The Benefits of Sun Exposure

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » The Benefits of Sun Exposure

There are few topics as controversial as safe sun exposure. Sunbathing and tanning often get a bad rap, but mounting evidence reveals that moderate sun exposure is not only safe but necessary. In fact, the most recent in-depth review found that avoiding the sun was similar to smoking as a risk for all-cause mortality. Put simply, avoiding the sun may be as dangerous as smoking cigarettes!

Is Sun Exposure Safe?

First, let’s collectively pause and take a deep breath. As I mentioned earlier, this is a controversial topic. I’m just here to share insights gleaned from personal research and blood tests conducted on myself and my family. 

Let’s also remember that anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove anything. Here are a few examples:

  1. You know someone who died from skin cancer, so you think all sun exposure is bad. (Even though science doesn’t back this up and that scenario doesn’t prove causation).
  2. You know someone who has been outside every day of his or her entire life and got sunburned all the time. Yet, they never got cancer; so, all sun exposure is safe. (Science also doesn’t back this up).

We all know people who have been affected by cancer and I’m sending hugs to all of you who have lost someone to this dreaded disease. However, knowing someone who died of cancer doesn’t equal a scientific study. I know someone who has gotten very little sun exposure, wears a hat and sunscreen daily, and still got skin cancer on his nose. This example is also not scientifically relevant.

A lot also depends on your skin pigmentation. As someone of Northern European descent, I have less melanin in my skin. So, I likely need less UV exposure to produce vitamin D than someone with darker skin. The current evidence shows that some sun exposure is safe for the vast majority of people. However, depending on skin color some people need more sunlight than others to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.

Ironically, some research suggests certain sunscreen ingredients can increase skin cancer risk. But read on…

Sunscreen, Sunburn, and Skin Cancer, Oh My!

In the last several decades, the push to use sunscreen and limit exposure to the sun has gotten stronger. It’s now possible to find sunscreen with an SPF of 100! Thanks to massive public health campaigns, most people are at least mildly aware of the “dangers” of sun exposure.

Surprisingly, sun exposure might not be as risky as we think. In fact, steering clear of the sun might be riskier than getting some moderate sun. Even though we’re told to wear sunscreen and avoid too much sun, skin cancer rates, especially melanoma, keep increasing.

Skin cancer rates are rising by 1.2% annually (2010-2019), even though we spend less time outdoors and wear more sunscreen. We’re doing the things we’re “supposed” to do and yet, the problem is getting worse.

But is Sun Exposure the Reason?

Here’s where things get interesting… Perhaps the problem isn’t lack of sunscreen or even sun exposure at all, but a deeper cause. A 2023 scientific review found that while sunburn is harmful, moderate non-burning sun exposure has many benefits. That was without wearing sunscreen.

A few of the benefits listed in the review include:

  • A significant decrease in blood pressure in those with hypertension
  • Improved symptoms in those with chronic kidney disease
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Lower rates of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced skin conditions like eczema

Scientists are now focusing more on the benefits of sunlight and the risks of not getting enough sunlight. In essence, not getting enough sun can be as or more detrimental than excessive sun exposure. As with many aspects of life, it’s the dose that makes the poison.

And Sunscreen May NOT Help Avoid Cancer

Many people believe that since sunscreen prevents sunburn, it must also stop skin cancer. But research doesn’t back up this idea.

Not only does sunscreen not prevent skin cancer, it may actually block some of the most beneficial aspects of sun exposure. While it may prevent or reduce sunburn, it can also inhibit the body’s ability to produce vitamin D from cholesterol in the skin cells.

Vitamin D deficiency is already at epidemic levels, and it’s been that way for a long time. As of 2010, over a billion people worldwide were deficient or insufficient in their blood levels of vitamin D.

A 2016 review concluded: “We can find no consistent evidence that use of chemical sunscreens reduces the risk of melanoma.” The review authors even went on to suggest that sunscreens carry a warning label!

This review also stated that: 

“Since public health authorities recommend liberal use of sunscreens for good health, the labeling of sunscreens should contain a statement about the possibility of vitamin D deficiency that may result from excessive use of sunscreens. Labeling should also state that sunscreens have not been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of melanoma.”

