun. There was no medication to make it go away. I could never go outside and enjoy the summer or any sunny day. The doctors told me it was Polymorphic Light Eruptions.

    I found your blog, I read about the Astaxanthin and thought I’d give it a try.

    I’ve been taking it for 2 weeks and I’m happy to say it works. I’ve been out in the SC summer sun in tank tops and shorts, and NO RASHES!! I cannot thank you enough. To be able to go outside and enjoy sunshine on my skin, warm breezes and not suffer afterwards is amazing.

    Thank you for doing what you do. You gave me something I can’t ever thank you enough for. You’ve changed my life……

  84. Brian Sabb says

    Hi,

    Thanks for the informative article.

    Please tell me at what age you suggest giving Astaxanthin to children. What dose would be appropriate?

    Thanks,

    Brian

  85. Katie Schlein says

    Hi There-

    Is it essential that that Cod Liver Oil is Fermented? What is the difference within the body?

    thanks!

  86. Cassie says

    What dose of these would you recommend for a 10 month old? She is still breastfed but eating a lot more now. Would I just keep taking it myself or give her some as well?

  87. Krista says

    Great article! I notice that just taking D3 has helped me to not burn as much. When we so use sunscreen we use the brand burnout kids… It is non toxic and the only organic sunscreen we have tried that doesn’t feel waxy and thick. Skin deep database is a great place to check out which sunscreens are safe! :)

  88. Maria says

    If you take the fermented cod liver oil, sometimes even double it, you also said you take Vitamin D — but wouldn’t that be way too much D? And is that an adult a child or teenager dose. My kids are 15 and up. I’m asking because I have a son who is working at a camp for kids and will be in the sun all day — all summer and also life guarding. I’m kind of worried about that. That’s why I was asking about how much D and would I double up in his FCLO+high vitamin butter oil supplement. Since I started giving him the FCLO I stopped the D supplement on him and my other kids and myself.

    I also have another question but it is about another subject – remineralizing teeth for a baby — my grand daughter. How can I ask you about that, not sure if here is ok. Thank you in advance!!

  89. Tina says

    I feel like your article is misleading, have you given anything consideration to the declining ozone and dramatically higher UVB rays landing on our skin for increasing rate of skin cancer. If the chemicals in sunscreen areto be toxic then wouldn’t that reflect on a different kind of cancer statistically?

    • Kim says

      Tina, I see your point about the chemicals in sunscreen causing other types of cancer and feel it’s valid. My thought is that the increase in skin cancer is probably due to better DETECTION and not necessarily to a higher RATE of cancer per se.

      I do agree with Katie though that if there is a more natural approach to getting our sunscreen we should use it.

  90. Odysseia says

    Great information! Especially about the tomato paste!!!
    I would like to add, if I may, 3 more great supplements for increasing melanin which are the amino acid L-Tyrosine (swear by it-also supports the thyroid and prevents white sun spots from forming which don’t tan), PABA (in small doses it helps treat vitiligo-loss of color or pigmentation in some areas of skin) and of course, low-dose Beta-Carotene. Drinking fresh Carrot juice is also very nutricious and replenishes lost electrolytes from sunbathing.
    Now, if we could only find natural ingredients which prevent sun spots (liver spots) and add them to our sunscreen………I think that may be a tough one…

  91. Ivy says

    When I was younger I could stay out in the sun for half an hour with sunscreen on before I got burnt. I don’t like wearing sunscreen as it ends up in my eyes every singe time (ouch, stingy!) and it smells and tastes disgusting, so some years ago I just started skipping it whenever possible and started covering my head and shoulders with a light scarf when walking outside at noon on summer days. Now I’m in my mid-twenties and I can stay in the sun for over an hour without sunscreen! Well, not at noon, but then again, most of the times I get a headache before I get burnt. I started using coconut oil and sometimes even a bit of sheabutter as skin care for my face one or two years ago, and rarely used sunscreen since then – only on trips to sunnier places. Maybe switching from eating mainly pasta for lunch to replacing at least half of the pasta with veggies had some influence as well? I even started to get a slight tan between my freckles, which still is something new to me. And living in rainy places helps to avoid sunburns as well, obviously – though it is really bad for one’s vitamin D production.
    One of my friends told me to eat a lot of carrots, do you know anything about their sun screening powers?

  92. Jamie says

    I’m new to all this, but can someone tell me if you are taking all of the supplements at the same time? Do you take some in the morning and others at night? It seems like a lot at once.

  93. Nikki Paxton says

    Wellness Mama! this is the first time I have disagreed with you :( The vitamin C you are taking clearly labels “Ascorbic Acid” right on the label, have you researched this ingredient? Many supplements are merely bio engineered chemicals claiming to be their all natural real counterparts. Most of them are straight from GMO’s. Thoughts?

    • Nikki says

      Also, tomato paste from the can? Canned tomato products are generally known to contain BPA’s. I love your blog and you have taught me so much, I use many of your recipes so I am in no way trying to give you a hard time, I am just simply interested in your thoughts.

  94. Stacy says

    So, tried out these supplements this summer for myself and my husband. He works outside 8-12hrs per day, and sweats so much that he hates using lotion sunscreen. I am a pale skinned person that burns even if it’s cloudy, so figured it was a good test. And… both of us tanned all summer! I may not have a dark tan, but it’s a golden glow instead of my normal lobster red :) My husband has a nice tan on his face and arms, and has also been using the suncreen bars I made – and says he will never use regular sunscreen again. Thank you, Katie – going to keep using these supplements every summer!

  95. karen kremkau says

    Hi
    With all the oils and supplements you listed, it’s hard to tell which one really did for you. If i were to guess, i would say without a doubt that it’s the Astaxanthin. I don’t think you talked about the benefits of Astaxanthin enough. A question i had was if it’s okay to combine 5000iu mega D3 with 12mg of Astaxanthin, since they are both sun and bone related. But you answered my question when you said that you are on a 5000iu vitamin D regimen, which is what i’m on and i’m starting a 12mg Astaxanthin regimen real soon. Do you think an all natural multivitamin from GHR will go well with Astaxanthin? Thanks for reading.

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