Another study in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics came to a similar conclusion:

“Sunscreens protect against sunburn, but there is no evidence that they protect against basal cell carcinoma or melanoma. Problems lie in the behavior of individuals who use sunscreens to stay out longer in the sun than they otherwise would. Vitamin D inhibition is, at this stage, unlikely due to insufficient use by individuals. Safety of sunscreens is a concern, and sunscreen companies have emotionally and inaccurately promoted the use of sunscreens.” 

Still, avoiding sunburn is a good idea. It’s the idea that sunscreen is the best way to do so that’s up for debate.

Sunscreen DOES Block Vitamin D From the Sun

We know sunscreen can inhibit our natural production of vitamin D, especially when used regularly. Sunscreen helps to block ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths, which are what the body uses for vitamin D synthesis.

As a society, we often stay away from the sun, even though our bodies require sunlight to make vitamin D naturally. Then we use sunscreen, which contains chemicals, to try to lower the risk of one cancer (skin cancer).

Paradoxically, this habit could result in vitamin D deficiency and raise the risk of many chronic health conditions. The mentioned study demonstrated that sunscreen doesn’t actually prevent melanoma.

Why Safe Sun Exposure May REDUCE Cancer Risk

The most comprehensive current studies don’t recommend avoiding the sun. On the contrary, the recent review proposed changing the public health advice to recommend non-burning sun exposure for everyone. It should be enough that their blood levels of vitamin D stay at least 30 ng/mL throughout the year.

The review also found that sunbathing without burning seemed to reduce the risk of melanoma. On the flip side, sunburns were linked to twice the risk of melanoma. While it’s crucial to avoid sunburns, moderate sun exposure may lower the risk of melanoma. 

Another surprising realization from the study was that long term sun exposure may protect the skin. Non-burning sun exposure over time may protect against sunburn as well as melanoma. Researchers thought it might be because the skin adapts to the sun, increasing melanin and becoming thicker. Higher levels of vitamin D may also play a part in the protection.

Vitamin D may reduce cancer risk. The review study specifically found that vitamin D from UVB exposure converts to the active form in the liver. Increasing vitamin D is known to enhance DNA repair, lowering cancer risk. 

To sum it all up, staying out of the sun may be behind the rising skin cancer rates. The review found that it’s unlikely that sun exposure is why more people are getting cancer. In fact, the opposite may be true. Melanoma incidences are probably going up because of vitamin D deficiency. 

Because people aren’t building up their sun exposure over time, they’re not as protected when they are exposed to the sun. Then they’re more likely to get sunburn, leading to DNA damage. 

Common Claims About The Dangers of Sun Exposures

Besides cancer risk, here are some other common claims about the dangers of too much sun exposure (and my response): 

Rapid Aging

We often hear that too much or unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation speeds up skin aging. That’s because excessive UV can harm the skin’s elastin fibers and collagen. This results in fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin. 

However, it’s important to consider sun exposure within the context of diet and lifestyle. Those who have a high level of oxidative stress from other sources are likely to be more affected by photoaging.

The red light and near infrared radiation from the sun may actually benefit the skin. Photobiomodulation, as it’s often called, is considered anti-aging. In low doses, sunlight increases circulation and supports collagen production.

Eye Damage

Most commentary on sun exposure and eye health emphasizes the dangers rather than the benefits. Headlines emphasize the damaging effects of UV radiation on the eyes. They warn about the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Then they tell us how important it is to wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. 

However, sunlight also has positive effects on the eyes. Exposing the eyes to UV light without sun protection may improve retinal health, increase tear production, and reduce eye inflammation.  

Other Health Benefits of Vitamin D From the Sun

A Better Sense of Well-Being

Getting out under the sun’s rays may also support your mental health. Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that supports feelings of happiness. 

In scientific studies, adequate sunlight exposure is linked to improved mood. It may help alleviate seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression.

Serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating your circadian rhythm. Without a healthy sleep-wake cycle, it’s difficult to get restorative sleep, which is so important for a healthy immune system.

Cardiovascular Health

Moderate sun exposure may also reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It may work by increasing vitamin D, lowering inflammation, improving the mood, or even enhancing nitric oxide production. 

Sunlight stimulates nitric oxide production in the skin, which then supports circulation. Improving blood flow can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. These two scenarios are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Bone Health

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. These two minerals are necessary for bone mineralization and overall health. They’re also essential for maintaining strong, cavity-resistant teeth.

Studies have linked low vitamin  D with bone diseases like osteomalacia and osteoporosis. Sufficient vitamin D levels can lower the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, in older adults.

Skin Health

Consistent exposure to small doses of UV light may help certain skin conditions. Moderate sun exposure stimulates the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin.

Researchers have found improvements in eczema, psoriasis, and acne with sunlight exposure. The anti-inflammatory effects of sunlight, along with the production of Vitamin D, may be the reason. 

Sunlight can also enhance the body’s ability to heal wounds. Besides supporting collagen, it can promote the production of growth factors and enhance immune function. This can help alleviate symptoms and accelerate the healing process.

Benefits of Sunshine at Different Times of Day

The time of day you’re exposed to sunlight makes a difference. The benefits vary based on whether you’re getting morning, afternoon, or evening sunlight.

Benefits of Sunshine in the Morning 

Exposure to natural light in the morning may increase daytime alertness and focus. It can also help synchronize the body’s internal clock with the external environment. This circadian rhythm is crucial for many physiological functions, including hormone regulation. 

Getting sunshine in the morning can also promote a more consistent sleep-wake cycle, leading to better overall rest. It can help you feel sleepy when you’re supposed to in the evening. No staying up to read or binge TV series!

Some studies suggest morning sunlight has additional health benefits. Because it enhances the health of our mitochondria, it may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The cardiovascular and immune systems are highly dependent on those energy-producing organelles. 

I try to always start the day with morning sunlight (and getting hydrated) and I’ve really noticed the difference since starting this habit!

Benefits of Sunshine in Mid-Day 

According to Dr. Andrew Huberman, getting sunshine in mid-day supports an elevated mood and healthy hormone levels. Getting sunlight exposure at this time can support healthy testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women.

In a 2021 study, men who got 20 to 30 minutes of sun 2 to 3 times a week over a month had significantly higher levels of testosterone. Researchers found that the sun activated a gene in skin cells. This gene then triggered the pituitary and hypothalamus to enhance hormone production. 

The effects weren’t limited to testosterone. The increased FSH and LH released by the pituitary gland also stimulated the production of estrogen (estradiol) and progesterone in women, helping to normalize hormone levels.

Benefits of Sunshine in the Evening

Evening sun exposure reinforces a normal sleep-wake cycle through the higher red light exposure. Getting sun around sunset increases your exposure to red and near-infrared light. If your shadow is taller than you are, you’re getting the ideal levels of those wavelengths.

Be sure not to expose yourself to artificial bright light in the evening, as it can mess with your sleep, motivation levels, and mood.

Vitamin D is Important for Pregnancy, Babies, & Kids

Getting enough vitamin D is also a big deal during pregnancy and nursing. Healthy blood levels of vitamin D may reduce premature labor and other complications. On the other hand, low vitamin D levels can put a mom at higher risk for gestational diabetes and can lead to other problems for the baby.

Pregnancy & Vitamin D

This article from the Vitamin D Council explains the importance of vitamin D for a growing baby. It’s best for vitamin D to be above 30 ng/mL during pregnancy. Some doctors even recommend maintaining levels above 60 ng/mL during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, most women aren’t even close to those levels:

  • Dr. Joyce Lee and colleagues at the University of Michigan found that 37 of 40 pregnant women had levels below 40 ng/mL. The majority had levels below 20 ng/mL. Over 25% had levels below 10 ng/mL.
  • Dr. Lisa Bodnar, a vitamin D researcher, found that of 400 pregnant Pennsylvania women, 63% had levels below 30 ng/mL. Further, 44% of the black women in the study had levels below 15 ng/mL. Prenatal vitamins didn’t seem to make a difference.
  • Dr. Dijkstra and colleagues studied 70 pregnant women in the Netherlands. None had levels above 40 ng/mL and 50% had levels below 10 ng/mL. Again, prenatal vitamins had little effect. Of course, prenatal vitamins only contain 400 IU of Vitamin D.

The researchers concluded that at least 95% of pregnant women have 25(OH)D levels below 50 ng/mL. That’s not good! It can mean they’re using up the vitamin D they have quickly and don’t have enough to store for future use. 

These chronically low vitamin D levels during pregnancy can lead to all kinds of complications. Cesarean births, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and vaginal infections are all more likely. Low vitamin D can also lead to a higher risk of autism, mental disorders, infections, low birth weight, and organ problems in the baby.

Vitamin D for Infants & Children

Infants and children may also be suffering from vitamin D and sunlight deficiency. Getting enough vitamin D is critical for growing children. We’re not just talking about rickets. A lot of research links adequate vitamin D status in children to better mental and physical health.

If they don’t get enough sun exposure, it’s important to supplement. In a 2008 paper, researchers concluded that most healthy children need to supplement about 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for every 25 pounds of body weight. Otherwise, it will be difficult to maintain enough vitamin D in their systems. Those with chronic illnesses may need even more.

Many kids aren’t even getting a quarter of that on a good day. When they do, it often comes from the less usable vitamin D2, added to foods like breakfast cereals, orange juice, and whole (“vitamin D”) milk.

Our whole family has tested our vitamin D levels (including me — during pregnancy and after). Even with moderate daily sun exposure, we were all low (in the high 20s or 30s). I work with a doctor to test and supplement (while still getting sun exposure) when necessary.

Does Diet Impact Sun Exposure Risk?

Mainstream medicine and media often suggest limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen. Funny how these simple solutions for preventing skin cancer are also highly lucrative…

But at the same time, they’ve ignored any potential role diet might play in skin cancer. Since skin cancer is rising despite the highest sunscreen use in history… it’s time to look at other causes and solutions.

Over the same decades that skin cancer rates have risen, certain dietary factors have also changed. We now eat more cereal grains, omega-6 vegetable oils, ultra-processed foods, and chemical additives. There’s also an overall lower intake of saturated fats, omega-3 fats, and grass-fed red meats, including organ meats.

It’s evident just looking at breakfast. These days, it’s not uncommon for people to have cereal, skim milk, and orange juice for breakfast. It’s a classic example of ultra-processed food, omega-6 oils, and lack of healthy fats. It’s a far cry from bacon, eggs, and coffee with cream that used to be the go-to breakfast menu. 

Increased Omega-6 Vegetable Oil Consumption

Omega-6-rich oils, like canola, cottonseed, “vegetable”, and soybean, are a new addition to our diets. There’s no biological need to consume these highly processed seed oils. There’s some evidence that eating these oils can cause them to be used in place of the saturated and monounsaturated fats in skin. This switch can make the skin more susceptible to disease.

Some studies show high linoleic acid vegetable oils increase the risk of skin cancer and other cancers. A 2011 study published in the journal Carcinogenesis looked at omega-6s vs. omega-3s and skin cancer. This was a follow-up to studies showing skin tissue fat may affect susceptibility to UV damage.

They found that high-fat diets rich in omega-3s seemed to be protective compared to the omega-6 rich diet. The omega-3 diet slowed the development of skin tumors and decreased their size by 80 to 90%. 

Reduced Saturated Fat and Omega-3 Fat Consumption 

As omega-6 oil consumption has risen, the intake of omega-3 and saturated fats has declined. We’ve seen how well that’s worked out for us, but it turns out that it could have a pretty big impact on skin health, too.

The body needs healthy fats, especially saturated fats and omega-3 fats, to regenerate skin tissue. If the body doesn’t get these fats (and many people don’t these days), it will use whatever it has available. It may even use those omega-6 fats, which aren’t the preferred fat for building skin and collagen.

Avoidance of Vitamin D-Rich Foods

Due to the shift away from omega-3s and saturated fats towards omega-6s, we’re decreasing our intake of vitamin D through food. Food sources of vitamin D that Americans avoid or don’t get enough of include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, cod liver oil, egg yolks, organ meats, and liver.

A drugstore multivitamin cannot make up for the lack of a traditional, nutrient-dense diet. There are plenty of recipes on this website to get you started. Adding salmon and eggs a couple of times a week is an excellent place to start!

Bottom Line: It’s Time to Rethink Getting Vitamin D From the Sun

Based on the largest review of evidence we have to date, it’s time to rethink sun exposure. While we’ve stayed away from the sun to avoid skin cancer, our rates of cancer and other chronic conditions continue to rise. By avoiding the sun, we’ve increased our risk of vitamin D deficiency. As a result, rates of all-cause mortality are going up.

Embrace the sun! Just do so at moderate levels, while following a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Sun Exposure: What I Do

In light of this, and so much other evidence, I don’t avoid the sun or use harmful sunscreens. In fact, I make it a point to spend time in the sun daily. I also test my vitamin D levels and take vitamin D supplements in the winter months

While 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D is the amount of vitamin D typically recommended, it may be too low for some people. I take more than that but do your own research. Vitamin D toxicity is possible if you overdo it. Taking too much vitamin D over time can increase blood calcium levels, which can require hospitalization if they get too high. Getting your vitamin D from the sun is ideal.

I make sure to get out of the sun before getting close to burning. If I get enough sun exposure and want to stay outside, I just cover up and wear a hat. And for the first time in my adult life, my blood concentrations of vitamin D are in the healthy range. I also “eat my sunscreen” by eating a real food diet and taking specific nutrients that help protect the body from the inside out.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

What do you do when it comes to sun exposure? Share with us below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

127 responses to “The Benefits of Sun Exposure”

  1. Alechia Avatar
    Alechia

    I wonder about increased sunburning while pregnant…i have been following a Weston Price diet, but with fewer grains (a few, properly prepared, but not many), for 2+ yrs. No sunburns during that time. I am a gardening loving red head who homeschools (so we’re outside a lot).Then suddenly, while pregnant, i have the worst sunburn i’ve had in yrs from a day of intermittent sun exposure. I wonder what this means…

  2. Toni Salvato Avatar
    Toni Salvato

    I came across this while looking for a way to make all natural suncreen for myself and my 5 yr old. I was skeptical and decided to forgo trying this method. I burn after minutes in the sun, I’m so naturally pale, and it takes work for me to tan. Plus not knowing how much to eat of those things, and how long it takes, I was concerned to take the risk.

    Well, it was get sunscreen for one of us but not both, so ofc my son got his. I’ve been running multiple times a week, in the afternoon, in bright sun. Wearing various clothing, but nothing that would cover me completely. Despite the lack of sunscreen and not be covered up, I haven’t burned. I didn’t understand it till I remembered this article. At the same time I started running, I was eating a lot healthier. Far more natural foods, leafy greens, and fruit, instead of sugary treats, boxed pasta meals, and instant anything. Guess it worked!

    Thank you for all the informative articles. 🙂

  3. Jim Avatar

    Recently I was in full sun from 2PM until 5:30 doing some yard work without any type of sunscreen and wearing just a pair of shorts. While I do not burn much, it was the first time in sunlight in over 6 months, and I did not have the slightest signs of a sunburn . I noticed that I was tolerating the sun abnormally well and stayed out that long to see when I would start to turn a little red. I have added 2000 IU X 2 times daily (4000 IU per day) of vitamin D3 to my diet for about a year and I can attribute the change to nothing else.

    Jim

  4. Alexa Avatar

    My extremely fair son, the living snowflake, has aspergers. When we discovered this, we changed his diet dramatically. He doesn’t eat anything artificial unless we happen to be eating at someone else’s house who doesn’t monitor their foods as closely as we do. Since the change we have also noticed despite his being so very fair, he hasn’t been burning. We also don’t use traditional sunscreens because of the chemical effects, especially on boys.

    Nice post!

  5. Deanna Avatar

    These are always such interesting discussions! I absolutely believe diet helps skin health — if I eat too much sugar or don’t get enough sleep, the first place I see it is on my face. However, I just want to toss in my own experience to help others make an informed decisions.

    I’m of strong Lithuanian and English heritage, blonde hair, always the palest makeup color, grew up in Ohio. I moved to Texas for college and, until I discovered Primal, I used a lot of sunblock to prevent myself from burning when I walked to and from classes. I even took up the hat trend and the umbrella trend. When my brother, who lives in San Francisco, and I met up for a family vacation, he was dismayed at how much more easily I tanned than he did!

    Fast forward a few years, and I ended up moving to Hawaii. It was August, we were living it up, and while I wore sunblock, I seemed unstoppable. Then I made the horrible mistake of going snorkeling without sunblock, and my pale Eastern European butt turned the brightest shade of red I’ve ever seen. Hawaii has great all-natural products that helped my skin heal quickly with no damage and minimal peeling, and now when I go out for a long period of time, I have a cute, brightly colored long sleeve one-piece swimsuit with UPF 50+ so I’m not using an entire bottle of sunblock every day. But the combination of my genetics and the intense summer sun means that I have to have that extra level of protection. Diet helps me heal and recover faster, but even that is not fail-safe. I’ve been craving nothing but avocado, tomatoes, and fish for the last several weeks, but I also have to be sensitive to my body’s needs and sensitivities.

  6. Crystal Avatar

    I found this article on Google after searching, We just spent the entire day at the zoo with my little ones and none of us burned … including my red headed husband who used to burn easily. We didn’t use any sunscreen at all, but did take care to go in buildings at times. We do all this art5 suggests except a couple of the supplements and I don’t think our cod liver oil is fermented. My friend mentioned yesterday my 2 year old has only ever burned once and we are outside a lot. She turns really red in the heat but isn’t ever burned and it goes away as soon as she child’s down. Of course we still must always be vigilant about over exposure, but I’ve always wondered how people in the old days didn’t fry in the fields.

  7. William A.U. Avatar
    William A.U.

    Hello, Katie!

    How is your day, hope it’s going well for ya! Anyway I was wondering since Omega 6 fatty acids are bad for consumption, is it still okay to use it for the skin and body for it’s moisturizing effects? For example, I found Hemp Seed oil to be high in linoleic acid and I heard that it’s great for acne-prone skin because it has comedogenic rating of 0, so I’ve been using it recently and I think it has helped me quite a bit but I still had one little pimple here and there however I think that is caused by other factors like diet, but yeah, it’s been a couple weeks and I haven’t had a very a huge breakout.. So I think it’s helping. I also used it on my hands too and it has done a great job of moisturizing.. hands don’t feel so dry anymore; so now since I’ve found and read this blog randomly from a Yahoo search, yikes!! It causes cancer? Does this mean I should seriously quit using Hemp seed oil for my face and body? Especially when I’m out in the sun?

    If you can respond, I’d greatly appreciate it! 🙂 Thanks, Katie! Have a awesome day.

    -William

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Omega 6 isn’t bad, it’s just overused in our diets! It’s quite healthy, it’s just more prevalent. If you are going to use it topically, there is a chance you may absorb some, so you could just increase your omega 3 intake to balance it out!

  8. MiMi Avatar

    Just like Eli said in earlier replyt: Eat tomatoes! But you have to cook them in order for the lycopene to ‘work’. Tomatoes will block UV-light – not necessarily protect you from sunburn, but it will help.

    So…organic tomato and garlic sauce with whole grain pasta before venturing out into the sun, yum!

  9. Katrina Avatar

    Love your site! I was looking at family supplements of cod liver oil, but while looking up some info, I came across this site by Dr Mercola, which states the supplements available today do more harm than good, which made me rethink my decision. I am pretty ignorant on supplements, but it seemed to make sense. I was wondering your take on it, as you seem to have a pretty level head about this type of thing. I’d love to hear what you think!

    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/23/important-cod-liver-oil-update.aspx

    1. Shauna Avatar
      Shauna

      He’s talking about plain cod liver oil, which is unbalanced. What Katie recommends here is a fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil blend. As the Mercola article notes, K2 balances the toxicity of high levels of vitamin D. Butter (or in this case, butter oil) is a potent source of K2.

  10. Linda Avatar

    Hi, im not sure if you can answer this but ill give it a go. I have a lot of red hyperpigmentation from acne (still have a few breakouts) since i started tanning a couple years ago. I was very pale and had a bad diet including smoking but i always had a few breakouts that did not scar, jawline and chin. Since ive changed my diet and quit smoking i have a little better skin. I just started the fermented cod liver oil. Even though i go use sunbeds now and only use some mineral powder on my face for sunscreen, my body gets a nice tan but my face and neck wont tan. So i tried to use self tanning on my face and neck (good quality stuff and organic) but my face then turn to a strange orange color. Im just about to give up on ever having Nice skin and tan and just be pale. I would love to get some advice from you!

  11. Michele Avatar

    What do you recommend for a child who has photosensitivity issues? My daughter has Vitiligo on one eyelid and possible cutaneous lupus (not in blood)- a ring shaped lesion on her cheek that comes on with sun exposure. I have taken her to a nutritionist and have eliminated gluten, dairy and processed sugars. She is on a lot of supplements – vitamin D, vitamin C, multi-vitamins, fish oil, turmeric etc. But, after 3 months on this protocol her rash is coming out again slightly 🙁 with the warmer weather. I currently use Badger sunscreen whenever she is outdoors for her face whenever she is outside more than 2 minutes.

  12. mishi Avatar

    Its so funny that I just now came across this article. We just moved to Miami and this past summer we were at the beach and pool almost everyday. I never once put sunscreen on my kids, partly bc I didn’t believe in it, and partly bc I was lazy. We eat a pretty clean diet, all organics, home made food and my kids take FCLO every day. We eat a lot of coconut oil as well. Not one of my 5 kids got burned the entire summer, and I kept wondering why! This is a new concept for me that I never even thought about, so Im happy I chanced upon it as we are getting ready for pool days again here in Miami!

  13. Valerie Avatar

    My face and chest area used to burn badly after only 10-15 minutes in the sun. I no longer burn on my chest from such short exposure since going paleo.

    I continue to tweak my diet, mainly lowering overall carbs and sugars, and continue to see improvements in my overall health. The crushing, daily fatigue that I used to experience on a daily basis is gone. The “brain fog” is gone. My skin is looking clearer and younger, in my opinion. The lingering vertigo from an onset years ago is nearly gone. I no longer have intestinal issues as long as I stay away from grains/legumes and limit beans. Overall, not a bad trade for giving up some foods that I like!

    I’ll be taking a trip to Maui and will find out how I’m doing lately with sun exposure, but I already know that I don’t burn as easily as I used to.

  14. Chris Avatar

    In Australia there seems to be a trend towards doctors prescribing vit D after noting low blood levels. This may be because so many people are on statins now. These compounds do lower blood D and Coenzyme Q10. Wonder why the GP’s aren’t pushing them too? The statin manufacturers originally recommended supplementation with statins but dropped the idea because it brought unwanted attention to the side effects of these insidious and largely unnecessary drugs. Taking vitamin supplements to compensate for an inadequate diet is now regarded as an act of dangerous oversimplification and at best, placebo theropy.

  15. Chris Avatar

    My wife and I went LCHF about 18 months ago. We both have fair skin and burned easily in the past. Now we swim daily for around an hour in full sun and never burn, in fact we have great tans now. Not sure if there’s a connection but my numerous small solar keratoses on arms and back have completely dissapeared! My skin specialist is mysterfied and sad to loose my custom. We do not eat seed oils but use a lot of coconut oil, butter, cream, cheese and avocado. I’m seventy next b’ day and at my lowest weight since puberty, have robust good health and a blood picture that bewilders my GP, who pestered me to use statins in the past to control my high cholesterol. I spent almost forty years eating a fanatically “healthy” vegetarian diet. Things change slowly in human nutrition land unfortunately.

  16. Sabrina Avatar

    I might have missed this in the article, but what affect does this diet have on long-term problems associated with sun exposure, such as premature skin ageing and wrinkling?

  17. Louise Avatar

    Diet definitely makes a huge difference. I am very interested and very glad that the news is getting out! I have been listening to a lot of interviews and lectures by Charlotte Gerson of the Gerson Institute and the patients they see are usually terminally ill cancer patients with only months left to live, sent home to die by doctors as medicine can do nothing for them anymore. By CHANGING THEIR DIET most of these patients are COMPLETELY HEALED by following the Gerson Therapy but the medical profession at large won’t accept it. I wish that everyone would know this and not wait until its too late to find out how good the body is at healing itself if we feed it the right nutrients that promote an immune system that can fight disease.

  18. Linda Avatar

    Hi, im not sure if you can answer this but ill give it a go. I have a lot of red hyperpigmentation from acne (still have a few breakouts) since i started tanning a couple years ago. I was very pale and had a bad diet including smoking but i always had a few breakouts that did not scar, jawline and chin. Since ive changed my diet and quit smoking i have a little better skin. I just started the fermented cod liver oil. Even though i go use sunbeds now and only use some mineral powder on my face for sunscreen, my body gets a nice tan but my face and neck wont tan. So i tried to use self tanning on my face and neck (good quality stuff and organic) but my face then turn to a strange orange color. Im just about to give up on ever having Nice skin and tan and just be pale. I would love to get some advice from you!

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